Get to know Fernanda Contreras Gomez

The Mexican qualifier is having a breakout tournament in Paris

Fernanda Contreras Gomez, Roland Garros 2022, qualifying© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

Mexico’s Fernanda Contreras Gomez has been blazing a trail at Roland-Garros in 2022.

The 24-year-old qualifier, currently ranked 225 in the world, defeated Hungary’s Panna Udvardy on Tuesday to earn her first ever Grand Slam win, on her Grand Slam debut, and will face No.20 seed Daria Kasatkina in the second round.

Scoot down the page to find out more about the magnetic Contreras Gomez.

A Mexican success

Contreras Gomez is the fifth woman from her nation to play the main draw at a Grand Slam in the Open Era, and the fourth to record at least one victory in Paris.

Elena Subirats (4-1), Angelica Gavaldon (1-4) and Renata Zarazua (1-1) are the other three Mexicans to have won main draw matches at Roland-Garros.

Gutting it out in qualies 

Contreras made her Grand Slam debut last week in the qualifying in Paris, and fought her way through a trio of three-set matches to earn a maiden main draw appearance.

She defeated American Caty McNally first, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(10/8), then Turkey’s Ipek Oz, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and finally topped Switzerland’s Joanne Zuger, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

All three players were ranked higher than Contreras.

A college standout 

Contreras attended Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and became the school’s all-time win leader before she left. She earned 136 career wins, reached the semi-finals of the NCAA singles draw, and set the program record for wins in a season as a junior, at 43-10. 

She reached as high as No.3 in the NCAA singles rankings, and No.4 in doubles with partner Astra Sharma.

All in the family 

Though she insists she wasn't pushed into tennis by her family, Contreras does have tennis in her blood. Her father, Javier Contreras, was a former world No.298 from Mexico, and her grandfather, Francisco “Pancho” Contreras, was a Wimbledon mixed doubles semi-finalist in 1958.

Both her father and grandfather represented Mexico in Davis Cup.

She's a rare breed

Contreras is one of the few players on the women's tour that hits a one-handed backhand.

She is one of just two players with a single-handed backhand remaining in the women's singles draw; the other being Diane Parry of France.

Fernanda Contreras Gomez, Roland Garros 2022, qualifying© Remy Chautard/FFT

All heart 

The San Luis Potosi native received the Billie Jean King Cup Heart Award.

She joined Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, India’s Sania Mirza, Switzerland's Belinca Bencic and Canada's Leylah Fernandez among the 2020/2021 recipients.

A quick striker

Though she had never faced a player ranked inside the top-100 before Tuesday, Contreras showed her class by taking out 90th-ranked Udvardy in one hour and 49 minutes in round one. During the contest she won 59 of 98 rallies of four shots or less.

Fernanda Contreras Gomez, Roland Garros 2022, qualifying© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

A fan favourite

Contreras fell to the clay after officially qualifying for Roland-Garros with her win over Zuger on Court 7, then led the crowd in chanting 'Viva Mexico'. She is winning matches - and winning fans - by wearing her heart on her sleeve in Paris.

The Sanchez Connection 

Before Roland-Garros, Contreras did a two-week training block with former Spanish star Emilio Sanchez, focusing on her footwork on the clay.

Sanchez, a former world No.7 and a quarter-finalist in Paris in 1988, is extremely high on the 24-year-old. 

“This girl, she’s almost 200 in the rankings now, she has this incredible way of working, and ethics,” Sanchez told the Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast last week. “I really hope that she makes the jump to the top-100. We’ve been working a lot on the footwork. It’s a pleasure to work with someone that is willing to work hard and to listen. This girl is amazing.”

She’s a student, an author, and a reader

Contreras obtained a degree in mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt. She also wrote a novel during the pandemic.

Even when Contreras plays, she's studious. She sits at changeovers reading notes and sometimes takes out a pen to jot down her thoughts on her tennis.