The world according to Guillermo Vilas

Published : Oct 23, 2004 00:00 IST

ONE of the biggest forces in men's tennis is Argentina. The country has seven players in the Top 50, including Guillermo Coria, who's No. 3 in the world. Coria, of course, was named after the godfather of Argentine tennis, Guillermo Vilas, the burly, headbanded baseliner and four-time Grand Slam champion. In 1977, his best season, Vilas won 17 titles, including Roland Garros and the U.S. Open — but he finished No. 2 behind Jimmy Connors, who didn't win a Slam but had the better points-per-tournament average, which is how the ATP ranking was calculated back then. Finishing second-best still burns Vilas — "It was ridiculous," he says — but these days the 52-year-old has much to be happy about: He lives in Monaco with his girlfriends, Phiangphathu Khumueang, and their one-year-old daughter, Andanin.

KEEPING BUSY: "I love to play the Legends Tour (in Europe). It's good for the fans, who like to see us, and we still play very well. But mostly what I do is give clinics at the clubs I own — five in Argentina, one in Germany, and one in Paris."

STRAIGHT TO VIDEO: "I've been putting my matches onto DVD. I want to start watching them, since I never saw them."

MUSIC MAN: "I have my guitars and hours and hours of music recorded. Someday I want to go to an island and edit what have recorded."

BOOK OF MATCHES: "I've written like 20 books. Eventually, I'm going to start filing my books into the computer so I can edit them. One's an autobiography, another's a book about things that happened to me in tennis — all kinds of stuff."


David Nalbandian: "He has a great gift to make you play like s---."

Guillermo Canas: "He's a pit bull. He's are over you."

Guillermo Coria: "I like the way he's able to recover when he's out of position."

Juan Ignacio Chela: "He's the Clint Eastwood of tennis — a tough guy. He uses his power when he needs it."

Gaston Gaudio: "I like the way he hits his backhand."

COMPETITIVE EDGE: "The players of today's (Argentine) generation grew up together, competed against each other, you saw them coming. About five years ago, Franco Squillari got to the semifinals of Roland Garrors. Then it was Canas, who won the Masters Series in Canada. It was only a matter of time." — DOUGLAS ROBSON

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