Guillermo Vilas’ metamorphosis and how to stop Nastase and McEnroe – Jaime Fillol published his biography

Jaime Fillol
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SANTIAGO, Chile – This Wednesday at the Chile Open, Jaime Fillol presented his book “Huellas en la arcilla” (Ediciones de la Lumbre) where he recounts some appealing aspects of his life and career in tennis.

In these pages he tells interesting stories about some of the characters of the tour during his time. There he tells how Guillermo Vilas was moving away from his friends and focusing only on the material side after he met Romanian Ion Tiriac, his coach and manager.

“That thing that I saw in him that was evolving negatively, so to speak, coincides with being managed by Ion. I would say that it also coincides with the separation of his parents and he was isolating himself from the rest of the group, something he didn’t do before. He was with one person for a period of three or four months, he was very close and then he changed, without saying anything…”, Fillol told journalist Carlos González in an interview with La Tercera.

The book Huellas en la arcilla by Editorial de la Lumbre. The biography of former tennis player Jaime Fillol // MATÍAS DONOSO

In the book, Fillol mentions that the Argentinean was in great need of affection: “I think that was what he was looking for. It was more than just going to train in the court, but there was a relationship of sitting down to talk, maybe eating together, and as I say there, he liked to play with my children. He was very close. After that, he got isolated”.

The Chilean played a fundamental role in tennis. He was a founding member and one of the first presidents of the Association of Tennis Professionals. As a player, at the helm of the ATP he promoted the first pension plan and the code of conduct.

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“The code of conduct was an absolute necessity. There was no rule to control those tough cases. There was Illie Nastase, who was not an easy case. Up to that point he could do whatever he wanted. There was (Jimmy) Connors, then there was (John) McEnroe, who was good at putting pressure on umpires and line judges. It wasn’t easy to play with him,” he recalled.

“We wanted the same rues for Roland Garros and Wimbledon. We were the same players who put the restrictions on ourselves. If one is good at burning time, or another tries to influence the umpires… we ourselves decided to standardize it,” said the champion of 24 professional titles (eight in singles, 16 in doubles).

Jaime Fillol with the 1982 US Open draw, year in which he reached the fourth round.
Jaime Fillol playing on tour in the 1970s.
Legacy for families

Fillol, who was one of the first players to travel with his family on the tour despite economic difficulties, told how his wife, Mindy Haggstrom, was the one who promoted the creation of spaces for babies and mothers at major events. It started at Roland Garros with his daughter Cecilia Fillol, mother of current Chilean tennis player Nicolás Jarry Fillol, in the 1970s.

“Together with Patricio Cornejo (former 65th ATP) we were the first players to travel with children. Mindy did not know where to change Cecilia’s diapers, there was no place for her to breastfeed in peace. She couldn’t go into the women’s locker room because she wasn’t a player. So she talked to Phillippe Chatrier, who was the president of the French Tennis Federation at the time. ‘How do I take care of my baby?,’ she asked him. Chatrier gave her immediate access to the locker room, and promised to improve the infrastructure the following year,” he told in the presentation, in conversation with journalist Mario Cavalla.

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Haggstrom, who passed away in 2016, left that legacy on the tour. Forty years later, the tennis players enjoy all the necessary comforts to travel with their families. Her grandson today travels full time with his wife Laura and their sons Juan and Santiago. The Jarry’s are a symbol of the new tour, familly-friendly and with more and more trolleys and baby bottles going around the players’ areas.

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