Tabilo y Barrios

The coach at home and the bedtime alarm: Alejandro Tabilo beat Tomás Barrios in the buddies’ clash

SANTIAGO, Chile – Tomás Barrios is serving 0-30, five all in the second set. Chilean Alejandro Tabilo’s phone rings in a tense moment. The left-hander runs to his bag to silence his cell phone. Then he returns to the back of the court and apologizes with a nervous laugh.

“It’s the alarm I set every night to go to sleep,” Tabilo would later explain at the press conference: “It was a key moment, I know. My bad”.

“Impressive what happened to Ale. I wanted to kill him”, joked Barrios just before. He admitted that the interruption did not affect his concentration.

Tabilo broke a couple of points later in that game on his compatriot’s serve. He then confirmed the break and closed out the match 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Chile Open. He did it without his coach present, who watched the match on TV. Just like Barrios’, who followed the match from the comfort of his home.

He is the same person. Guillermo Gómez stayed away of the match that put both of his players across the net.

“It felt weird preparing for this match,” Tabilo acknowledged. “Just before we were warming up together. We had played before (Barrios was coming in undefeated, with a 4-0 head to head advantage in Challenger matches), but it was the first time we played against each other in Santiago. The rest of the team was here, but all spread around the stadium. Until that minute they can’t do anything else, the job is done, so there they were, with their families enjoying the match”, commented the winner, who will face Argentinean-Italian Luciano Darderi in the quarterfinals”.

“I imagine Guillermo will be here tomorrow,” laughed the recent Auckland ATP champion.

Alejandro Tabilo and Tomás Barrios are good friends. They are also doubles partners on tour and in the Chilean Davis Cup team. They are competing in the doubles main draw in Santiago. They are in the semifinals.

That lead to a very atypical moment on the tour. Both 26-year-old tennis players shared a press conference full of laughter after their doubles triumph, which coincided to talk about what would be their first matchup at ATP level.

“With either of us in the quarters, I’ll be happy,” said Tabilo. His happiness was not unrelated. In the center court Jaime Fillol he broke the bad streak against his friend and kept the dream alive of winning the title in his country.


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Clay’s general producer has been covering the world of tennis for more than 10 years, with experience in Grand Slams, ATP tournaments, Olympic Games and Davis Cup.