A title on grass, an unexpected achievement for Chilean tennis by Mallorca champion Alejandro Tabilo

Alejandro Tabilo
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If a nod to the sitcom “Friends” appears on a tennis court, it means that Alejandro Tabilo is having a good time. And in the Balearic Islands the Chilean achieved what a tennis player from his country had never done before in the Open Era: winning a grass-court title.

He will become a top 20 player as of Monday (19th after displacing Nicolás Jarry as Chile’s number one) triumphed in the ATP 250 of Mallorca by defeating Austrian Sebastian Ofner 6-3, 6-4 in the final with his serve as his best ally.

“It’s been an incredible year with a lot of support, I feel something unreal, I want to keep shining wherever I can do it,” he said at the awards ceremony. A member of the organization wanted to pass him the bottle of champagne for the celebration, but they reminded that he still had to play the doubles final.

Alejandro Tabilo
Alejandro Tabilo champion in Mallorca.

After the match point he celebrated as he did two years ago: pointing to his temple and looking at her girlfriend in the stands. Argentina’s Malena De Lorenzo arrived from Chile on the day of the final. Together they watch the North American sitcom and always joke about the scene in episode 17 of the sixth season in which Ross, one of the main characters, says “unagi” to refer to a supposed state of total consciousness that allows him to face any kind of danger.

The term means “freshwater eel” and the concept is fictional, although for Tabilo it is very important: “Always ‘unagi'”.

The left-hander born in Canada 27 years ago is one of the two players on the circuit to have played finals on all three tennis surfaces in 2024, and also the only one from his country ever with that record (Taylor Fritz, winner in Eastbourne is the another one).

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Tabilo campeón
Tabilo, champion in Mallorca, met the famous German soccer coach Jurgen Klopp

In January he won his first title on the hard courts of Auckland, in early March he lost the final of the Chile Open on clay, and in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea he completed the record.

The triumph in Mallorca could be a confidence boost ahead of Wimbledon to break the drought of victories in major tournaments this year. Although he arrived to the big events with good previous results (the trophy in New Zealand before Australia and the semifinals of the Rome Masters 1000 in the run-up to Roland Garros), Tabilo always lost in the first round.

On Tuesday he will make his debut in London against local Daniel Evans at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

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