Those 220 pounds, a different nationality and a “no” to Djokovic on Alejandro Tabilo’s road to success

Alejandro Tabilo celebrando en Roma /
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Alejandro Tabilo had a deal with his parents at the time when the Toronto-born tennis player lived in North America. When he got into the top 400, he could represent Chile. The prize came earlier when in a Future tournament in Canada, being 856th in the ranking his dad challenged him. If he beat the Chilean Nicolás Jarry, who was more than 400 places higher, the nationalization process would start right away.

Tabilo won and later changed his passport on the court. Canada offered him travel and economic support, but the desire to represent the country of his parents mattered more to him.

“I had a folk music group and we rehearsed at my home, so ‘Jano’ was always attached to the culture. In addition, we were the first to have the Chilean television signal, so everyone went to the house to watch Chile’s football matches,” recalled father Ricardo Tabilo about the tennis player’s childhood days in Canada, in statements to La Tercera.

At that time the numbers on the weighing scales also moved up and down. Tabilo was overweight, which affected his performance on the court and also caused him physical pain. He was unable to explode, and his 100 kilos (220 pounds) were pointed out as the big problem for a player of 188 centimeters tall.

tabilo gordo
tabilo flaco
Alejandro Tabilo suffered abrupt weight changes in a short period of time. He weighed 100 kilos (220 pounds), and then he went to 65 (143 pounds). He regulated his body mass and then made his way to success in tennis.

“He came in with quite a bit of mistrust in his tennis and also with very little muscle mass. He weighed 65 kilos (143 punds). We decided to take him out of competition for three months and made him put on weight and eat more. We took care of the psychiatric and psychological part as well. It went well: he gained eight kilos in a month and a half. When he came back to compete, he did amazing,” said Guille Gómez, Tabilo’s coach at the time. Gómez and Tabilo ended their working relationship just a few weeks ago, after the Madrid Open.

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“Losing weight made my lower back pain go away, but it got out of hand,” acknowledged Tabilo, who abruptly opted to change his diet and stop eating carbohydrates.

Call from Novak? Tell him “no”

Tabilo’s success at the Italian Open is also explained by the good pace of official matches with which he arrived in Rome, which would not have had if the Chilean had accepted an offer from the world number one.

After being eliminated from the Madrid Masters 1000, Novak Djokovic contacted the Chilean to invite him to train for four days in Montenegro, all expenses paid. According to La Tercera, his father advised him not to accept the invitation to prevent the Serb from studying him too much. “They were already looking at him,” said Ricardo Tabilo.

Djokovic and Tabilo’s greeting at the net, after the Chilean’s resounding victory.

In the end, he played the 175 Challenger in Aix-en-Provence and emerged as champion. Seven days later he handed the Serb the fastest defeat of his career on clay in the third round of the Italian Open, and added two more wins over Russian Karen Khachanov and Chinese Zhang Zhizhen to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal of his career, and the first by a Chilean in 15 years. The last one had been Fernando Gonzalez, also in Rome.

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