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The grandpa, the captain: for Jaime Fillol, sitting on the bench next to his grandson Nico Jarry is “very valuable”

Jaime Fillol
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SANTIAGO, Chile – When Nicolás Jarry Fillol realized that he had qualified Chile for the United Cup and that the choice of captain fell to him, he thought of none other than his grandfather. “It is a very valuable personal thing. I don’t remember any precedent like that, that a grandfather has been captain of his grandson. It’s very nice, no doubt about it,” Jaime Fillol told CLAY.

Happy with the news, the tennis legend in the 70s and Davis Cup finalist in 1976 will travel after Christmas to Sydney with his grandson and the rest of the Chilean team to experience the mixed competition.

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“Nico called me to ask me if I wanted to be the captain of Chile, and what better thing for me to be with the grandson representing Chile in a team cup with a lot of level and a lot of promotion and publicity. It is one of the reasons why it is being held, because it is a very strong way to promote tennis”, commented the champion of eight professional titles and former 14th in the world.

Grandpa and grandson in a photoshoot for La Tercera Newspaper of Chile in 2019

The 28-year-old Chilean’s great campaign in 2023, and some key year-end results that took him to 19th place, managed to get Team Chile into Australia. And it was by a very narrow margin: he beat Argentina’s Francisco Cerúndolo by only 50 points in the rankings, which finally decided that it was the Chileans instead of Team Argentina, the last nation nominated for the preparatory event for the Australian Open.

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The new chapter of the Fillol family affair awakened in Jaime memories of his most active time in tennis, not only as a player, but also as a leader of the ATP. During the period of his presidency, between 1978 and 1980, the Nations Cup was promoted, an event for men’s nations that was held for several years in Dusseldorf, Germany, and which would later become the ATP Cup, before last year adopting the mixed format that in 2024 will celebrate its second edition.

“When I was president of the ATP I helped in the promotion and in the realization of the tournament along with Jim McManus. In addition to the family component, it is very nice to be part of something that started with me more than 40 years ago, I did not tell my grandson about that. It is very nice for me to maintain this relationship with the world of tennis at this organizational and international level,” he told CLAY, who was one of the promoters of the system of funds and monetary aid that several former tennis professionals receive today.

Press photo of Jaime Fillol in 1975 // HISTORIC IMAGES

Fillol will cross the Pacific Ocean to perform his duties on the Chilean bench during the United Cup. He will not be joining Jarry later at the Australian Open. At 77 years of age, he is the director of the Sports and Welfare Institute of the Andrés Bello University in Santiago de Chile.

There will be time to enjoy his free time in the city on the east coast of Australia and share with Juanito, Jarry’s son who goes with him to all the stops on the circuit: “I will be with my great-grandson and I will throw him balls around Sydney”.

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