Chilean Journalist Praises “Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew”

Marcelo Ríos is an enigmatic character for we the Chileans. In one side, he’s by far the most successful sportsman in Chile’s history. No one before or after has reached the no. 1 in a professional sport (in Chile, only soccer, tennis, basket and boxing are professional sports) and no one helped more to bring new kids to tennis …but Ríos (not even Fernando Gonzalez or Nicolas Massú) with his victories in the late 90’s. I remember watching tennis on public TV, sometimes at early hours in the morning, and people celebrating every title. When he reached no.1, thousand of people went out to streets to celebrate. He started a new era in Chile’s tennis and put it at a world level. That era is coming to its end, sadly, with the retirement of Gonzalez and the slow fall of Massu.

But, on the other side, his personality is far from causing the same unanimity. And I think your book is a great picture of that: Ríos personality caused different reactions in every person.

The book is also a massive database of facts, anecdotes (the KO on a Miami restaurant!!) and points of view about Rios. There’s many stories unknown in Chile, but in some point none of them surprising: we know we can expect everything from Marcelo. And that is what, I think, makes his personality so unique.

The rich collection of opinions makes a clear picture of Marcelo. That is what makes the book so necessary for every tennis fan.

Sebastián Carrizo Acevedo
Periodista Deportes La Tercera


  • Andrew Miller · December 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I think it is great Chile now knows the book. In the end I think Rios introduced something new in tennis’ DNA – call it a mutation, a strand of playing style that turns opponents into fools. McEnroe had it, Rios perfected it, and I think Federer then absorbed it, to devastating effect. A lot of players in the future that use it may not know where it came from, but I think any tennis clip will show Rios as the original source (as to who taught this to Rios, I think there was someone who did something on Rios’ father, journalist Nelson Flores. Maybe Flores has some insight, knowledge about how Rios was able to construct a game that so confused competitors (when Rios cared enough to toy with them). I would have to believe, like Mike Agassi and his crazy contraptions that he used to build Agassi’s game, that Rios was put through similar kinds of hoops. That’s how a lot of these champions were created – connors with his mother feeding balls, Sampras with Pete Fisher, Federer through going to school somewhere he hated (a little like Agassi). All these guys go through something they don’t like, and somehow we as fans benefit.

    Anyhows, interesting South America hasn’t come up with much since Rios, Gonzalez, Massu, Guga Kuerten, etc. Maybe like the U.S., different sports are a lot more popular.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 30, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Andew, as I know you know, Rios definitely was a different player, “…ahead of his time, his time hasn’t even come yet,” was how Luke Jensen described Rios. Fed could toy with people too, remember Tips said in the Biofile he practiced with Fed the day before and he won like one point in four games, was like playing a video game. Rios had that quality to just dominate top players, make em look and feel like it was their “first time on the court” was how Thomas Johansson said it. LIke Jensen said Rios was like from another planet, how he could get that good at tennis. He was a phenomenon, a wonder, a golden child talent. Tennis is not at all all about winning, for the business side and media and fans yes it is, but for many people it’s more about the style of play and the artistry that can be shown on the court. Rios could win – 391-192 WL and 11 singles titles and ATP #1 proves it. I think he just preferred to play tennis on his terms, the way he wanted to play, and he did not compromise this personal principle.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 30, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Andrew, S. America has produced Delpo and Nalbandian, Bellucci, etc., there is a young gun coming up from Chile named Garin who just won Eddie Herr 18s. But yes it’s true, since Rios it was expected that he would inspire generations of new superstar talent but it just hasn’t worked out that way. Again it proves how special and rare Rios was. There will never be another Marcelo Rios.



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