Nov/19

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Biofile: Hans Gildemeister Interview

Status: Former ATP world no. 12 and Roland Garros doubles finalist. Won four ATP singles and 23 doubles titles. Former Olympic coach and Davis Cup captain for Chile. Former coach of Marcelo Rios as a teenager.

DOB: February 9, 1956 In: Lima, Peru

First Tennis Memory: “Traveling a lot. Meeting a lot of people. Different countries, different times.”

Tennis Inspirations: “Frew McMillan. He played with two hands. He went to Chile when I was twelve. I played with two hands too so. I follow him a bit in those days. But also (Rod) Laver and (Roy) Emerson.”

Greatest Career Moment: “I had many in ATP. I got three times to the quarterfinal at the French Open. In Davis Cup, my first year on the Tour I beat Vilas in Davis Cup Chile. That was probably his first loss in South America on clay.”

Most Painful Moment: “When I had to retire in the final of the French doubles. Back spasm. We were winning 5-2 fairly easy and I had to retire in the finals, so. The semifinal we played like four or five hours, we won like 10-8 in the fifth against Balazs Taroczy/Heinz Gunthardt. I was a little bit sore the next day but I played anway. In the first set I had to retire.”

Strangest Match: “The match that I most remember I was leading Henrik Sundstrom, the French Open third round 6-2 6-0 5-2 and I lost. (What happened?) One or two points I was tight and he played good one or two points and I got tight. He won that game. And he ended up winning. I think it’s in the record books of the French Open.”

Funniest Player Encountered: “Ilie Nastase was a good, fun guy. Very respectful too. He was doing things on the court but very respectful.”

Closest Tennis Friends: “Andres Gomez. We were no. 1 in the world in 1986. He’s the Godfather of one of my daughters. Very good friend. We talk once a month. All the South Americans – Victor Pecci, Jose Luis Clerc from Argentina.”

Which Match(es) Did You Feel At Your Very Best: “The one when I beat Vilas in Davis Cup. Because I was a young kid. That was my first year in the ATP. I was (ranked) 45 and the year before he should have been ranked no. 1 (1977) for the year, he was no. 2. He won the French Open, US Open on grass. In our match I played him in Chile in Davis Cup. Four sets. If you’re gonna beat him, you gotta beat him in four. In five sets it’s tough. I lost to him in a very painful match in the French Open in the fifth set 6-3 in the fifth. That one was painful too.”

Why Do You Love Tennis: “My parents took me to the clubs when I was very small, three or four years old. They took me every weekend. I started playing and I never stopped. I play as a junior. I love the game. I played in high school matches, South American champion Orange Bowl. I played maybe six Orange Bowls (in Miami) and I won five – 14, 16, 18. Then I went to college for three years at University of Southern California. And also I had some great coaches, George Toley for USC. So I have good memories in junior, college and the pros. Now I’m coaching in Hunters Green in Tampa. I have thirty kids from South America and Europe and also some local players.”

Favorite Players To Watch: “Federer. And now I’m watching Nicolas Jarry and Christian Garin from Chile.”

His Academy in Tampa, Florida: “About five years ago – I have a brother who lives in Myrtle Beach – and he was getting a club. He said, Why don’t you come here and start an academy? Okay, I went there with my wife and two daughters. I was retired as Davis Cup captain after seven years. I was in Davis Cup seven years with (Fernando) Gonzalez and (Nicolas) Massu. I came here for a year. After nine or ten months, one of my good friends Augustin Moreno – he was the coach at USF – he told me, Why don’t you come over here and do an academy? I came here once or twice to check out the place, to see where to live. In the 80s I trained here in Largo with Harry Hopman, another great coach. So I decided to come here. We were at USF for two years then we decide to come to Hunters Green, 20 clay courts, hard courts, gym, swimming pool, clubhouse. So that’s why I’m here, Maybe stay another five years, then go back to Chile.”

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2 comments

  • Andrew Miller · November 21, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    That was cool. Hans Gildemeister seems like a good guy. Interesting he follows the Chileans. Must be encouraged by what he’s seeing with Garin. Garin has done well on all surfaces save grass. Above 0.500 for the year. Banner year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Gildemeister is a great guy and friend and a proven coach. Heckuva solid career. Massu told me last year at US Open Garin has everything to be a top 20 player, just a matter of putting it all together mentally and physically. Jarry is right there too. Chilean tennis is on the verge of taking over South American tennis. Maybe they are on top right now ahead of Argentina.

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