Tennis Prose



Facing Greatness: Hans Gildemeister

In our new series, former ATP no. 12, winner of four ATP singles titles (23 in doubles), and Roland Garros doubles finalist Hans Gildemeister discusses what he remembers to be the two best performances that were ever played against him.

“Roland Garros quarterfinal 1978 against Vilas, lost 6-3 in the fifth set (64 26 61 36 63).”

“And lost to Borg again in quarterfinal in three sets (1979, 64 61 75).”

“With Vilas, the match was amazing. We were 3-all in the fifth set and I ran out of gas [chuckles]. That was the main reason. Because four months earlier I beat him in Davis Cup in four sets. Against Vilas you had to win the first set to win the match, if you lost the first set, he was too tough. With Born I played a great match. A very good match. And I had no chance. I lost I think 61 64 75.”

“In one tournament, I don’t know if you remember, we played the Masters in Montreal. I won my two matches. And Connors won the two matches so we played for who would be first or second in the group. And I lost to Connors in three sets. So I finished second in the group and I had to play the first in the other grup, that was Borg. So I played the next day and it was so different. Was so so much different. The ball was much more heavy. And it was 1 and 2. It was like what Nadal did to Djokovic in the final of French Open. The same.”

Next Week’s subject: Jeff Salzenstein

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  • Doug Day · October 25, 2020 at 7:15 am

    Scoop, is Hans saying that same heaviness was key to Nadal’s crushing the greatest returner to ever hold a racquet?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 25, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Doug, I think Hans is saying Nadal and Borg had an extraordinary extra oomph on their shots that nobody else could generate.



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