Tennis Prose



First & Last: Hans Gildemeister

Hans Gildemeister reached the Roland Garros doubles final and singles quarterfinal, where he lost in five sets to Guillermo Vilas, 63 in the fifth. His best ranking was 12 in the world in singles. He won four ATP singles titles and 212 singles matches (152 losses). He also coached Marcelo Rios to no. 1 ITF juniors.

The double handed player off both wings was a successful doubles competitor also, reaching no. 5 in the ATP, including 23 doubles titles.

Here is the First & Last (and middle match) of the career of Hans Gildemeister, who today operates an academy in Tampa, FL.

FIRST: “US Open, Forest Hills 1975 against Vilas. First round. I was still in college (age 19 at University of Southern California). I qualified for the main draw (lost 62 62 to Vilas).”

LAST: “Probably against Martin Jaite in Chile for Davis Cup. I have a good history about this match. 1986. I lost both matches in Davis Cup vs. Argentina. After the match I decide to retire from Davis Cup. And all 7,000 people in the arena asked me to run around the court like you did in soccer when you won something big. That was very impressive for me. The people – even though I lost the match (62 62 61) – asked me to run around the court. I was leaving Davis Cup to play singles, after that I only played doubles in Davis Cup (through 1991). Singles-wise that was my last match. They asked me to do that. Pretty impressive, no?”

MIDDLE CAREER MATCH: “I beat Vilas in 1978 in Davis Cup (97 63 36 64). In Chile. I was 22 years old, ranked 45-50 in the rankings. That was my first year in the pro circuit. He had his best year in 1977, remember he won everything, the US Open, the French Open. He should have been no. 1 but he was no. 2. I beat him in Chile. That was very painful for him. I also beat him again in 1979 in Argentina in Davis Cup (26 61 16 75 12 retired).

First & Last is the new feature where I ask a retired pro tennis player for their memories of their first, last and a memorable middle career match.

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