There are places that have become special. For Argentine tennis, the Washington tournament, at this stage of the season, brings back fond memories. That ATP in the American capital had four albicelestes champions, who added nine titles throughout its 50 years of competition, with successes in clay and also in cement.
In the beginning, Guillermo Vilas was crowned three times in Washington, always on a slow surface. The Mar del Plata celebrated there in 1975, 1977 and 1979. In the first case, he did not give up a single set during the week and beat local Harold Solomon in the final, in his unforgettable ’77 he beat in definition another host, Brian Gottfried, and on the last occasion he defeated Paraguayan Víctor Pecci in the decisive duel.
The particularity that the three coronations of Vilas, the historical king of tennis in Argentina, had was that those three years he conquered that championship being the top seed. In addition, he lost two other finals, in 1974, before the aforementioned Solomon, and in 1981, with his compatriot José Luis Clerc.
Precisely, Clerc was the next to celebrate in the capital of the United States, twice. In 1981 he did not lose a single set during the tournament and in 1983 he prevailed as the main seed and won the final against local Jimmy Arias. At that time, it was still disputed on clay.
Since then, 25 years have passed, half the life of that contest, for another Argentine to lift the maximum trophy. In 2008, Juan Martín del Potro achieved the first of his three titles in Washington, equaling the record among compatriots, which was only held by Vilas. In 2008, the season of his international takeoff, the Tandilense, already on hard courts, beat the Serbian Viktor Troicki in the defining clash.
He repeated in 2009, with a final victory over the American Andy Roddick, and finally celebrated in 2013 in that ATP, after prevailing over another homeowner, John Isner. That last title in Washington was achieved by Del Potro being the top favorite in the table.
But among his successes there was another compatriot who celebrated at that site: David Nalbandian was crowned in 2010. Also on cement, the Cordovan celebrated against the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the definition. The bonus of that week for him was that he performed in the tournament after receiving a special invitation.
Therefore, Washington means a lot to Argentine tennis. And it is still very fresh in the memory of several of his fans.