As a family, surrounded by his wife and children, Guillermo Vilas celebrates his birthday this Monday. Argentina’s historic tennis king, owner of 62 individual titles, including four Grand Slam and one year-end Masters, is celebrating 68 years.
The brave and feisty left-hander from Mar del Plata, born on August 17, 1952, had a sensational career in professional tennis. Willy Vilas was and continues to be the N ° 1 of Argentine tennis. Due to victories, titles, ranking and what he generated with his sporting feats, he caused a revolution in this sport in his country and achieved unrepeatable feats.
By quality and quantity of successes, Vilas left a big mark. He marked a before and after in the former white sport in his country, with milestones for all of Latin America. Of the 62 titles won, he obtained 49 on slow courts, his favorites. His greatest milestone in brick dust was the title at Roland Garros in 1977, with the final heaviest there, when he gave up just three games to American Brian Gottfried.
That one at the French Open, his dream and much sought after tournament, was his first Major. In 1974, in Australia and on grass, he had the luxury of being crowned in the Masters tournament, the final Masters of the season, with the eight best. In the Grand Slam he repeated what he did in Paris on the Forest Hills clay in his unforgettable 1977, winning the US Open, no less than by winning the final to the local idol and leader of the ATP ranking, Jimmy Connors.
Then came the conquests of the Australian Open in 1978 and 1979, both on grass, the surface that gave him more of a headache, but in that country allowed him to accomplish unexpected feats.
His sublime season was 1977, with the highest mark in a year, with 16 official titles. That year he sealed the historic streak of 53 consecutive victories, cut by the Romanian Ilie Nastase in Aix-en-Provence, with the racket, later suspended, with double strings. By the ranking system of the moment, it was placed second on several occasions and did not reach the No. 1 position in the world, being clearly the best in 1977.
In addition, Vilas guided Argentina to the final of the Davis Cup in 1981, in the company of José Luis Clerc, also a World Top 10. On other occasions, he made the semifinals in the top team tournament, but was denied the famous silver salad bowl.
The review of its 62 titles, from the first to the last:
1973: Buenos Aires
1974: Gstaad, Hilversum, Louisville, Toronto, Tehran, Buenos Aires and the Masters
1975: Munich, Hilversum, Washington, Louisville and Buenos Aires
1976: St. Louis, Fort Worth, Monte Carlo, Toronto, San Pablo and Buenos Aires
1977: Springfield, Buenos Aires-1, Virginia Beach, Roland Garros, Kitzbuhel, Washington, Louisville, South Orange, Columbus, US Open, Paris, Tehran, Bogotá, Santiago, Buenos Aires-2 and Johannesburg
1978: Hamburg, Munich, Gstaad, South Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Basel and Australian Open
1979: Hobart, Washington, Buenos Aires and Australian Open
1980: Rome, Kitzbuhel and Palermo
1981: Mar del Plata, Cairo and Houston
1982: Buenos Aires, Rotterdam, Milan, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Boston and Kitzbuhel
1983: Richmond, Delray Beach and Kitzbuhel