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September 1, 2002

Guillermo Vilas


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Twenty-five years ago, you were at Forest Hills winning the US Open. Today there are eight South Americans who made the third round here at the US Open. Argentinian players have been one of the stories of the tour. How do you relate your success and 25 years later all this success? What's your view?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I guess when I started I was the first South American to kind of break all the barriers. Before me, there were, you know, very good players also. But it was always, you know, everything goes with markets, no? There were three South Americans. I was maybe the first one to appeal to the American public, and in the final with Jimmy, the people were cheering for me very loud. I was feeling at home. I think that opened the door for many people. After me was Gabby Sabatini and Jose-Luis Clerc. To me, South Americans started believing that that's a possibility. So I guess that was my contribution to all that. Then after, each one, they brought their own story, no, and they make history by themselves. But I think when you make something possible, then imagine all South Americans we had Santana in our head, maybe we can be like Manuel. But he was a Spanish player. What is amazing, the first round I played in the Open that year, in March, I played with Manuel. He wanted to play one more time. They gave him a wildcard against me in first match. I guess when somebody closer to home was there, that opened a good possibility of a soccer market, everybody thinking about playing football, but that opened that. Now you can see many things are better after that. Argentina is kind of the latest add to this new players, but it took them a lot of years. In Sweden, they used Borg a lot. Then they produced champions right away. In Argentina, we didn't have the same thing. It's like they didn't make any school to follow up. The work of these kids is more their own effort than any help or any program than for players. They are good friends between themselves and they work with ex-players from Argentina. It took a long time. I think this should have been earlier.

Q. Is there a plan to develop anything?

GUILLERMO VILAS: No, Argentina doesn't have anything in any kind. They go by feelings, you know? Unfortunately, that's what it is, yes. And to develop something, you have to be humble. You have to be humble enough to put the best person in charge of that and not your best friend. You have to be humble enough to understand what you can use and what you cannot use and things you have to do. That's something Argentina doesn't have, I think they never had. That's why you will find a lot of good sportsmen but nothing behind them. Happened with Fangio, happened with many other things. Is kind of this. It's one person's thing, then let's go to the next and there is nobody else, let's make a steak and eat. That's the way they go.

Q. What are your memories of that, the fact that Jimmy left the court? Did it cloud it all?

GUILLERMO VILAS: They made a big thing out of it, that he couldn't shake hands. When they make the last call, people invaded the court. He was trying to get the mark check, and then the umpire said, "It's final," you know, because I was -- I was going to shake hands. The people were coming in. I thought this was the final call, I'm not gonna overrule. The people left me up, he couldn't come close by so he had to leave anyway. You know Jimmy, he was not gonna follow all the jumps and trying to shake hands with me. He said, "He's not here, I'm going." I understand the guy. By the way, today's his birthday.

Q. Tomorrow.


Q. The 2nd.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Oh, they told me the 1st, okay. I was with his ex-coach who told me. So, you know, that's what happened really. You cannot change that. He couldn't come close. But it was crazy. Because I thought the people coming were from Argentina so also I kind of went to them. But then nobody was Argentina, they were from Puerto Rico, they were all over, Mexicans. It was a very amazing feeling.

Q. You got more support than he did from the crowd in that match.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Yes, yes. I was impressed by that. Because I thought they were gonna kill me. When I play Noah in France, nobody would clap for you or anything. It was surprise. It was surprise. But New York.

Q. What kind of advice can you give to Jimmy about turning 50 tomorrow?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Jimmy needs no advice. He's a man, he carries himself very well. He's a very good friend. You have to understand that Jimmy also has his own way of understanding life, which is not like everybody else. He lives in his own rules. Most of us, we do so. But, you know, he's a survivor. So he's having a good time. He misses tennis, you know, like we all do. But I think every time -- I think when the US Open comes, he prays for rain. That's why it's raining so much. So they put his old matches, they always put the same thing. "Is it raining? Is it raining? Okay, put on the TV." I'm sure he's having something now and enjoying this moment, yeah (smiling).

Q. You've come around, all the guys from your era. Jimmy doesn't come around. Does that surprise you with his personality?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Well, you shouldn't be too surprised. He has his own views about. You know, when he doesn't like you, he doesn't like you for life, you know that? When he likes you, he likes you for life. So I think I don't want to get into something that is not mine. I just like to have everybody to understand it's a good date for me, it's not a good date for him. For sure this year I don't think he was going to come to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this tournament. But each player has their own things. I don't know what they have going around with this -- he was never Davis Cup captain. A lot of things that prevents him. But he comes every year. You don't know this, but he does.

Q. Here?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Every year. I know this. But he comes in and watches and goes. I know because every time I say, "You were this year?" "Yes." "Which day?" He tells me the time and everything. He knows when. He always comes to be here. He checks and goes. I think he wants something to -- like something he has with the USTA, I don't know what it is for sure. Probably he was, you know -- every player expects more than what they get, you know? Everything you do to a player, it always seems not as good to the player, you know? He always thinks very highly. So something is missing for him to come back and be here.

Q. What do you think about this place? You won over in Forest Hills. Is something missing?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Yes. Well, is much better than the first year, let me tell you. First year we came to play here, it was disaster area. They're making it better and better every year.

Q. Something missing that Forest Hills had that you feel because you weren't there?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Forest Hills had that tradition that you saw, that everybody before you has been in the same place. The guys who come here, they know that they are playing in this big place. They know that Newcombe never played here and Laver didn't play here. So that's missing. But it's very spectacular. I think there should be maybe something to bring it together, to make them remember, maybe some old chaps from the older stadium to come and watch here a bit. Every time you come, you go to Forest Hills and you see this, it's like you can see everybody moving around like it was before. But it's nothing missing here. It's just it's gonna gain more and more and more. It's a new stadium. And they are bringing in some pictures. They really have a great chance to see Jimmy, who kind of links everybody from the past years again. Every place misses something. Forest Hills missed the big crowds and everybody coming in freely. And they were not happy with that. It's never a perfect situation. But I think there is always room for improvement. So you can always make everything come together. Sooner or later, that will happen.

Q. If you could create the ultimate composite player and take different strokes from different players of any era, what are some of the names that would come up from you? If you could pick a serve, a backhand, forehand.

GUILLERMO VILAS: There are so many players and so many ways of thinking. Every time when they say, "Who was the best server in the history of tennis," they will say, "Somebody who serves 280,000 kilometers an hour." He probably never won anything, but they say, "This is the best serve." Is different way to wake things up. To me, a good server is a guy who, when he serves, he doesn't lose his serve because he knows how to follow it. But if you want to say, "Who is the fastest," it could be somebody hit in the middle of the square. To me, a guy that hits an angle at a very high speed, that's better than one who hits faster in the middle. There are different surfaces, different players, I need time to do all that. To accommodate, you can say forehand and backhand, there are different forehands and backhands, for approaching, for finishing the point, for setting a point, for defending a point. Really, there are so many good players. Now they play so good, the players, that it's fantastic to watch them.

Q. What was your best shot?

GUILLERMO VILAS: My best shot at the end was the forehand, which is what I was doing most of my damage. I have to say originally it was the backhand, but with the backhand it's difficult that you can win tournaments. I always like backhands because I always love -- I love Rod Laver. People ask me why I have this arm so big. It's very easy to know. Rod also had a huge arm. That's why I always wanted to imitate him. But I think my forehand is the one that dominated, which is now for all the players, they need to have a big forehand. Nowadays you cannot play without a big forehand.

Q. What have you done with your trophies? Australian, French, US. Where are they?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Trophies, we have no trophies because they stay in the place. You know, most of the big tournaments, they just give you a replica. I have tons of replicas (laughter). When I played the last one in Forest Hills, they didn't give me a replica. They gave me a little ball, gold ball. I lost it right in the changing room. I never had.

Q. They didn't replace it? Where are those replicas?

GUILLERMO VILAS: They gave me -- from Monaco, I have three like this, small. They are nice ones. But, you know, the good thing is they are here so everybody can see them and they see your name. So it's interesting. Every time they say, "Where are your trophies?" "Oh, you have to fly to different places and look for them."

Q. Are they in the museum?

GUILLERMO VILAS: No, they're very small. People say, "This is small." I have to explain everything all over the place. Yes, but it's true, we don't have big cups. We have bigger cups from Juniors, yes (smiling).

Q. In '80s, Bud Collins called it, "The Swedish invasion." Can you call it today the Latin invasion today?

GUILLERMO VILAS: It was a Swedish invasion. After Bjorn kind of fade away, it was Wilander that came and Edberg. But there were a lot of, you know, there were -- Jarryd was No. 1 in doubles. It was like they took over the whole thing. Many, many, many, many players. Now it's an Argentinian invasion, but the Swedes were more, were more than these guys. I think the Argentinian players are growing. They're different type of players. It's not like, you know, like what happened with Chang or Wilander that when they arrive, they won a big one. Every year they're playing better and they're getting better. They started with Squillari four or five years ago, then the year after was Gaudio in the semifinals, the year after was Coria, Canas. They keep growing.

Q. So which of the players has the most potential to be top player?

GUILLERMO VILAS: They're all the same. If you see, there is no one that has been doing extremely better than the other ones. They have seasons when they play good and, you know, the one that did the best so far is Nalbandian in the finals of Wimbledon.

Q. You play Wojtek Fibak?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I just saw him two weeks ago, yes. I was in Poland actually. So I see him all the time. He's the player I see the most lately, yes.

Q. How do you remember him as he was playing, his style?

GUILLERMO VILAS: He rely a lot on touch. He was a beautiful player to see. You would always see good tennis with him. He was very good. He was in the finals of the Masters. He won the doubles, the WCT World Cup. He was top five for three, four years.

Q. What was the reason you visit Poland?

GUILLERMO VILAS: He invite me to the tournament in Sopot. They have a tournament there. I play an exhibition with Nastase, Wojtek and Emilio Sanchez.

Q. If you compare Gonzalez and Canas, which player has more potential?

GUILLERMO VILAS: People always try to compare. But, you know, Gonzalez is a guy who won so many -- you say Gonzalez?

Q. Fernando.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Oh, okay. How they are... One is an offensive player who what he wants is to finish a point at the net if he can. The other is an offensive player that rallies from a baseline. Canas will be more prone to have injuries. But I think Canas is faster. Yeah, I think he's faster. Gonzalez looks a little bit like the way of -- his positions and all that, they are two players, they look like Sampras. There is another one Acasuso who has the same kind of talents and rhythm of playing.

Q. What do you miss most about the game?

GUILLERMO VILAS: We miss the whole thing. When you come here, you wish you were younger, right? So it's just like that. It's like when you watch old pictures and say, "Hmm, nice picture," then you just put them down. But that's the way it is. We're not gonna start anyway. We don't have the injury to think beyond that. But there's always, when you been part of something so big, it's always something that is not easy. As I said to a reporter, you know, the tennis takes you to the moon and you have to drive it back down to Earth again after, without crashing. So it's something, when you come here, it's a great feeling. It's great we have four Grand Slams, so we can spread our sorrow in the year and feel good.

Q. Between the Australian and the French and here, what gives you more satisfaction?

GUILLERMO VILAS: They are completely different. Every one is completely different. Like me, I had a chance to win three of them and play on Wimbledon many times. Wimbledon is different because Wimbledon, you get the feeling of the -- you miss some part of the feeling of the tournament because so many people, you are inside all the time. You look like a Christian when they were following, then you just come out and they put you back in. The French and the US Open and Australian, you can get the feeling of the whole place. Each one is different, is a completely different thing.

Q. I ask the tournament you won, the Australian, the French and this one.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Ah, the one I like the most? The most special?

Q. The most satisfaction for you winning it.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Well, first, I thought I could never win a Grand Slam because I was very close a couple of times. I thought, you know, when you start winning at 22 and you arrive to 25, you think you are very old. You are young and you think everything has to come after the other. So the one that made me really believe was the French Open, that I believed that I could do more things. And then this one, I thought it was too soon. I say, "How can I win?" From not winning anything to being in the final of the Australian, the same year winning the French, I say it looks even unjust that I should win the Open. So I said, "Well, let's try." I got everything in one year, what other players get in five or six.

Q. Going to the Australian, that particular period when not many went....

GUILLERMO VILAS: They always say the same thing. When you leave, you cannot go and say to time, "Look, stop. The field in Australia is not so good. Keep me the same way for another ten years so I come back when the field is stronger." This was my time. If I wanted to win, I was ready to play that. I knew was difficult, had the experience of winning the French and then winning the Open and being in the final of the Australian. I came back and play again and try to win. When they don't have so many players, it's not my fault. The tournament is there, my time is ticking. I have to go and play.

Q. You still won a Masters in grass.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Yeah, I won a Masters Series with everybody there. But what I'm saying is -- it's not the player's fault that the field is not so strong. Because when it's your time, it's your time. You have to go. Some people blame. Yeah, but your time was the time. Lendl said, "I'm here, I'm alive. I'm playing tennis. Whoever wants to play, come and play." You cannot say this is better because of the field. You cannot say that. You have your time and you have to use it.

Q. A lot is made of personality on the men's tennis tour. Back in your day there were a lot of personalties. Today a lot of men are criticized for not having so much personality, not selling the game. Do you agree with that characterization? If so, is there anything that today's players should do to sell the men's game?

GUILLERMO VILAS: You have to understand, in my time a lot of people were doing very stupid things. Like I don't understand why people have to have the short hair put and all dress with these ties and all the same. You know, why you could not have jeans with some color in it. We were questioning things, but also the people were not ready for anything unusual. So when we came with our styles, my style, I had long hair. I had it from Thomaz Koch, who was the No. 1 player in South America at that time. He had long hair, so I imitate him. He also walk kind of strange, and I walk also sideways because of him. So you imitate people you like and then people, they say, "Why you have long hair?" I say, "I like it." Also the guy I like, I like the way he plays, I want to be exactly like him. I like the big arm like Laver. At that time, was very strange. Now anything you do, it sounds normal so people are not so impressed. So two things happened: One, we were not following the rules, if there were stupid rules. Second, like changeover, you cannot sit. "Why I can't sit? They put the seat, we sit." Stan Smith and Nastase, they couldn't sit in the final of Wimbledon. It's true. You don't remember why because you don't ask yourself. There was one day, one guy took it. "I have 20 seconds, I want to spend this 20 seconds sitting." And then we start like this, just grabbing. They said, "Don't grab any more chairs, we're gonna put two chairs." That's how the chairs started. There were stupid rules. We just wanted to put everything in place. Why we have to play in shirts? Ray Moore was playing with T shirts saying, "No more war." Okay, you can put it the way you like but not this. You have to have the collar. Some things were good, some things were stopped. That's the way life goes. We used to travel with the guitar because we like the guitar. Before us, Jeff Borowiak was traveling with flute. Ulhrach Torben was traveling with some bongos. I said why not a guitar? We like and kept doing it. Now the players, anything they do is not gonna impress you. People are not impressed by anything. If they play a guitar, they are gonna say they have to play like Van Halen. Guga was doing surfing. He fell two times. I said, "Stick to tennis." The guy's surfing. He's doing what he likes. Now the they demand quality. In our time, we would come with a guitar, we were like, "Oh, artistic person." We just have a guitar, we play terrible. It was different. The people like that, we have fashions and things. So I think they are not being completely fair with these guys. These guys are really nice guys. It's just every time they open their mouths, it's like boom, they go after them. But it's nice to see Guga enjoying the beach and surfing. I think is the first surfer from all the tennis players I know. Philippoussis also now is surfing, too. It's good to venture and have new things. People accept that whatever they do, they are doing it because they like the thing, which is what normal life is about. You know, people should be able to write and put things or do things they like. Maybe they're not gonna be Picasso. You have to top yourself in life. You don't have to compete with other people. The players now are very nice. If people will be a little bit more nice to them, they would open more. I think they have now reporters in the changing room. The guy who was doing my thing said, "I look for you in the changing room." "You can't get in." "No, no, now we can." "What do you mean you can get?" The guy walked in, picked me up from there. I haven't seen it in the papers, you can actually go.

Q. I don't know. I think they can. Even in the women's locker.

GUILLERMO VILAS: I would like to apply for that, yes. I will be writing now. No, that's what I'm saying. There are things that happening now. What happened, when you go to the locker room, what do you find? You find there is nothing more that exciting. Bunch of dirty clothes and the guys just talking about nothing, you know, getting ready. So that kills a little bit of the myth that you thought. In our time was Nastase running, same thing. We were sitting there waiting to play. But that puts them down to Earth and then it's not so exciting. You expect something more glamourous or whatever, white towels and soap and dirty clothes. That's what it is, which is down to the game, really. So if you enjoy the game, if you enjoy the guys playing, which is great. I think it's nice.

Q. You were mentioning just a while ago the artistic side. How's your poetry going?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I finish my third book. I finish about two weeks ago. The only thing, I was traveling. So to bring, I just have to find a publisher now, which is not that easy. And next year probably I want to find a translator also, they're trying to get. So maybe I can bring it to you guys.

Q. Since you are not a publisher, you're not telling us lies about how many copies you sold.

GUILLERMO VILAS: No, actually I'm impressed by how many I sold in the first one. I sell it in Argentina. Was fantastic. It was sold out in one week.

Q. How many, more or less?

GUILLERMO VILAS: It was -- for Argentina, you have to understand Argentina, right?

Q. Right.

GUILLERMO VILAS: I sold the first one, it was 10,000. And the second edition was a week after, 10,000. Was a third edition, which I have in my home, 10,000. That I couldn't sell one (laughter). So that I have.

Q. You've mentioned Laver a couple times. What made him so special?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Oh, well, he was -- he kind of set the rules for many things. He was the first Australian with topspin. Maybe there was somebody, just a few. It was the first time they were bringing all this changing of grips, the way he move on the court. He was play not like typical Australian. He won everything.

Q. Also because he was left-handed?

GUILLERMO VILAS: He was left-handed. It's difficult to see. When you see a book, you see a left-handed? You see everything right-handed. I have to put the books against a mirror to understand. When you see a right-handed, it's not that easy. The way he was, the way he was mixing angles, which before nobody would play, different serves he had, you know, not many players had one, two serves. But he had different -- he was an all-around game, you know? It was fantastic to see. But we don't have many left-handers to see. The one before him I think was Neale Fraser, which I also talk to him a lot and learn a lot.

Q. Did you read John McEnroe's biography?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I didn't finish the book but so far I like it. He talks very nice about me. I like that (smiling).

Q. You were surprised?

GUILLERMO VILAS: No. I was not surprised he was talking nice about me, but, you know, he always likes to mix things. He doesn't like to -- you know, I know John very well. He doesn't like you to think that he's kind of like, now that he's older, I thought he was gonna say some bad things about me just to counter the good things. So I don't have the idea that he's kind of slowing down or mellowing out. But he was very super nice. You know, just -- I like the book. I like the book very much. But he talked quite a bit of me, which, yeah, is nice.

Q. Do you think it's all true; there is no lie in that book?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I don't think there is, you know, there are things that I can never -- the reason you buy a book is to believe in the book. If you think it's gonna be a lie, you shouldn't even read it. But you sound like an Argentinian there. It's like after you read it and say, "Maybe he's lying," that's how all things happen in my country. That's the way it is. They announce my marriage about five days ago, and they describe the ceremony and all that. I was here. So then this guy says, you know, "Have a nice married life." When you live in a country full of lies... The guy said, "It's not true?" I said well, you know, "I don't see why you talk so badly about our country, because it could have been possible." He said, "But it's not, so it's a lie." Yeah, but if it can be possible, it's not so bad. That's the way they think over there. You think the same way. When you write the book, first you write it to somebody else who puts it together. Also there is no point in lying, because people can say this is a lie.

Q. Did you learn something in this book about John? There is a lot of people who think that they knew him, that have been really surprised reading about what he said about himself?

GUILLERMO VILAS: What they think about them?

Q. When he was saying about himself, there is people who think they knew John McEnroe.

GUILLERMO VILAS: But when they read that, they didn't know. No, there are only a few guys who get into, you know, his life. He's a very private person. He's very social, but the real things, only few know, yes.

Q. When you were talking about the hair and things like that, you still have long hair.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Yes. That means it was not for the game, right?

Q. Very envious about it. I'd like to know, do you think you want to still have a place in your old generation in this way, this look? You don't want to change? You're always out with young girls, I see.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Who, me? I forgot.

Q. Young women.


Q. So that means in a way you are still attached to the old times.

GUILLERMO VILAS: Not really, no, no. First, to come here I cut my hair. It was little bit more.

Q. That was the '60s?


Q. Those were the '60s and '70s.

GUILLERMO VILAS: When I played I had shorter than this. At that time was very long what we had, if you see the pictures. But I get along very well with young people. Most of the people of my age, when we talk, it's like they always talk like before was better and this and that. So there is something, you know, once things pass you by, you know, computers -- my friends have no computer, I don't know how send an E-mail. If I send an attachment, the guys don't know how to open it up. There are a lot of things. Some of them, they don't have a cellular. Some things get you out. And I'm more updated with the younger. Now I was talking to Chela and Coria, they are waiting for their match. I was with them for a couple of hours. And, you know, it's -- it's a natural thing. It's not that they ask me to know how it was, natural reaction of knowledge that you have. I have a good connection with young people. But hair, I thought I was gonna impress you with my short hair, which I cut it two days ago. So I have to cut more, right (smiling)? I think that you have -- you feel comfortable in a certain way. That's what I do. I do the same things. I think one of the key to not aging is to do the same things but update what you are doing, you know? If you want to listen to the same music, if you don't put a little Radiohead or (inaudible), there's very good music done now. It's not that music stop when we -- when our groups, they were not touring, you know? I think you can find a whole new world that is exactly like it was before, with the same elements and very nice.

Q. Ever think to become a politician?

GUILLERMO VILAS: In Argentina it's impossible to be a politician. I cannot be captain of the Davis Cup in my own country. I don't think I can ever succeed . That's something I do well, tennis. I don't think I can be a politician if I cannot even be the Davis Cup of my own team, you know.

Q. Bring some new things to the country.

GUILLERMO VILAS: That's what I'm saying. Somebody has the power that you could never be the captain of the team, of the sport. Probably I was one of the best in my country. You know, I think my hopes to be a good politician are zero.

Q. Why do you think you never became Davis Cup captain?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Because you need -- somebody has to open the door for you. You know, the whole life is opening doors. When I met Laver, he gave me a couple of tips about me, how to play. When I met Neale Fraser, he helped me during one very big event. He came and said, "Do you want me to help you?" I said, "Yes please." He helped me. People open doors for you. That's the way life is. I don't say I did everything I did because I'm very intelligent, no. But I have the right people giving me the right advice and I could use what I knew. That is you how you get things. In politics or anything, to get something, somebody has to say, "We want you here, we want you there," and open the door for new people to come. My possibilities in politics in Argentina are zero.

Q. You must have some explanation for that, why they didn't open the doors to you.

GUILLERMO VILAS: I don't know. I don't know. What I'm saying, he asked me why I'm not a politician.

Q. I understood.

GUILLERMO VILAS: I understand right away if I have problems to get that post, which is very easy, the other one will be almost impossible that I'm dealing with.

Q. That I understood.

GUILLERMO VILAS: I don't know. It's not my problem, really. To be Davis Cup captain is not the dream of a player. A player is to win these events. You don't want to be there sitting and saying, "Okay, come on now, go," because it's not in your thing. But it's a natural thing, after you been good at something, you can teach something to the next generation. It's part of anything you do, you want to be a little bit better. So, normally when it comes, it's a nightmare for us. You know, nobody ask me. Is okay. But he says in politics it's even worse. You have to have people to help you do anything.

Q. How do you explain there are so many good up-and-coming players in spite of the problems in your country?

GUILLERMO VILAS: These guys, when they start playing tennis, the country was doing very well. So this is nothing that is, you know, they were explaining in one country that they play very good now because they need money to eat. These guys start playing tennis many years ago. These guys, first they are friends, between themselves. So they always -- they don't fight. They come from different parts of the country, different cities. They come to Buenos Aires to practice. They became friends and practice together, which never happen. Me and Clerc, we never practice together. Instead of creating this thing that they work in their own clubs with their own coach, all the coaches, players, work together. What is funny, the coach of one guy, this one fire, the other one hire, this one went. They just kept changing their own coaches between themself. It's a fantastic anarchy that they have, and it works. So they practice and they been so far having more or less the same results.

Q. Is there one in your mind ?

GUILLERMO VILAS: There's no one. One has done better is Nalbandian. Before that was Squillari. The other ones have been doing very good. Some of them, they are very, very young. Still there is no one. Nobody ever thought that Canas will be -- will have the result that he had. He was probably the last one of the bunch consider about one year ago, two years ago. Now he plays so well. They're very, very comparable. You're gonna see that you check the year, they are very close together in the rankings, too.

Q. Who was your great rival?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I have Borg and Connors. Depends on which surface, was one or the other.

Q. Did you have one you preferred to play, though?

GUILLERMO VILAS: I like to play -- I like to play Borg in fast courts and Jimmy in slow courts (laughter), which was not the case in reality. I was like General Gonzalez right in the middle, I have to meet one or the other, any surface that they love. It was a great time. You have to admit it was a fantastic different players. You know, Jimmy I think never won a tournament on red clay. And, you know, same with Becker. So they were like really players that they -- the only one who did all the crossover, better than everybody, was Borg, playing on grass and clay and everything. So was a fantastic -- I think was a fantastic bunch of players.

Q. Was that a disappointment that you never won Wimbledon?

GUILLERMO VILAS: Oh, Borg never won the US Open and Connors never won the French. It was very difficult. It was very difficult because every surface had a specialist. You know, if it wasn't for Connors, Borg had won this event many times. But he was a specialist. He loves this place. He loves to sleep here. So everybody's fighting for the same thing. So that's the way it was. It was a great time with great specialists. You always had a man to beat, which is fantastic. Now you think, "Who can win this?" The man to beat was this, that was in our time. Now you think this one could win but there are many others. You don't know who's gonna end up winning.

Q. In your long career you played many different players, different personalties.


Q. Do you remember anybody who was similar, his personality, similar to Ilie Nastase?

GUILLERMO VILAS: People remember him as his happy side, but he had an ugly side, I don't know if you remember. He loses it. He was trying to be funny, he was very funny. But then when he really lost it, he start shouting and jumping in the most ridiculous ways. So he had a little bit of -- it was like kind of John. John, you know, fiery part. He was from the laughing part. But both had like really funny times in their own way. One was Charlie Chaplin, one was Buster Keyton. But they had everything. They had a good mixture of things. Those two, I think, they're relate.

End of FastScripts….

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