Tennis: The only 6 Latinos to Win a Grand Slam

A woman and five men have been the only tennis players in the region to win the most prestigious titles in world tennis.

Guillermo Vilas, Gabriela Sabatini and Juan Martín del Potro

Since the open era of tennis, which began in 1968, only 6 Latin Americans have lifted at least one Grand Slam trophy, made up of 3 nationalities: Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico. Photos: Ricardo Alfieri Jr., United States Embassy to Argentina, Jay Calderón

LatiAmerican Post | Juan Manuel Bacallado Gómez

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Leer en español: Los únicos 6 tenistas latinoamericanos en ganar algún Grand Slam

Historically, tennis has been a sport dominated by the North Americans and Europeans , a hegemony that continues today with a clear control of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the men's tournaments. However, in the case of the female divisions, it has had greater variation among its champions. Although, in both categories, Latin American tennis players have lagged behind, especially if one takes into account the most important competitions in this sport: the Grand Slam.

What is special about the Grand Slams?

Since 1925 the name of Grand Slam became official to define the four most important and prestigious tournaments in world tennis. These tournaments represent the highest category of this sport and assign more points and more money than the rest of the competitions.

And what about Latinos?

Since the open era of tennis, which began in 1968, only 6 Latin Americans have lifted at least one Grand Slam trophy, made up of 3 nationalities: Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico .

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Guillermo Vilas

This Argentine was the first Latino to win a Grand Slam in the open era of tennis. He won not only one, but four, which is why he is considered a benchmark in South American tennis and the one who laid the foundations of this sport in Argentina . During his career, Vilas managed to conquer 62 individual ATP tournaments, as well as four Grand Slam. In 1977 he won the French and US Open, while twice he won the Australian Open (1978 and 1979). He currently continues to hold the record for the most consecutive victories, with a total of 46 games that allowed him to win 7 titles in a row.

Gabriela Sabatini

The only Latin American woman to win an individual Grand Slam in the open era . In 1990, Sabatini conquered the US Open, although in 1994 she would manage to win the Wimbledon tournament but in doubles with her American partner Lindsey Davenport. The Argentine would retire young from tennis, with only 26 years of age. Later, the South American athlete declared that she already felt demotivated and tired, in the same way she managed to lift 27 titles and stay for 10 years in the Top 10 of the female ranking.

Andres Gomez

If Andrés Gomez achieved something, it was not only to win a Grand Slam, but to be the only Ecuadorian to achieve it . In 1990, Gomez lifted the title at the French Open at the age of 30. The Andean tennis player also won another 20 individual titles and 33 in double tournaments.

Gustavo Kuerten

Coming from Brazil, Gustavo Kuerten, known as “Guga”, was the first and only one from his country to lift a Grand Slam , but he did it not only once, but three times. In addition, the carioca was number 1 in the world ranking several times, which is why he is considered the face of Brazilian tennis. Guga conquered Roland Garros three times, the first was in 1997, when he arrived at the tournament as number 66 in the ranking and with only 20 years of age, then in 2000 and 2001. In total, Kuerten won 20 individual titles and 8 doubles.

Gaston Gaudio

Another Argentine tennis player. In this case, Gaudio has a short list of 8 individual titles. However, among the cups stands out an epic Roland Garros in 2004, where Gaudio arrived as 44th in the ranking and his best result in the tournament had been the round of 16 . On this occasion, the Argentine would overcome, he would eliminate the number 1 of the moment, Lleyton Hewitt, until he reached the final and traced a match that began losing 6-0 and 6-3 and be champion.

Juan Martin del Potro

The most recent Latino to lift a Grand Slam. Hailing from Argentina, Del Potro managed to make his name in a world tennis dominated by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic . This happened in 2009, at the United States Open, when "the tower of Tandil", at 20 years old, beat nothing more and nothing less than Roger Federer, the top active winner of this tournament, in the final. Currently, Del Potro continues to play and has 22 individual titles, the last one achieved in 2018.