Although soccer is the most popular sport in Chile, the sport in which the country is most successful is tennis, as Chilean players have won multiple tournaments around the world.
There are examples of male and female tennis players who have gained international fame for their talents on the tennis court, and there are both current and retired players who are known worldwide. So, which are the most successful tennis players from Chile?
Here are the 10 most successful Chilean tennis players.
10. Julio Peralta
Julio Peralta is a Chilean tennis player who turned pro in 2000. He has taken multiple breaks from tennis, with the latest lasting from 2018 to 2022, although he has now returned to the profession.
The most successful year in Peralta’s early professional career was in 2003, when he won the BH Tennis Open International Cup, which is a challenger tournament that took place in Belo Horizonte. Later in his career, he won a singles challenger title and six doubles titles on the ATP World Tour.
9. Luis Ayala: One of the Best Chilean Tennis Players from the 1950s and 1960s
Ranker lists Luis Ayala as one of the best Chilean tennis players of all time. The former tennis player was born in 1932, and he was prominent on the tennis circuit during the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most successful years in his career was 1958, as he was ranked fifth in the world.
In the same year, Ayala reached the final in the French Championships but lost to Mervyn Rose. Two years later, he reached the final in the French Championships for the second time but lost to Nicola Pietraneli.
8. Hans Gildemeister
Former tennis player Hans Gildemeister is from a famous tennis-playing family. His brothers, Heinz and Fritz, were also tennis players, although Hans was the most successful of the three. He is a Chilean-born player, although the family has German ancestry.
During his career, Gildemeister won four singles and 23 doubles titles. He reached his highest ATP ranking of number 12 in the world in 1980. Gildemeister was once the captain of the Chilean Davis Cup team.
7. Paul Capdeville
Paul Capdeville is a former Chilean tennis player born in Santiago on April 2, 1983. He played tennis throughout his childhood and competed in junior championships before becoming a pro in 2002. Capdeville achieved his highest world ranking of number 78 in May 2009.
In the same year, Capdeville reached the semi-final at the Estoril Open. Although he is famous for his success on the tennis courts, Capdeville is also known for an unfortunate incident that took place at the 2006 French Open.
Capdeville and competitor Mario Ancic were involved in a shoving incident that resulted in two umpires separating the men and both being given a fine of $3000. During his career, the Chilean player has won ten challenger tournaments and was formerly part of the Chilean Davis Cup team.
6. Nicolas Jarry
On the ATP tour, Nicolas Jarry won one singles and two doubles tournaments. He achieved his highest rankings in both singles and doubles in 2019, when he ranked number 38 in the world as an ATP singles player, and number 40 was his highest doubles ranking.
Jarry won his first ATP title in 2019 at Bastad. Jarry is the grandson of former ATP player Jaime Fillol who won seven titles, and the great-nephew of Alvaro Fillol, also a former ATP player.
5. Cristian Garin: One of the Best Chilean Tennis Players Still Playing
Cristian Garin’s highest world ranking was number 17 in 2021. He is currently ranked as the number two Chilean player. At the 2013 VTR Open, Garin defeated Dusan Lajovic to become the first Chilean player to win the event.
During his career, Garin won five ATP tour titles, winning his first in 2019 at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.He is the sixth Chilean man to achieve a world ranking in the top 20.
4. Fernando Gonzalez
Chilean tennis player Fernando Gonzalez made it into the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams at some stage in his career. However, his only major final was the 2007 Australian Open, when he lost to Roger Federer.
Gonzales is only the fourth male tennis player in history to win an Olympic medal in every color. His gold medal was won with Nicolas Massu in the doubles at Athens in 2004. His tennis nicknames include Hand of Stone and The Queen’s Bomber.
3. Nicolas Massu
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Nicolas Massu won gold medals in both the singles and doubles events. He was the only man to do so since tennis was reintroduced to the Olympics in 1988.
His other accolades include winning six singles titles and reaching the final at the Madrid Masters in 2003. Although he has retired as a competitive player, Massu is the coach of Dominic Thiem, a former world number three and the 2020 US Open champion.
2. Anita Lizana: The Best Female Chilean Tennis Player
The best female Chilean tennis player of all time was Anita Lizana, who was born in 1915 and died in 1994. She famously became the first Latin American and Hispanic person to rank as world number one.
Lizana was also the first Latin American to win a Grand Slam singles championship. In 1937, Lizana defeated Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in straight sets to win the U.S. Championships singles title.
1. Marcelo Rios: The Best Chilean Tennis Player Overall
According to Pantheon, not only is Marcelo Rios one of the most successful Chilean tennis players, but he is also the most famous and popular. In 1998, Rios became the first Chilean man to top the Association of Tennis Professionals’ singles rankings.
Prior to becoming a professional, Rios had also been the top-ranking junior. An unusual statistic about Rios’ career is that he was the shortest man to rank as number one in professional men’s tennis. Although he has won five Masters titles, Rios has never won a Grand Slam tournament, but he has finished as the runner-up on multiple occasions.
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