The origins and history of Tennis in Argentina can be traced to the development of the railroad system in the country.
The Argentinean railroad system was developed by the British avid to ensure the shipment of goods from Argentina to UK. During that time British immigrants working on the railroad system brought Tennis (Polo and Golf) to Argentina. As result of that, most if not all Tennis clubs in Buenos Aires are on the side of the train lines.
One of the most traditional Tennis institutions in Argentina is the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. Founded in 1892, Tennis Cathedral hosted many Davis Cup matches and ATP tournaments. Players like Guillermo Vilas, Jose Luis Clerc, and Victor Pecci used to train, practice and play Tennis on the same courts that Gaston Gaudio does it nowadays, for example.
Since 1921, Tennis in Argentina is regulated by the Argentinean Tennis Association (Asociación Argentina de Tenis). In Argentina, Tennis is play on Red Clay like in the French Open.
Comparing to Hardcourts (U.S. Open, Australian Open), Grass (Wimbledon) and Carpet surfaces; Red Clay is slower and with a much higher bounce of the ball. Those characteristics help players to have more time to reach and return every shot making more difficult to hit winners during a Tennis match.
In addition, Red Clay surfaces allow players to skid and get back that otherwise hard to hit ball.
For almost ninety consecutive years, Argentina has been competing for the Davis Cup trophy. With more than fifteen years in the World Group, Argentina was semifinalist in 1980 finishing twice as runner-up (1981 and 2006). For the last seven years, Argentina has been competing in the World Group, advancing to the quarter finals every time and becoming the number two on the Davis Cup ranking by the ITF. In September 2008, Argentina is once again competing for the Davis Cup finals. Argentina vs Russia.
Although Enrique Morea during the 40’s and 50’s was one of the best Argentineans Tennis player of all times, it was not until the 70’s that Tennis became a popular sport in Argentina. Guillermo Vilas changed and transformed Tennis for ever in Argentina. In fact, together with Diego Maradona, Vilas is one the most important sports figures in Argentina.
Vilas inspired many other players that follow his success like José Luis Clerc and Gabriela Sabatini. In 1977, Vilas won 12 titles including Roland Garros and Forest Hills. In the same year, Argentina beat the US Davis Cup team and played the semifinals for the first time. That was the time of big names in Tennis history like Bjon Borg, Jimmy Connors, Yannick Noah, Vitas Girulaitis and John McEnroe.
The Tennis achievements made by both Guillermo Vilas and Gabriela Sabatini resulted in both being inducted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame!
In recent years Argentina became an international powerhouse of professional top Tennis players in both the ATP and the Sony Ericsson WTA. In addition to having two Hall of Fame Players, Argentinean tennis players like David Nalbandian, Guillermo Cañas, Juan Mónaco, José Acasuso, Gisela Dulko, Maria Emilia Salerni, Guillermo Coria, Gastón Gaudio, Paola Suárez, Mariano Puerta, Agustin Calleri, Juan Martin Del Potro, Ignacio Chela, and Eduardo Schwank are good examples of such Argentinean Tennis powerhouse.
Coaching in Argentina is very important too. In addition to top professional Tennis players, Argentina also has many successful and recognized Tennis coaches. Some of them are Carlos Rodríguez (Justin Henin), Martín Jaite (David Nalbandian), Hernán Gumy (Gustavo Kuerten, Marat Safin) and Horacio de la Peña (Fernando González).
None less important are the victories of players like David Nalbandian and Guillermo Cañas over the best Tennis player of all times Roger Federer.
With almost a century of being played, Tennis in Argentina has a long and successful history full of trophies and medals making this country a great place for wonderful and memorable Tennis Holidays in the heart of South America.
The History of Tennis in Argentina is evolving as the sport does. New players, new techniques, new materials, and newer technologies all combine together to make tennis what it is.
See you on the courts!