March 19, 1998. Four days after his coronation in Indian Wells, Marcelo Rios crossed the United States and arrived in Miami to compete in the season’s second Super 9 – the former name of the Masters 1000. Even though he never performed better than the third round in Florida, the Chilean hopes to build on his success in California and leave with the trophy. At the same time, the world number 1 position is not in his mind. Already, because Pete Sampras, despite being troubled by physical problems, continues his hundredth consecutive week on the throne. But also because Pat Rafter, Petr Korda and Greg Rusedski are in a better position than him to set up an ambush. Except that the planets are aligned: Rafter loses in the second round, Sampras in the third Korda and Rusedski loses in the round of 16. For Rios, the situation is simple: in case of victory in Miami, the world No. 1 spot will be hers. On his cloud, “El Chino” recites his tennis and crushes Andre Agassi in the final (7-5, 6-3, 6-4) and wins himself the Sunshine Double (victories in Indian Wells and Miami) and Provides a place at the top. ATP Rankings. And this, even though he has not won a single Grand Slam tournament yet. Before him, only Ivan Lendl had achieved this feat. Becoming the first South American world No. 1, Marcelo Ríos became a real star in Chile. It must be said that the country is emerging from a seventeen-year military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet and has never had the opportunity to see an athlete shine on the world stage. So the Chilean people fell in love with the tennis player and even when the head of state Eduardo Frei welcomed Ríos to the Presidential Palace, thousands of people were present in the streets of Santiago. The problem is that the left-handed player responds to this love in his own way. Or with a punch, like during this post-trophy evening where he punched a fan in the face who was screaming. Chi-chi-chi, le-le-le “. The reason for the move? “ He upset me. ,
Lemon Award, Ponytail and Punchline
Chileans aren’t the only ones who have fallen under the spell of her ponytail. All fans of the little yellow ball could not remain indifferent to the game proposed by El Chino: left-handedness, jumping backhand, counter-puncher, ability to find impossible angles, variations, spin, chopped drop shot. In short, Marcelo Ríos had an entire technical palette. Far from the standards of the time, which wanted tennis players to be Golgothas throwing bags from the baseline. Whether it’s from her sport, her ponytail, her nationality, or her height – she became the shortest world No. 1 in history with her 175 cm -, Joe told the newspaper La Tercera in 2018 That he has Asperger syndrome – “Out of the 60 symptoms mentioned, I identified 59 in myself” – was therefore very different from other players on the circuit. But if fans liked the character, it was less a matter of his detractors and the press. It must be said that the man who was awarded the Roland-Garros Lemon Award five times (given to the player with the most obnoxious character at the tournament) was not known for his friendliness. And it was Monica Seles to whom he said ” your ass is too big to play tennis » At Wimbledon Bay – a tournament he only played three times because ” Grass is for cows, not tennis players » – Who will say to the contrary.
Among these enemies, we find the Romanian Ilie Nastase: ” Rios is the worst idiot I’ve ever met. Ask any player what they think about him, you will get the same answer. However, everyone is unanimous on the brilliance of Kyrgios of the 90s. Thomas Enquist? , He was ahead of the ball, it was supernatural. »Mariano Zabaleta? , He is the Maradona of tennis. A unique style, exceptional touch on the ball. You instantly fell in love with his game! ” Roger Federer ? ” I was a big fan of Marcelo. I think he was the player who had the greatest talent. He and Pete Sampras were my favorite players. »So that’s Marcelo Rios. a man who is able to throw whore girl » To a 12-year-old girl who wanted an autograph, to play right-handed at a junior tournament in Florida while he was leading 2 sets to 0, to ignore Nelson Monfort, who wanted an interview , but also to bring the crowd to a single gesture of their feet, the secret of which he has.
new look for new life
So world No. 1 ranked Marcelo Rios travels to Argentina to play a Davis Cup match. If he wins against Hernán Gumi, the Chilean suffers an elbow injury and will not be able to defend his title in Monte Carlo. As a result, he played only three matches as world No. 1, a position he held for only six weeks in total. Only Carlos Moyá and Pat Rafter have performed fewer in ATP history. The beginning of the end for the man who won the Super 9 in Hamburg not even a year later. On the other hand, he would not lift even the slightest Grand Slam and remains the only World No. 1 to date without a top title. Even though he did everything he could to win the title at the 98 Australian Open – his only Grand Slam final – he lost to Petr Korda, who tested positive for nandrolone at Wimbledon the same year and was suspended for a year. But the Czech was not stripped of his title, his doping test came back negative after the win against Rios. A decision confirmed by the ITF in 2015 when Chile requested for retroactive allocation. A legal battle that is painful to watch, like the end of the career of El Chino who, weakened by injuries, cannot forget his many escapades with his talent in court.
Among them, a match at the Viña del Mar tournament where he deliberately served in the wrong rectangle or this evening in 2003 when he went to a nightclub on the eve of a Davis Cup match, urinated on a man, ended up in the wall . With his car and thus missed the plane to Ecuador to play the match. And so it was, in the obscurity of the San Luis Potosí Challenger (Mexico), after being eliminated in the second round, that Ríos officially retired in 2004. At the age of 28. Two years later, he became world No. 1 on the senior tour – thus becoming the only player to do so among juniors, professionals and seniors – and would attempt a comeback at the Columbus Challenger in 2019 but was denied his wild card. . When he wanted to become the oldest player to win a professional tournament. Now, Marcelo Rios lives in Florida, drives a Corvette registered “M.RIOS”, rides jet skis and divides his time between the gym, turning himself into a real bodybuilder, and social networks, where he also continues to say. The Chilean has had Botox, has lots of tattoos and has his share of haters. But this will not change his tennis career.
(TagstoTranslate) Rios was No. 1 for only six weeks(T) But it was the best six weeks(T) We Are Tennis