Jarry Aims To Follow In Grandfather Fillol's Footsteps
Chilean is yet to drop a set in Båstad
At the age of 23, Nicolas Jarry has already reached two ATP Tour championship matches and defeated Top 3 opposition in the ATP Rankings. But, this week, the Chilean is aiming to make a significant breakthrough by lifting his first tour-level trophy and following in the footsteps of his grandfather.
The Santiago-born star has not dropped a set en route to the Swedish Open semi-finals, where he will meet Federico Delbonis for a place in the championship match. His grandfather, Jaime Fillol Sr., lifted six tour-level trophies between 1971 and 1982, including four crowns on clay. Fillol Sr. reached a career-high No. 14 in the ATP Rankings in 1974.
"He is one of the best Chilean tennis players. He taught me the sport since I was little,” said Jarry. “He took me to great tournaments. I remember Wimbledon when I was 12 and I remember going to the US Open a couple of times. There used to be an ATP [tournament] in Santiago, so I was always involved in the tennis.”
Fillol Sr.’s involvement in the sport runs deep. The six-time tour-level titlist played a key role in the establishment of the ATP pension and won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award in 1980.
Fillol Sr. encouraged his family members to take up the sport through to their early teens. That enthusiasm for sharing the sport with his family proved crucial in the development of his grandson, who is now potentially two wins away from joining him as an ATP Tour champion.
“He was part of the creation of the ATP and it was his idea to make the ATP pension,” said Jarry. “He made all his sons and daughters play tennis, it was a must until they were 14, so I was always doing sports and tennis. Every year, [I did] a little bit more until I began doing some fitness before school. Then, when I finished, I dedicated myself completely to the sport.”
For Jarry, his inspiration not only comes from the success of his grandfather, but also the past successes of his countrymen and players of a similar stature and game style. The 6’6” right-hander identifies his serve as his biggest weapon, with a powerful forehand adding an extra layer to his attacking abilities.
“Of course, the top three Chilean players, Nicolas Massu, Marcelo Rios and Fernando Gonzalez, have always been players that I have looked up to,” said Jarry. “But also, outside of that, the tall players [like] Juan Martin del Potro… Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson.”
Alongside fellow 23-year-old Chilean Cristian Garin, the next chapter of Chilean tennis has clear potential. But can Jarry join two-time tour-level champion Garin in the 2019 winners’ circle this weekend?