A documentary on Guillermo Vilas's career was recently released on Netflix, mainly focused on his run-up to the top of the ATP ranking. The film, entitled 'Guillermo Vilas: Settling the Score', was directed by the Argentine journalist Eduardo Poppo and shows the considerations of authentic legends such as Bjorn Borg, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Rod Laver and Gabriela Sabatini.
Federer and Nadal are undoubtedly the symbols of the modern era and both have great esteem for Vilas, as evidenced by their words collected in the documentary. In particular, the Swiss phenomenon praised Guillermo's work ethic, capable of winning 62 ATP titles and 4 Grand Slam tournaments, but never managing to become world number 1.
The Argentine in fact reached the second position on April 30, 1975, remaining there for a total of 83 weeks. The Buenos Aires champion was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991.
Federer and Nadal on Guillermo Vilas
“Guillermo Vilas was one of those players that left a mark, especially when it comes to the work ethic for the next generation of players,” Roger Federer said.
“He was an incredible fighter and would never get tired,” Federer continued. "He should have been the world No. 1, but the ranking system was different at the time,” Federer remarked. “It didn't reward playing a lot”.
Rafael Nadal meanwhile recalled an interesting anecdote about Guillermo Vilas and himself in the documentary. “When I was very young, I do remember one thing he told me - ‘Everybody knows how to run to the side, but to run back and forth, it's a lot more complicated, so you have to try to take players out of their comfort zone'," Nadal said.
Even though he won 16 ATP singles titles, including the French Open and the US Open and was the runner-up at the January edition of the Australian Open in 1977, Vilas was never ranked by the ATP as world No. 1 during 1977 which was due to the fact that the rankings at the time were based on the average of a player's results.
He was instead year-end world No. 2, behind Jimmy Connors (who won the Masters and seven other titles and was the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1977). Nevertheless "World Tennis" magazine listed Vilas as 1977 year-end world No.
1, and Borg No. 2. Argentine journalist Eduardo Puppo and Romanian mathematician Marian Ciulpan investigated the 1973–78 period records, and delivered a detailed report with more than 1,200 pages in which they came to the conclusion that Vilas should have been ranked No.
1 for five weeks in 1975 as well as during the first two weeks of 1976 and handed over their research to the ATP at the end of 2014.