A calculation mistake, or perhaps a special omission, in a time when the rankings were calculated by hand and were thus not published every week, kept Guillermo Vilas from being ranked number one in the world in two distinct moments (five weeks in 1976, and two weeks in 1976).
Instead, “Willy” (as he is affectionately called in Argentina) appeared as number two, behind Jimmy Connors.
Eduardo Puppo conducted an exhaustive and detailed investigation, as he did with the number of clay court tournaments won by Vilas (a statistic which has since been corrected by the ATP), and gave the ATP proofs that Guillermo Vilas had the points required to be number one in the world for five weeks in 1975 (starting on 22 September) and two in 1976.
The ATP did not refute the proofs of Puppo’s investigation. However, they did not take his request into consideration, arguing that “rewriting history is impossible”. The latter was stated by Chris Kermode, Executive Chairman and President of the ATP World Tour, to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, in a detailed article which was published this Tuesday.
The ATP’s attitude is one which saddened Guillermo Vilas.
Eduardo Puppo, on the other hand, continues his quest to bring the truth to light, and discussed the matter with BATennis World:
BATennis World: Edu, why do you think that it’s important for Vilas to be recognised as world number one for those weeks?
Eduardo Puppo: Because it’s the truth. This is the only thing we are looking for: that justice be rendered in view of what was accomplished on the court by every player. The ATP refuses to make changes, even with the proofs in their hands. This is unacceptable, under any circumstance. If the player got the points and killed himself working to improve his game, an administrative issue – which the current ATP cannot determine with exactitude – must not destroy that effort. No one can change what happened, be it the current ATP management or the coming ones. When Mr Kermode asks “What’s the limit?” in the NYT piece, the answer is easy: the truth.
BATW: Following the negative response of the ATP, what are the next steps that you will take with Guillermo?
EP: I don’t know. For the moment, Vilas remains in the place which he deems appropriate, without participating. The investigators, the Romanian mathematician Marian Ciulpan and myself, have to use up all the measures that there is with the ATP. They still have not responded to all that we have asked them. We are providing them everything that in hand they didn’t have from the ’70s, and even with that they refuse it all. Yet they wanted to keep all the material to refurbish their database!!! They are unbelievable. Obviously, we forbade them to touch and destroy our files, a thing they had promised they would do.
Eduardo Puppo is of that class of professionals for whom one feels proud of, not only by sharing their work, but because they are Argentinian.
Puppo is not the type of person to criticise in vain, or to edit when it is not necessary.
And if he declares something, we agree with him, because we know what he works for and why: for tennis to be better, and fairer.