Willamette World News

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Sports in Chile

Thinking about sports at this moment seemed to be a bit trite, considering that Chile is just starting to recover from the tragic events of last week. In case you had not heard, on February 27th there was an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Concepción (the second largest population in the country). Considering that context, talking about sports in such a moment, seemed inappropriate. Nevertheless, it is through sports that people are trying to find unity. In general, Chile is not an extremely divided country, but when it comes to helping other Chileans, we can be quite generous. Sports authorities decided, for example, that it would be a good idea to hold the previously scheduled match for Davis Cup in Chile.

Being that tennis is the second most popular sport in the country, this decision seemed appropriate, especially because Chileans are playing as the home team. The match is against Israel and the man behind the tennis racket for the Chilean team is Nicolas Massú, ranked 92 on ATP (He has had better times on ATP). Tennis became quite popular in Chile around the mid 90s; there was a Chilean player, Marcelo Ríos, who started rising on the ATP ranking by 1998. At least for a while, he became No. 1 after defeating Andre Agassi in a match that everyone in Chile was watching on TV. He was the first Latin-American tennis player to reach that position and, somehow, he inspired a new generation of tennis players to play. On of them is Nicolás Massu, and the other, Fernando González, probably one of the best tennis players that Chile has ever had. González and Massú became a legend for Chile when at the Olympic Games held in Athens (2004) they won the gold medal in doubles, Massu won the gold medal in singles and González the bronze medal. Since then, tennis has become a major sport in Chile, being the second most popular after football (soccer).

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