The path of Juan Pablo Varillas is marked by effort and patience. At 27 years old, he is playing the tournaments in which the great figures of world tennis appear. This Wednesday or Thursday he must debut in his first Masters 1000 in Miami, facing the Argentine Guido Pella.
Thanks to remaining in the Top 100, Juan Pablo Varillas can say that he is present in ATP tournaments. He started the year with the South American tour, with the semifinals in Buenos Aires being his best result. Now he will play the Miami Masters and then he is registered to play the ATP 125 in San Remo, ATP 250 Marrakech and the ATP 250 in Banja Luka, while he waits to qualify for the Monte Carlo Masters.
Thus, at that level Juan Pablo Varillas now slides, in the big tournaments where he will seek to give his career a new boost and remain in the elite for a long time.
— How do you feel after a good start to the year?
Happy… it’s been a super good tour in everything: tennis, physically, mentally. Happy for that, for the results, for maintaining the level in almost every game.
— What was seen in Australia already showed signs of that
Having these kinds of matches motivates me a lot because it lets me know the level I’m at and what I can achieve on a court.
— How not to be confused with everything that happened in Buenos Aires and Rio?
I’m quiet. I try to take things easy, but the moment makes me happy. I am always calm, humble because the year is very long and there can be very good weeks or not so good ones, so I try to stay as calm as possible.
— But the environment gets excited very quickly
I try to stay with my close circle. If I’m going to party, spend good times with them. I try to stay very isolated from everything else. I think it keeps me focused, humble, away from anything that could distract me. I try to live life as normal as possible beyond the fact that what I do is not normal, it is not common.
— And on a personal level, how do you control your temper?
I try to talk to my coaching staff, with my psychologist. I always try to handle it deep inside. I’m not much of expressing what I feel on social media. I’m not that active, I try to do it because of the world we live in on the other hand, but then I’m quite reserved.
— You were in Lima for a few days…
Going to Lima is disconnecting. I try to go unnoticed. It is my home, apart from the fact that I spend a lot of time in Buenos Aires, I try to be with my family. Those days are for seriously disconnecting, disconnecting from tennis that doesn’t stop for a second since you’re traveling from here to there.
— So, how do you celebrate having reached an ATP semifinal?
There wasn’t much to celebrate that week because I lost the semifinal and the next day I traveled to Rio. I try to enjoy leisure time with my team, with my family, to be able to talk about what has been won, what has happened. Enjoy the moment, but also analyze and see what was done well, what was done wrong in order to improve.
— You closed the tour with a defeat in the first round in Santiago. How much does that influence the analysis?
A general evaluation is made. The easiest thing would be to stick with the latest tournament, the most recent, and it seems to me that it is not like that. I think that a general evaluation has been made and it has been very positive, reaching my best ranking for two weeks in a row, winning my best matches, my first ATP semi, regularity in performance. There have been many good things.
— Your physical trainer told me about the great preseason they did…
It has been a month-long preseason and he has made himself noticed on the pitch. That is one of the key points in modern tennis, the physical issue. Since 2000 I haven’t had a preseason like this, although it wasn’t so good that time. In 2021 I couldn’t come to Buenos Aires due to the pandemic and the one in 2022 was short. This 2023 has been quite good, with enough rest time and training to perform at my best.
— What does Chuky Junqueira tell you?
He is super happy. What I have been achieving is important because it is not a job from this preseason, it is a job from a couple of years with him. It seems important to me to respect the moments and know that everyone has their moment of maturation and it will take as long as it has to take. That has been respected by me, by Chuky, by the team. They know what it’s like to work long term.
— Are you talking to Juan Pablo about the past? To the one who had a bad time in Barcelona, who had a bad 2020
I don’t know whether to speak to you directly, but I do think a lot about the stages I went through. There were many good ones, there were bad moments. But everything is a matter of learning and that makes the player that I am now.
— Were you frustrated by waiting?
On the one hand, perhaps one wants to get into the Top 100 at 20 years old, play the tournaments that I am now beginning to play all my life, but hey… The truth is that the sacrifice has been worth it. The patience has paid off. I try to enjoy the moment and not think about what I think is not so good. Everyone has their time and the time is now. Get top 100 in August, do my semi. Everything happens for a reason and as I always say, you have the ranking you deserve. At that time I didn’t deserve the top 100 for something, others were better than me or I wasn’t so regular.
— How do you face an ATP tour now?
It’s completely different. First is going to tournaments that you think will go well for him, where he feels comfortable. Knowing that I am entering this new level, which is not so common, although I have already played some ATP, but it is not that I have much regularity. Knowing that maybe I’m not going to do well like in the Challenger, because it’s the reality. There are players who are better at that moment or with more experience and maybe I’m going to lose more than I’m going to win. But it’s being patient, knowing how to put together the tours, being responsible with that. Knowing that each game is worth more because it gives more points, trying to go game by game without projecting much because that can take its toll.
— And now it’s your turn to face top-level rivals
It is a very great motivation. It’s a nice motivation to play these tournaments that I usually saw on TV. You have to be as professional as possible because each time the details for which you win are less. Try to be responsible and face each game with the importance it deserves.
— How do you take debuting in a Masters 1000 tournament?
Happy to start playing this type of tournament. These days of training for the Masters 1000 and the European tour have been very good for me. I am very happy to try to play the best role possible and know that I am there for a reason, they did not give it to me. And believe that I am capable and that I deserve to be there.
— And you have done well in terms of performance in the top tournaments
In the big tournaments it is where I have done the best at the level of regularity. I take it as a challenge, as a way of measuring myself against the top of current tennis. It is a good thermometer to show me what level I am at.
— Why didn’t you compete in the Challenger in Santiago? Those points would have allowed you to be higher in the ranking.
You have to think big. If you have the opportunity for these types of tournaments, you have to prepare them well because in the end the year is long. You have to choose when to stop training and preparing and when to compete. Competing because yes is not right. I had a good tour with many games and if I have to train well, it’s an investment for what’s to come.
— And the investment is towards Roland Garros…
The most important tournament is Roland Garros. The idea is to get as good as possible. With the points I have now I already entered, even though I don’t add up from here until the closing of the draw. In that sense I am calm, but I try to go week by week, I do not project more.
— You said that you like to put Peruvian tennis in the big tournaments, but today Peruvian tennis is practically your
For one, I don’t think much of this. It motivates me to show my country in tournaments, I try to be responsible for that, to be professional, a correct person and to be a good example.
— And there are guys like Gonzalo Bueno, Ignacio Buse, Lucciana Pérez…
It is important that they continue training as they did in the Davis Cup [Bueno y Buse]. I think they are three young people who in the future are going to give a lot to talk about.
— And they have a referent, something that you did not have at the time
It’s key to have a reference, that’s why I try to be a good example, so that when they see me they not only see me as a tennis player but also as a good person.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.