Jose Luis Clerc is synonymous with tennis for Argentine sport. Although he shared most of his career with Guillermo Vilas, the immense figure of willy failed to outshine the magnificent achievements he achieved Sweet potato that are still significant today. To the 63 yearslocated in the list of the most outstanding tennis players in history and fulfilling his role as a television commentator, the winner of 25 ATP titles spoke with an open heart about his life.
Among the various topics he reviewed in an interview with Everything happenswhich is issued by Urban PlayClerc gave details of the violent robbery he suffered in 2018 at his house in Olivos, spoke of his fight and reconciliation with Vilas and was honest about the mental health problems he suffered for almost two decades.
“There were three guys inside my house and I kept looking at them… One of them grabbed the prickly pear and smashed it into my head, he hit me”recalled that distressing event that surprised him one afternoon when three men entered his house and kidnapped him along with his little daughter and the girl’s friends.
With the 25 titles he won in his individual career – he also reached 10 finals – he is the second Argentine tennis player with the most awards behind Guillermo Vilas (62) and ahead of Juan Martín del Potro (22). In addition, he reached 4th place in the world ranking and led Argentina to play the first Davis Cup final in its history (defeat in 1981 against the United States).
THE PHRASES OF SWEET POTATO CLERC
• The violent robbery in his house: “They hit me, they punished me, they hit me. It’s terrible. They intimidate you, you have no reaction. My daughter was with a friend. ‘Come up, lie face down’. The balls! I never threw myself face down because I wanted to see the girls. Two entered the dressing room, the other was with the weapon showing it there. I have a little daughter, Sofi was 9 years old. Me telling the girls: ‘Don’t worry, they’re my friends’. The boys don’t believe you, they catch everything on the fly, but what was I going to tell them. It was really hard. I had a very good reaction from the Police, but I ate it. I was really calm, the one above enlightened me. At one point they told me give me everything or I’ll take your daughter and then: ‘Don’t worry, look, everything has to be in there, they told me where the things are, where the money is, where the jewels are. I always cold. These are moments where one has to be very calm. I don’t even want to imagine if they were going to grab any of the girls, there she did jump ”.
• The intelligence they did to rob you: “For me it was an eternity that never ended. There was another car outside waiting for them. The curious thing about all this is that I was cutting the grass alone at home, my wife had left with her brother. I have cameras everywhere in my house and now more and more, security and everything. Thanks to the cameras they identified the jets. The cameras looked how they were looking at me. They saw when I went out to take out the garbage, they were in the car outside. You see all of this on camera. Suddenly I bring the girls some tea and when I come back I look up and see three guys in my house. They had entered with a key. You must ask yourself: How did they get in with a key? They entered with a key. They did a tremendous investigation to the woman who had worked until three days ago, that she had retired. So the suspicion was her but it wasn’t her… You never know all these things. They are prisoners, luckily. They say it was a band dedicated to this. I don’t know how they did it, they had gotten into a house in the North Zone by San Isidro or Martínez exactly the same as in my house.
• The violence of the act and the identification of the thieves: “There were three guys inside my house and I stayed like that looking at them. One of them grabbed the prickly pear and smashed it into my head. He came in to hit me. He scared me. He told me I went up, who’s there. ‘The girls are here, my daughter is here, what this, what the other, they are hard of hearing, they don’t listen, please’. They don’t even give you five balls. What the prosecutor told me is that you have to understand that when these people get into the house they are willing to do anything, they are gambling. I got it inside everything cheap. One of them, who was the brother-in-law of the one who intimidated me, the one who hit me, had raped a guy inside the prison. Those were the kids who were in my house! Then go to recognize them… he My voice still trembles. The lawyer who was defending one of them told me: how do you know? I got goosebumps, I told him.”
• The other two violent robberies suffered: “They did the same thing to me that they had done to me in La Horqueta many years ago. I was playing in Australia with Guillermo (Vilas) that we were going to train. I call home and the employee tells me are you okay? She passed me on to my ex and she started to explain it to me. I stayed hard, I couldn’t train, I couldn’t do anything. All he wanted was to go home. They had put a prickly pear on my oldest son’s head, it was very hard. I did not live that. I lived the one before this one that was stolen from me: we are going to the US Open with my current wife and she tells me why you entered the locker room and broke a board. No, I haven’t gone into the locker room yet. She immediately told me she was robbed and had been a custodian of the country. People think that these things don’t happen to you. They were very tough.”
• Your mental health problems: “Speaking of anxiety, I can give classes to anyone. I had panic attacks for 16 years after I stopped playing tennis. I took it as a life lesson. I didn’t know what everyday life was like, what we have today. My coach caught me with tachycardia (Duck Rodríguez) was gone, it was my ground wire. I snuggled into it. He was my friend, my father, my manager, my coach, everything. So I started with a very large tachycardia. When the head has nothing to think about, you’re at the divine button, the head thinks too much, that’s what happened to me. I had panic attacks for 16 years.
• Times when you thought about suicide: “These are difficult moments when one says ‘I’m going to commit suicide’. I couldn’t see my children. I thought I was going to do something to them. I took it as a life lesson. In the United States I met a psychiatrist who gave me medicine and I said there is another life. I couldn’t even water a plant. Today I am a happy guy cutting the grass, watering it, talking to you.”
• The problems behind your panic attacks: “If I had to leave here and go to the bathroom, I had to say who could come with me. I needed the company all the time, 24 hours. I always had to have someone by my side to be my support in case something happened to me. What is anxiety? It is death. That’s what’s going on in your head. And nothing happens, absolutely nothing. They are all ideas. And the ideas when you do something crazy you don’t think about them, you do them. It is a life lesson and if it works for these people who are listening to you, I send you my solidarity, my affection, my love, not to worry, to relax, to let the flow flow, they are just thoughts”.
• His criticism of the documentary about Guillermo Vilas and the link with the former tennis player: “I didn’t see the documentary. That was not Vilas’s documentary, it was the documentary about which he made the documentary. I don’t need to interfere or say anything. I miss Guillermo very much, I love him, I adore him. I had a lot of fight with him. I made friends with my daughter, Sofi. Life often puts these things on the table for you. Sofi is hard of hearing, she is a happy girl who listens perfectly, who speaks perfectly and he helped me. The gesture surprised me because we did not speak to each other, we were very much at odds. I didn’t even want to see it. The jealousy of the competition, our coaches… I called him to tell him that she needed him, because the problem was more the school, where there are 77 boys with 45 teachers, it takes a lot of money to support themselves. I called him and told him that my wife was organizing an event. “Go”. I stayed frozen. What a pity (fighting), what an asshole, I say it now that it’s wrong because I would like to be next to him. It excites me because Guillermo Vilas is part of my life. He is the brother I never had or had and he left very quickly. I love it, I want it. How many stupid things that many times when one is involved in a sport as competitive as tennis… It is a hunchbacked sport. When you are lucky enough to be so high, you are very involved in your own thing. Don’t look sideways.”
The Buenos Aires Suicide Assistance Center attends to anyone in crisis on the free lines 135 from Buenos Aires and GBA or +54-11 5275-1135 24 hours a day. There is also the Center for Attention to Family Suicide (CAFS): Tel. (011) 4758-2554 (email@example.com – www.familiardesuicida.com.ar).
In the United States, there is the National Suicide Prevention Network to ask for help; you can call 1-888-628-9454 or 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Service hotline, to speak with someone who will give you free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week of the week. The CDC also recommends its own prevention policies, programs, and practices.
In Mexico, the National System of Support, Psychological Counseling and Crisis Intervention by Telephone (SAPTEL) offers telephone attention 24 hours a day at the number: 0155 5259-8121. In the United States, you can dial +1-888-628-9454.