PORTRAIT – Ranked handicap 7, the Argentinian will start the Polo Rider Cup as the best player of the tournament.
Juan Ruiz Guinazu, known as “Tito”, is an Argentinian player born in Manzanares, a small village of 6000 inhabitants 70 kilometers from Buenos Aires. At 28, he has already traveled the world to play polo, and finds himself on the Chantilly grounds to start the Polo Rider Cup, as the best player of the tournament (classified handicap 7).
Among the Ruiz Guinazu, polo is a family tradition. “My grandfather started polo, he taught it to my father, who then taught it to me”, explains Tito. He also modestly specifies that his father, Juan Ruiz Guinazu, “Played pretty well” (handicap 5 at the height of his career) and that, like him already, he had participated in competitions in Europe.
His younger brother, Hilario Ruiz Guinazu, also plays polo and, like Tito, he was able to participate in Abierto, the world’s largest competition played in Buenos Aires. In the family, we also find his cousins Tomas and Nicolas Ruiz Guinazu, professional polo players, and his uncle César Ruiz Guinazu, director of several tournaments and vice-president of the Spanish association of polo referees.
Yet well surrounded to develop his career, he finds that his sport is not popular enough in Argentina, compared to football, which forces him to pursue his career “a little alone ” in his corner. He recognizes, however, that polo is more popular at home than in France, and that there are more licensees there, even if according to him, French polo “grows” and “in a few years we could have the same figures“.
Younger, Tito had other ambitions. “When I was little, my dream was to become a professional footballer», He confides. Like many muchachos Argentines. He is a staunch supporter of River Plate, one of the clubs in the capital, “the biggest team” according to him. When his cousins prefer the nemesis Boca Juniors.
“Great athlete», He obviously ends up putting on polo, and teaches this Argentinian art to his two children. Today, he can no longer see himself doing anything other than polo and hopes to be able to continue playing for a while: “I still have quite a few years of competition left, and I think I will see it through to the end, because I still like it as much.
For the moment, he reconciles his family life and his life as a professional player which takes him to the four corners of the world: “After the Rider Cup, I will play in Saint-Tropez and I will come back to Chantilly for the French Open, which is also very important, but not at the end of the season.“He does not find his children until September once the season is over:”I try to get them to come with me to competitions, but it’s a bit complicated with school. They miss me a lot. “
Representative of the Empire Polo Club, a club in the Coachella Valley in California, on the occasion of the Polo Rider Cup, he played this season (between January and April 2021) in Pakistan. He is the best player in the competition, ranked handicap 7, on a scale of – 2 to 10. If he says he is “very happy»To be part of the Polo Rider Cup, “The most important cut so far”, he admits that “to be the best player in the competition, that adds a little pressure“. Arrived in Chantilly since May 5, he is “ready»And a “Hurry” to begin: “Me, I’m ready, I’ve prepared for, and when everyone is at their best, it will be even more exciting to go and play to win!”“