Inside Andres Gomez’ Treasure Room

In 1990, the Ecuadorian former professional tennis player shocked the world—and possibly himself—with a four-set win over heavy favorite Andre Agassi to win the French Open title. He became the first man or woman from Ecuador to win a major, and according to Agassi’s 2009 memoir, Open, it was one of the worst defeats of his life and he spent most of the match worried his wig would fall off. Here, in this piece from Issue No. 11, his countryman Vicente Muñoz recalls a visit to Gomez’s reliquary, filled with trophies, memorabilia, and hard-rock cassette mixtapes.

I’ve known Andres Gomez for most of my adult life. He’s a national hero in Ecuador, where I am from. I started training at his academy when I was 14 years old and stayed until I left for college in the U.S. in 2004. My brother was a very close friend of one of his sons, and I would often go to Gomez’s house to pick him up. His pack of dogs would bark as I pulled up. I was always curious about the house, but never actually got to go inside.

Gomez lives in a gated community in the Samborondon district of Guayaquil. His house was designed in a brutalist, postmodern style by his brother, who is an architect. When I returned to Guayaquil, we met in his trophy room on a humid and rainy morning in the summer of 2017.

Gomez let me browse his reliquary at my leisure. His drawers were filled with all kinds of memorabilia—photographs, music, trophies, player badges, magazines, tournament pamphlets. He said since he was always on the move, he sometimes had to leave his trophies behind. He collected tournament programs as souvenirs, but never archived them properly.

Andres is a rock-music enthusiast, and I found dozens of cassette tapes. While on tour he would make time to go see bands. He regrets not seeing Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour in Munich while he was in West Germany, but he was busy playing a final against Andre Agassi in Stuttgart that weekend in 1988. Gomez lost that match but won three of his five meetings with Agassi, including the 1990 Roland Garros final.

Despite having spent most of his life traveling and competing abroad, Gomez kept his roots in Ecuador, where he lives with his family. He runs the Gomez-Viver Academy at the Guayaquil Tennis Club in addition to being the tournament director for an ITF tournament and a Challenger series event. However, he never misses his yearly pilgrimage to Roland Garros, where, as a former singles and doubles champion, he is always a guest of honor.