Ignacio Buse, the player without a tonsil

“ Things happen for a reason” . Ignacio Buse repeated the concept several times. Although he is just 20 years old, he is developing the gift of wisdom. It couldn’t be otherwise: only a year ago he underwent a delicate operation on his tonsils. Alone, far from home. They found 18 centimeters of pus in his throat, when it is normal to have 2. Nine times as much. It wasn’t the only crucial step in the life of the 20-year-old Peruvian, former junior number 9 and current ATP number 315. Today he is well, he has just celebrated the best ranking and qualified for the main draw of the ASPRIA Tennis Cup – BCS Trophy (€74,825, clay) . At the end of a match interrupted by rain, he beat Riccardo Bonadio with a double 6-2. “ I didn’t know that Milan was his penultimate tournament – ​​he says – I had heard that 2024 would be his last season. He’s a really good player: when you face someone who shoots a one-handed backhand the tactic is different, but against him you can’t set up the game thinking about someone who has a normal shot .” Buse became famous in Peru four months ago when he won a sensational Davis Cup match in Chile against Nicolas Jarry. It wasn’t enough to reach the Davis Cup Finals (the Chileans prevailed in the last singles), but he launched a player – or rather, a character – with a great story to tell. “ In Santiago I demonstrated that I have a great level. That victory gave me the strength to believe in it more. Now I know I can be among the best. But I have to work hard to maintain it: I have achieved it, but I have to prove that I can stay there ”. Peru has a great tradition and has had champions such as Jaime Yzaga, Luis “Lucho” Horna (Davis’ current captain) and Pablo Arraya, but today – for the first time – it aims to build a movement. Buse is thrilled. “ Just a few days ago there was the first national conference for coaches. It is fundamental for the development of the little ones, whose growth depends on teaching methods. Currently the federation is in excellent hands, with president Mario Monroy who was a Davis Cup player, and Duilio Beretta (former ATP n.364, ed.) involved in the youth sector. I contributed by sending an emotional video to the kids. I am convinced that Peru will always have more players: we lacked professionalism, but we are not inferior to the others. Like any other country, we can have very good tennis players ”.


When he talks about it his eyes light up, and it couldn’t be otherwise. Buse is a surname that means a lot in Peru. The stadium in which the home Davis Cup matches are played ( “Today it is under renovation” ) is called “Estadio Hermanos Buse” in honor of Eduardo and Enrique Buse, Ignacio’s grandfather and uncle respectively. “ They were excellent players in the amateur era, they participated in the US Championships (ancestors of the US Open, ed.) because they were the best couple in South America. That’s why the stadium is named after them, and that’s where I won my first Davis singles. It’s always an honor to play, I have a special feeling. I would have liked to know my grandfather but his values ​​came through my father Hans, who became a tennis coach. By the way, tomorrow he arrives in Milan ”. Buse is a complete player, he knows how to be effective on all surfaces… But he first became a tennis player, and then a professional, a bit by chance. He could have been… a chef. “ Gaston Acurio, my mother’s brother, is a world-famous chef. He owns around sixty restaurants on every continent. I don’t know if there is one in Italy, but there is certainly one in France and Dubai… everywhere. As a child he was my point of reference because he is an extraordinary person and a great entrepreneur. It all started with my grandfather, capable of transmitting rare values, such as altruism and care for others. My parents tried to do the same to me. We don’t see each other as much as I would like, but we always meet during Christmas week. You know, Christmas is very important in Peru… Once he even came to Barcelona, ​​where I train and live ”. Legend has it that it was his uncle who advised “Nacho” against becoming a chef, because it was too tiring a job to compromise his quality of life. Better to hit balls on a tennis court.


His turn to pro was also a coincidence, as he had already signed with the University of Georgia Athletics , where he would study and participate in the NCAA championship. He had chosen it for the great tradition (John Isner grew up there) and for the references of coach Manny Diaz. But he never started… “ I don’t think what happened to me has ever happened to anyone. In 2019 I applied for a Green Card, in order to obtain residency in the United States. Typically such a process takes a year and a half. But then Covid arrived and everything slowed down. Time passed… and the visa never arrived. The deadline was August 2023, because I finished high school in December 2022 and was supposed to start college in nine months. Nothing to do, it didn’t arrive on time. It’s a shame because they had put together a team that was aiming to win the NCAA title. Besides me there were Alex Michelsen and Ethan Quinn . For one reason or another, none of the three could be there for this season (Alex because he entered the ATP top-100) and therefore they were forced to resort to recruiting. The Green Card arrived a few months ago, but by then it was gone. But I believe things happen for a reason. I stayed in Spain and I’m happy like that .” Buse trains at TEC Carles Ferrer Salat, there is a staff that takes care of him and a few weeks ago he had the chance to train with Denis Shapovalov.


A nice, cheerful boy with the potential to become a great character. Also because last year he lived an adventure bordering on the surreal. Maybe he didn’t risk dying, but the detail with which he tells it makes you understand how anxiously he lived it. ” I had a sore throat. I took antibiotics and it went away in three days. Four days later it came back again, so I took an even more powerful antibiotic. Hoping it would go away, I went to Colombia to play a Challenger. But on Friday night, two days before my debut, I had reached the point where not even saliva could pass through my throat. I could hardly breathe. I was alone, so I took a taxi to a clinic… and the doctors couldn’t believe what they saw: eighteen centimeters of pus had formed, when there shouldn’t be more than two. They operated on me urgently, I had to sign who knows how many papers, and I was alone. The doctor told me that there could be some risk because they didn’t know how much pus there was, and there could be complications if it reached the lungs. They made a 12-centimeter cut and luckily everything went well. I didn’t touch a racket for a month, for a couple of weeks I only ate ice cream because it was the only thing that passed… Today I’m without a tonsil and this experience has taught me something very important: it’s better to prevent than to complain .” His adventure will restart against Enrico Dalla Valle, with the aim of winning his first match in the main draw of a Challenger outside Europe. He deserves it.