Carlitos Gracida is happy. Not only because he won the World Cup, but also because of how he won it. "Tommy Collingwood and I have been friends for many years, I can't even remember when we played our first match together, and we really wanted to play it. Tommy had played it last year with Palm Beach Illustrated, along with Santi Torres, Jared Zenni and Agustín Obregón. Santi couldn't make it this year, so we set off to find young players who were also good people. Peco Polledo and Juan Monteverde agreed to join us soon after," he told CLICKPOLOUSA.
-What was the road to the title like?
"We started behind in the first few matches. We gave Coca Cola 14 goals, and we only won 17-16 because the girls were very good and were very well mounted, they managed to score twice on us and it made it very difficult. In the semis, we started three behind GSA and won 9-7. In the final it was the other way around, because Grand Champions had 4 more goals."
-How was the final itself?
"We had a good start, although we missed a few goals that would've made it easier. They made good use of their chances, especially when we fouled. JuanMa Nero is amazing, when he had the ball we were desperate to take it away from him."
"Playing against Nero is a personal test to know where I stand"
-What did it mean to score the goal that meant the title?
"It was amazing. We were exhausted, but when Tommy hit it long I ran for it without a doubt. I had Nero in front of me, and he's the best back in the world, but I still tried to play it. Having won that fight against him for the ball and then scoring was incredible because it proved that we are on the right track. Playing against him was a personal test, to get a better standing on how we are doing. We are the next generation, look out, we're coming!"
-What's your calendar like now?
"I'll be playing in Grand Champions in May, I've been playing with Mark and Melissa Ganzi for 6 years and I'm very thankful because they opened the doors to high goal polo in Florida for me. In June I'll be playing in England, and then I'll stop by Mexico to check on my new mares. After that, I'll head over to Aspen, which is growing quite nicely. I hope my children can play over there in the Summer. In October and November, I'll return to Grand Champions."
-What did you feel like when you saw that Grand Champions held the Carlos Gracida Cup?
"I'm very thankful for the recognition the world of polo has with for my father, all around the world, not just in the US. Thanks to that, his fighting spirit lives on through us. I'm trying to leave my own mark in the world of polo now, following his example.