Courtside: Massimo Fila
Our blog event devoted to interviews is back with an exceptional guest: Massimo Fila, direct heir to the family that gave birth to our history. From echoes of the past to hopes for the future, here’s what he told us.
One of the main goals of the museum is to create a ‘habitat’, a comfortable dimension that welcomes and helps visitors feel at home. For Massimo Fila such dynamics emerge in a peculiar way everytime he’s back to our Foundation: that’s inevitable, since each room displays events that are linked to his personal life. Son of Giovanni Fila, chief executive officer of the Maglificio Biellese F.lli Fila – MABY, he witnessed with enthusiasm the creation of the incredible team organized by Enrico Frachey, with whom the FILA SPORT adventure took place. Massimo often comes to visit us, also to involve us in new projects. We turned one of his most recent visits into a real interview: here’s how it went!
How do you feel in seeing your surname related to one of the most famous sportswear brands in the world?
MASSIMO FILA: I have felt proud since the times everything started. I also feel grateful towards Gene Yoon, who gave new life to the brand when it was languishing in 2007. My gratitude is total and disinterested.
What is your first memory of FILA SPORT?
MF: I remember that one day my father came back home with two quadrangular stickers: one of them had a WHITE LINE writing on, the other one presented the F-BOX logo. I sticked them on the car I drove when I went to the university, a Porsche Volkswagen one, and I rid down by the streets, proud of the newborn brand.
What about your favorite athletes? You might have met many…
MF: Björn Borg! I met him at the International Championships in 1976, I was still attending the university. During that period, according to some rumors, Adriano Panatta would have left the company by the end of the year – curiosity and concern filled the air. Anyway, people were talking about a beginner, a Swedish guy that was in town in those days: Borg! I immediately went to meet him – his hair was long and he trained by continuously throwing tennis balls against a wall. Gianni Fantini, an important member of the team, got close and gave him a FILA t-shirt he istantly wore saying ‘thank you, thank you!’. At the end of the year Panatta left us and Borg was hired, starting the era we all know.
I have to admit that I have a lot of good memories related to the FILA athletes: Panatta and Bertolucci, after taking over the Davis Cup, came to visit the company and celebrated with a lunch at my place, in the countryside of Biella. Bertolucci and his family, that run a Tennis Club in Rome, regularly came to visit us in Forte dei Marmi too, where we usually spent our Summer holidays. I would also like to pay homage to Guillermo Vilas and his congeniality. He once told my father: ‘no soy un atleta, soy un poeta!’ (‘I’m not an athlete, I’m a poet!’).
Since 2010 Fondazione FILA Museum has been working in an active way for the safeguard of the brand’s historical memory, and for the developing of the new collections as well. What do you think of the project and its evolving?
MF: The Foundation works in a fantastic way and its well-curated museum is wonderful: it could not be better than that!
In the year of its 110th anniversary, it is now clear that the FILA history has to be written yet, and will reflect the modern era more and more. What do you wish for the brand’s future?
MF: 110 years more, I would say!
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