Guga Withdraws From Miami; Soderling Steps In
By Tennis Week
A recurrence of his chronic hip pain has forced former No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten to withdraw from next week's Nasdaq-100 Open on Key Biscayne and Brazil's Davis Cup tie against host Ecuador set for April 7-9th. The 2000 Key Biscayne runner-up to Pete Sampras, Kuerten is considering his competitive future in the aftermath of this latest setback.
"I don't feel well enough yet to play competitively," Kuerten said. "Lots of aspects have improved in the past few months, but I must find more stability."
Sweden's Robin Soderling steps in for Kuerten as a Key Biscayne wild card recipient.
The three-time French Open champion underwent his second arthroscopic surgery on his hip on September 21st, 2004 at the Center of Sports Medicine in Pittsburgh. Bone spurs blocking Kuerten's hip movement were removed and the anterior capsule of the hip was tightened to strengthen the joint’s stability, however Kuerten has still been hampered by hip problems and has suggested he will consider calling it quits at the end of this year if he cannot fully regain his health.
The 274th-ranked Kuerten has been limited to one match on the ATP Tour this year, losing to 283rd-ranked compatriot Andre Ghem at last month's Costa Do Sauipe tournament in Brazil.
"I am sorry for my fans,"
Kuerten said. "I would like to thank Butch Buchholz and the NASDAQ-100 Open for giving me the wildcard, but it wouldn’t be fair to show up to play in such a great event if I am still not in my best shape. I wish the tournament all the best. I will miss the atmosphere, unique in Miami, since it is one of my favorite tournaments. I hope to make it back there next year."