From tennisweek http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennis...&bannerregion=
Guga Not Rushing Rehab
By Richard Pagliaro
A second arthroscopic hip surgery hasn't stopped Gustavo Kuerten from tournament play — but this tournament features splashes instead of shots and Guga has been watching rather than playing.
The three-time Roland Garros champion took time off from his ongoing physical therapy to take the recent Surfing World Championships Tournament in his hometown of Florianopolis, Brazil.
An avid surfer and fan of the sport, Kuerten chatted with his favorite surfer, Kelly Slater, and witnessed Andy Irons win his third WCT title.
"It is great to see all the best surfers in the world, here in my city," Kuerten said.
The Brazilian beach was a long way from the training table in Pittsburgh where Kuerten has been spending time rehabbing his hip. The former No. 1 underwent arthroscopic surgery on his hip on September 21st 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. Dr. Marc Philippon, a member of the surgical team that conducted the procedure, prescribed a rehab program that could span four to six months.
"The surgery was successful. We were able to remove all the injuries that were causing pain and blocking the movement," said Dr. Philippon.
Since the surgery, Kuerten has been splitting time between Philippon's Pittsburgh rehab center and his Florianopolis home. Late last month, Kuerten began walking without crutches and has recently increased his regiment of walking though he cannot run yet.
"I spend some weeks here and some weeks in the States, and everything is going fine," Kuerten said. "Once I got off the crutches, about 10 days ago, and started walking again I have been feeling much better. I am able to walk for some hours but I am still not running."
Kuerten is currently entering phase two of a three-phase rehab program for Kuerten. Phase one featured rest and light exercise to permit the tissues around the joint to heal. In the second phase, Guga will engage in a more rigorous, supervised exercise program in an effort to strengthen and stabilize the muscles around the hip. The third phase of rehab will prepare Kuerten for a return to competition.
Magnus Norman, Kuerten's opponent in the 2000 Roland Garros final, recently retired after spending recent years struggling with hip problems. While Norman's hip injury is thought to be more severe than Kuerten's, Guga is proceeding with caution and does not want to rush the rehab process and risk re-injury.
"I am not gonna rush anything. The doctors are happy with my progress, but it is a slow process," Kuerten said. "I am putting all my efforts into the rehab but I am also enjoying my time with my family and girlfriend (Leticia), and seeing some life outside the tennis tour, enjoying the trips without the rush of the tournaments. It is hard to put any dates or time to be competing again, but I will be back next year, very motivated and I should be ready and in shape to play Roland Garros and even the tournaments before."
When he's not relaxing watching surfers ride the waves, Kuerten spends some time surfing the 'Net. Guga was one of the first prominent players to recognize the power of a personal web site to reach tennis fans. Kuerten has maintained his official web site Guga.com since 1997 with the current format in place since 2000 and characterizes his official site as a "crucial" source of communication with his fans.
"I think it is something that has become very important," Kuerten told Tennis Week in a recent email interview. "Through the web site all the fans can be well informed of where I am, how I am playing, what I am doing when I am not competing, etc., and they can be sure it is official news, not rumors. Then, I get involved directly on recording some messages to the fans and giving ideas such as when I have to be off the tour for some weeks, to show how my physical therapy treatment was going to be like."
Kuerten has undergone two hip procedures in the past two and a half years.
On May 26th, 2002, Kuerten underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in Nashville and returned to tournament tennis two months later. Though he went on to win his first career title in Brazil on hard court in September of 2002, the man many players regard as the premier clay-court player of his generation has not surpassed the quarterfinals in nine Grand Slam events since his surgery. He has won three tournament titles — Auckland and St. Petersburg last year and his second career Costa Do Sauipe championship this year — in the past two years and was runner-up to Lleyton Hewitt in the 2003 Indian Wells final.
His best Grand Slam result since his initial surgery came last spring when the charismatic Kuerten beat top-ranked Roger Federer en route to the Roland Garros quarterfinals where he suffered a
2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(6) setback to David Nalbandian. In the aftermath of that match, Kuerten conceded he was not 100 percent healthy.
The gregarious Guga will be home throughout the rest of November, spending time with his family and friends, celebrating the birth of his niece Larissa (his brother Rafael’s daughter born last week) and his grandmother Olga Schloesser's 83rd birthday, before returning to Pittsburgh in December for more rehab. He plans to maintain his connection with fans through Guga.com.
"I really hope they have fun and that they can get a real idea of myself, of what I am doing, of my activities and that they can feel close to me," Kuerten told Tennis Week.