THE MUSTER HUNTER
Shocking news from Roland Garros are that Gustavo Kuerten, our Guga, got a spectacular win over Thomas Muster, one of the best clay court players these days. Can we dream higher? The way Guga is playing, yes!
To the ones who didn´t see the match, I´ll tell you one point, happened in the middle of the second set (which Guga won 6/1). After yet another one of the humiliating drop-shots from the “evil” Kuerten (and they were about ten during the match), Thomas Muster shouted, in german:
- But what the hell is this? I´m playing my best tennis and this kid is killing me. Who is him? A genious?
Embarassed, the austrian and german reporters translated the outburst to the brazilians. They didn´t seem to believe what they were seeing either.
After the defeat, Muster was the first to recognize Guga´s merits. In the press conference, surprisingly calm, Muster said he did the best he could, but Kuerten, who he had never seen play, was too much.
- If he keeps on playing like that, I have no doubt he will be soon among the best of the world. I didn´t lose the match, he won it.
For the first time invited to the big conference room of Roland Garros, Kuerten had to tell segments of his life story to curious foreign reporters. One of the funniest questions came from an austrian:
- What makes a brazilian kid play tennis instead of soccer? Wouldn´t it be normal if you were Ronaldo´s partner?
Guga laughed a lot, and was great in the outcome:
- It wouldn´t be a bad idea. The problem is that I´m not friends with big balls. I tried soccer and basketball, but I could only make it work in tennis – he explained.
Many people asked if Guga wasn´t expecting now to get as big money as Ronaldo. Once again, he laughed:
- Who am I? In tennis, I think only Pete (Sampras) can get so big money.
Yesterday´s win garantees Guga a minimum prize money of US$109,4 thousand.
As soon as the match with Muster was finished, Guga ran to the stands and had a long hug with his brother Rafael – who came to Paris especially to see him play.
- This win is yours, it´s yours! – he repeated many times, touched.
Explaining: Rafael, two years older than Guga, used to play tennis as well in Florianopolis (the city where they all live). With the dad´s death, he became the “family man” and abandoned the idea of becoming a pro, so then Guga could follow that path.
Rafael is still a tennis instructor in Florianopolis.
Aldo Kuerten, Guga´s and Rafael´s father, died of a heart attack on a tennis court. He was seeing a match, with neither of his children in it, felt ill and died while getting examined in the hospital. Guga was 9, and Rafael, 11.
Larri Passos, Kuerten´s coach, says that Aldo, just sometime before he died, had asked him to coach Guga:
- By that time, I told him it was too early. When Guga turned 13, then I came to him and told him his father´s request. We are together since then. It´s already been seven years of work.
Who inspired Guga in tennis? Koch, Mandarino, Kirmayr, Mattar? The question came from a spanish reporter during the press conference after the match:
- I came to the conclusion I wanted to be a pro just after I watched that Davis Cup in which Brazil took Germany out and Italy and reached the semifinals. I loved to see Jaiminho (Jaime Oncins) play. I tried to use him as a role model for everything. He was my idol – said Guga, who also told us he expects his win yesterday would pump up some kids to pay tennis:
- Unfortunately, in Brazil, only victories and some carreers work as an incentive to the kids. The Tennis Federation doesn´t help in anything. Sometimes it even makes it more difficult.
Kuerten, Meligeni and Oncins didn´t receive 2/3 of the prize for the last Davis Cup matchup.
The scout from the Kuerten vs Muster match bring some interesting information. For example, Guga had 83 unforced errors, while Muster had 48. However, he scored 51 winners (36 forehand, 15 backhand), against Muster´s 32 (18 forehand, 14 backhand). Gustavo served for 14 aces, while Muster did 3. Guga had 173 total points. Muster had 163.
Today, Guga and Meligeni go back to the court for the doubles tournament. They will face the americans R. Leach and J. Stark
wooden jesus, can i be saved? i spent all my money on a future grave.. ill cut you in on 20% of my future sins..
'97 ROLAND GARROS, '98 Stuttgart, '98 Mallorca, '99 MONTE CARLO, '99 ROMA, '00 Santiago, '00 HAMBURG, '00 ROLAND GARROS, '00 Indianapolis, '00 MASTERS CUP LISBOA, '01 Buenos Aires, '01 Acapulco, '01 MONTE CARLO, '01 ROLAND GARROS, '01 Stuttgart, '01 CINCINNATI, '02 Costa do Sauipe, '03 Auckland, '03 St. Petersburg, '04 Costa do Sauipe.