Guga's Last Tango in Paris [Archive] -

Guga's Last Tango in Paris

Sizzling Safin
05-19-2008, 10:32 AM

Thanks for the memories Guga

:worship: :bowdown: :crying2: :hearts: :hug: :bigclap: :kiss:

05-21-2008, 10:40 AM
Guga set for emotional Paris farewell
Gustavo Kuerten

As Rafael Nadal starts his bid for a fourth straight French Open title next week, Roland Garros will also be losing one of its greatest champions.

Three-time champion Gustavo Kuerten will end his decade-long love affair with Paris as he will call a painful end to his 14-year professional career.

Kuerten's troublesome hip has limited his playing time and he has been restricted to just nine matches in the last three years.

With his 32nd birthday approaching and his current 1,140th ranking in the world, the Brazilian has finally decided he has had enough.

Kuerten was given a wild card entry into this year's tournament by the French Tennis Federation last week. He will make his final appearance at Roland Garros, the place where he claimed his only majors in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

After a long and painful battle with his chronic hip injury, Kuerten finally succumbed to the retirement decision. He announced earlier this year he would quit the sport after the French Open.

Because of the injuries that required operations in 2002 and 2004, Kuerten is only playing a limited schedule on the ATP Tour.

Because he hasn't played enough over the last 18 months or so, he is having to rely on wild cards to enter events so that he can play his favourite tournaments one last time before retiring.

Guga as he affectionately known, began his farewell tour at an event in Brazil where he lost in the first round to Carlos Berlocq of Argentina. The next stop was at the Masters Series tournament in Miami where he lost to Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, also in the first round.

Kuerten managed to win the opening match against compatriot Franco Ferreiro in his hometown tournament in Florianopolis but went out in the second round to Carlos Salamanca of Colombia. At the Monte Carlos Masters last month he was beaten by Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic in the first round. The muscle injury also kept him out of what would have been his penultimate event in Barcelona the following week.Kuerten is truly one of a kind because of his natural talent. He is one of the most charismatic champions and was always a joy to watch. A character like his in the game of tennis is a rarity.

I can still remember him coming out of nowhere to win the Roland Garros in 1997. He defeated two-time Sergi Bruguera of Spain in the final that year and since then I have followed the South American as a fan.

In the late 90s Kuerten was the unrivalled master of European red clay exactly the same way as Nadal is at the moment.

In 2000, Kuerten became world number one and the first South American in the ATP rankings history to finish the year on top.

Over the last couple of years, it's been painful hearing about his physical problems, and I've missed watching him. Not only for his beautiful clay game, but just for the fun of seeing him as a player.

Who could forget when Kuerten famously carved out a giant heart in the clay with the tip of his racket moments after he beat Alex Corretja to win his third Roland Garros title. He did exactly the same when he survived a match point against a qualifier in the round of 16 and Kuerten knelt inside the heart he drew.

That was probably the most creative way to declare your love for the arena and the tournament and what a way to express your appreciation for the fans who had supported him.

The draw for this year's French Open is yet to be made but I hope Kuerten's match would be put on the Philippe Chatrier Centre Court, the venue we witnessed so many of his memorable triumphs in the French capital.

Barring any sort of miracle, there's a good chance that Kuerten may take a pasting in Paris. By his own admission, Guga now couldn't even finish a match without feeling pain in his body. The hip could flare up any time during a match, so it basically means that Kuerten will have to go through a torture session on the court to complete his final challenge.

Hopefully his body could hold up for at least one or two more matches before it's all over. Kuerten deserves his one last standing ovation from the adoring Paris crowd and his fans deserve a chance to officially say farewell to one of their most-beloved champions.


05-21-2008, 11:00 AM
So the time has come to say good bye to Guga :sad: It will be interesting to see whether German Eurosport will decide to broadcast his last match in Roland Garros and I get the chance to see him once more on the television.
Unfortunately he still suffers from pain and therefore I think it's highly unlikely to expect him to win a match.
I just hope he will be given the opportunity to play on the Center Court and that as many people as possible get the chance to see him play :) I expect them to give Guga a tremendous support and probably Guga will get very emotional already in the match, not to mention of course his reaction afterwards. He will surely cry - and so will I :awww: - and he may draw another heart in the clay.

It hurts to see Guga being forced to retire with all his healthy problems. He had a great career, but it's so sad how much it had been overshadowed by his injuries. But the person he is he made the best out of the situation and I can just respect him more for this :)

Allez á Paris Guga! Bonne chance! We will be with you when you play your last official match and you will be in our hearts forever. You have given us so many wonderful moments with your great tennis, commendable behaviour on and off the court and we can only thank you for all those memories :) :hug: :worship:

Sizzling Safin
05-21-2008, 04:56 PM
I'm hoping they'll show it on British Eurosport too. The annoying thing is that they haven't got the multiscreen option, so you can't choose which match you want to watch. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I'd hate to miss it. :sobbing:


05-21-2008, 09:34 PM
Will RG start play on Sunday this year? They may put him on Centre Court :awww: I don't remember in Miami but both Indian Wells 2007 and Monte Carlo this year put him on Centre Court

05-21-2008, 09:46 PM
Yes, it starts on Sunday, Lee :)

05-21-2008, 10:19 PM
Thanks Re :hug:

05-21-2008, 10:27 PM
Will RG start play on Sunday this year? They may put him on Centre Court :awww: I don't remember in Miami but both Indian Wells 2007 and Monte Carlo this year put him on Centre Court

I'd be totally shocked if Guga is not on Chatrier. He practised on it today :)

05-21-2008, 11:05 PM
I'd be totally shocked if Guga is not on Chatrier. He practised on it today :)

If Guga plays or Sunday or Monday, I may very likely miss him :bigcry: It's long weekend here and my family may be out of town. :(

05-21-2008, 11:06 PM
Lee :hug:

05-22-2008, 06:33 PM
Kuerten in final curtain call
By Allan Kelly
AFP Published:May 22, 2008
Kuerten was the first Brazilian male to win a major title

PARIS — Rafael Nadal may well be on his way to becoming the greatest player ever on the claycourts of Roland Garros but he will likely never be held in more affection than the soon-to-be retired Gustavo Kuerten.

The already popular Brazilian forever won the hearts of an adoring Paris public for a spontaneous gesture at the end of an extraordinary fourth round tie against American Michael Russell in 2001.

Two sets and match point down and apparently about to ingloriously lose the title he had won for the second time the previous year, Kuerten dug deep, clawed his way back into the match and, with the centre crowd noisily behind him, eventually triumphed.

At the end he sunk to his knees and traced a huge heart with his racket on the dusty, red clay to dedicate his win to the fans in the stands.

A week later, “Guga", as he came to be known, repeated the touching gesture after the final in which he beat Alex Corretja in four sets and again the crowd went wild.

Recalling his emotions after the win over Russell, Kuerten said: “I experienced something incredible that day.

“I could feel the fans behind me and there was a synergy between us. It was a magic moment — I’ve never felt anything quite like that."

Kuerten had exploded onto the Paris tennis scene four years earlier when as an unknown 20-year-old, ranked 66th in the world, he became the first Brazilian male to win a Grand Slam title.

In so doing he defeated along the way three former champions — Thomas Muster, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and in the final Sergi Bruguera.

More than the victory itself though it was the flamboyant manner in which he played and his obvious warm connection with the fans that caught the eye.

Dressed in Brazilian football colours and with a samba-band pounding out support, Kuerten, who wore his heart on his sleeve on the court, was a refreshing change from the dour grinders of the game like previous winners Bruguera, Kafelnikov and Muster who had dominated during the 1990s.

He broke into the world 10, but with a big wind-up on either flank usually found it tougher to compete with the best on the faster surfaces.

Wimbledon in particular was a problem despite a quarter-final appearance in 1999.

The following year, however, was probably the best of Kuerten’s career.

He won his second French Open title in a tough four-setter against Magnus Norman and then went on to finish the year as world No.1, the first South American to achieve such a feat and the first non-US player in eight years.

To reach that pinnacle he did what many people thought he was incapable of — beating Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in successive matches in an indoor carpet court in Lisbon at the season-closing Masters.

His pulsating win at Roland Garros six months later put him alongside greats such as Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander with three or more French Open titles in the Open era, but already the efforts were taking a toll on his body.

He won the Brazil Open on home turf at the start of 2004, and stunned the emerging Roger Federer with a straight sets win in the third round of the French Open, but after losing to David Nalbandian in the last eight, the pain in his hips became too great and he announced he was taking indefinite time off for a medical operation.

Kuerten was never the same again.

He attempted several comebacks and even split with longtime coach Larri Passos (they were later reunited) in an effort to turn the tide, but each time the hip pain came back and he was forced to retreat to his beloved home base of Florianopolis in southern Brazil.

Having played just nine matches on tour in the last three years and with his 32nd birthday approaching and with a ranking at 1,145 in the world, the Brazilian decided early this year that he had had enough.

Kuerten decided on a farewell tour taking in venues close to his heart like Florianopolis, Miami, Monte Carlo and with a final curtain call at his home away from home — Roland Garros — where organisers were only too delighted to accord him a wildcard.

It only remains to be seen whether his final bow will take place on the Philippe Chatrier Court, the stage that hosted his greatest triumphs, and if so whether he will pour his heart out once again.


05-22-2008, 06:36 PM

Sizzling Safin
05-25-2008, 12:02 PM
From the RG website today:


BTW: Here in the UK they're showing Andy Murray's match instead of Guga's, I'm so p****d off. :mad:

05-25-2008, 01:49 PM
Guga wears the same shirt (design) he won his first RG title to the court and I can't hold back my tears.

05-25-2008, 01:59 PM
They dont broadcast it in Poland neither!
They interrupted French Open to show Giro d'Italia for about next 90 minutes! Who cares about cycling???
So unfair... :(((((
Shame on Polish EUROSPORT!

05-25-2008, 02:03 PM
Who's that idiot calling foot fault on Guga? Worth the booooooo from the crowd. :haha:

05-25-2008, 02:07 PM
I know :haha:

This is so sad :tears:

Sizzling Safin
05-25-2008, 02:14 PM
Who's that idiot calling foot fault on Guga? Worth the booooooo from the crowd. :haha:


I'm listening on RG Radio... can't see him :mad: :mad: :shout:

05-25-2008, 03:11 PM
I am glad that Guga put up a respectable scoreline. :worship:

05-25-2008, 03:18 PM
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: gugita!!!

05-25-2008, 03:34 PM
His smile brings tears back to my eyes. He's obviously in pain, the trainer was out after 2nd set and he still manages all those beautiful smiles on court. :bigcry:

05-25-2008, 03:37 PM

05-25-2008, 03:45 PM
Thanks for all the memories Guga! :tears: :tears: :tears: :tears:

05-25-2008, 04:00 PM

Sizzling Safin
05-25-2008, 04:08 PM
143237 143238 143239 143240

Sorry about the watermarks, if anyone can get them without.... :hug: :kiss:

Sizzling Safin
05-25-2008, 04:33 PM

143248 143249 143250 :sad: 143251 :sad: 143252 143253

05-25-2008, 04:35 PM
Thanks! :tears:

05-25-2008, 04:35 PM


thanks for waking up my love for this sport.
thx for bringing smile to tennis and to my life.
thx for having been with us, your fans, for all these years...


GUGA 4EVER:wavey:

p.s. it will never be the same without you :crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2:

05-25-2008, 07:08 PM
Unfortunately German Eurosport switched to cycling after the Gremelmayr-Djokovic match and I couldn't find a working livestream for Gugas match. Therefore I went outside to enjoy the weather and when I came back and turned on the tv Guga was in the 3rd set.

It was so wonderful to see the atmosphere out there :) Guga enjoyed the moment and you could really see the joy on his face, as much as the pain unfortunately. The crowd had a great time and got to see some great tennis.

To be honest I didn't cried during the match and his speech afterwards. Somehow I was happy for Guga that he could end his career on this court and feel the support and love of the French crowd one more time :)

I feel emotional now, but mostly because of all the memories to Guga's unique career. He has given us so much over the last years and it is sad that his career has been so overshadowed by injuries, but he is a personality who could handle the situation and make the best out of his life. I wish him all the best for his future - he has deserved it :hug:

05-25-2008, 07:14 PM
Q. Normally the crowd should have been supporting you because we're in Paris. We heard a few, Paul, Paul, but even the French were shouting name of Guga. How did you experience this?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Oh, fine. Even I would have shouted Guga if I had been able to do that. (laughter.) He's a legend of tennis. He is part of the history of Roland Garros. He won three times, and it's quite normal.

Q. Would you say that this was one of the most emotional matches in your career?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Yes. It was very special. At one stage I felt I was playing a final game ‑‑ a match in a final, because the crowd was there and there was a beautiful atmosphere and everybody was shouting, Guga.

It's true that a game like this, a match like this, you play it once in your career and that's it.

05-25-2008, 07:22 PM
Bruised Kuerten has fun at his last French Open
Sun May 25, 2008
By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Gustavo Kuerten said he had enjoyed himself on Centre Court despite the pain and the 6-3 6-4 6-2 first-round defeat by Paul-Henri Mathieu at his last French Open singles match on Sunday.

The Brazilian, who won the claycourt grand slam in 1997, 2000 and 2001, received treatment on a sore back at the end of the second set but managed some broad smiles before bowing out and bursting into tears.

"I thought I played much better than I expected. There wasn't a single shot that I didn't make," the 31-year-old told a news conference.

"I think I was able to do what I used to do in the past, too. Not with the same frequency but at least I had the feeling of doing it once more. I felt myself competitive sometimes, and liked this."

Kuerten had dropped to 1,141st in the world rankings because of a series of hip injuries but decided to go on a farewell tour that started in Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil, in February.

"The first stage of my career was very successful and I was able to achieve all the goals...Then the second part was really tough", he said.

"But that's the way tennis is. One day it's also going to end for (Rafael) Nadal, (Roger) Federer, (Novak) Djokovic."

Kuerten added there would be another chance to watch him at Roland Garros as he was scheduled to play doubles with France's Sebastien Grosjean.

"I didn't know because he was injured but I think he has confirmed now," he said. "I think it will be just some extra fun", he added.

Mathieu described the match against the darling of the Paris crowd as special.

"It was his last match and I'm happy that we managed some nice points," the Frenchman said. "It's not the ideal situation, when you step on to the court and you know you're going to win.

"It is hard to stay focused. I've tried to play the game so that he could enjoy his last match," the 18th seed added.

"I will play only one match like this in my career."


05-25-2008, 09:28 PM
Guga bids a champion’s goodbye

Sunday, May 25, 2008
By Matthew Cronin

There may never be another player like the three-time French Open champion who sambaed his way to titles in 1997, 2000 and 2001 behind long, colourful and devastating strokes. He stunned the world back in 1997 when he came into the tournament as a virtual unknown ranked No.66, flew past Austrian strongman and 1995 champion Tomas Muster, 1996 Roland Garros winner Yevgeny Kafelnikov and two-time winner Sergi Bruguera. He was a true artist, owning one of the best one-handed crosscourt backhands ever seen and a gorgeous, hard-to-read backhand down the line. He had a whippy forehand, a hard, flat serve and vicious kicker to the deuce court, as well as a deft touch at the net and the ability to caress an impossible drop shot at a moment's notice.

He trusted his money shots at key moments and always seemed to be brimming with joy. His matches were long celebration of his love of the sport.

Kuerten certainly had his ups-and-downs during his prime, but at Roland Garros, he was a player apart. When asked what tennis meant to him, Guga went deep. “I guess big knowledge,” he said. “All these years I've been learning a lot, and especially these last three or four years that I have to deal with difficult situations. So I had to grow as a person, too. I guess my world started to get larger because of tennis and the success I had. My life just became something much larger than normal people’s. I think I was able to adapt myself pretty well. I was happy being successful, so basically tennis, it was running into my veins, into my blood. I love to be out there and playing. For me, this tournament especially was probably the motivation for myself, probably my heart that keeps the blood flowing.”

On Philippe Chatrier, Guga did a sprite better than Andy Warhol and with his, happy colorful play on the red clay, was no Pablo Picasso during his blue period. It seemed like anytime that he was down, Guga either willed his opponent into an error or came up with a leaping winner. "There is always doubt," he once said. "It can be a temple, but it can be a hole, too. You see yourself in the best and the worst situations."

Kuerten repeated in 2000 by pummeling upstart Juan Carlos Ferrero in the semis and the tough Magnus Norman in the final and became the first South American to end the year at No.1.

In 2001, Kuerten came back from the jaws of defeat when he saved a match point against the ambitious qualifier Michael Russell. Then Kafelnikov predicted he would push him, but the Russian went down 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. "It's difficult playing from behind against Gustavo," said a dejected Kafelnikov. "You give him freedom, he's like Picasso....Every time I run into Kuerten, it seems like that hurdle is unmakeable."

Before his masterpiece final round defeat of Spaniard Alex Corretja, Guga said that if he won, he would not just buy Russell of poster of Vincent van Gogh's "Night Stars" – he would approach the Louvre for the painting itself. "I think Russell deserves a real Van Gogh from me as a present," Kuerten said with a twinkle in his eye.

At the time, that crown meant that Guga joined legends Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander (Hall of Famers all) as the only players to win three singles French titles in the Open era. He danced with Brazilian fans after the win.

Until three-time champion Rafael Nadal came along, it seemed that no player had a better understanding of the confines at Avenue Gordon Bennett than the Kuerten. "When I'm playing my best, I know I can beat these guys. When I'm feeling the ball real well, it's really tough for the guy to come up with the right shots.”

Sadly, Kuerten never raised the trophy again as he was hit by one significant injury after another, most specifically to his hip, for which he underwent surgery twice, His many comeback attempts were mostly aborted and this year, he announced that 2008 Roland Garros would be his last Grand Slam appearance. Even though it might have been a more reasonable idea for him to retire a couple of years ago, he truly loved his sport. "It's what I like," he said. "It's enthusiasm. It's danger. It's the nerves of out there. It's everything I want it to be when I am on court."

Kuerten tried as hard as he could against Mathieu, but his best is no longer good enough to score wins. His hip prevents him from running hard to his right and if it were not for an outstanding serving day and some memorable backhands, he would have been out of the match more quickly as his forehand let him down time and time again.

But there was still a bit of the old magic for fans to get a taste of, like when he hit a forehand passing shot out of nowhere when facing his first match point. But on Mathieu's second match point, a Kuerten drop shot fell sadly into the net. Guga beamed to the adoring crowd for a few moments, but then sat down a cried hard.

He lit up again when French Tennis Federation president Christian Bimes presented with a special gift, the multiple layers of the “Court Central” encased in glass.

“Basically I'm lucky,” said Kuerten. “One stage of my career was very successful, and I was able to get all the goals that I could. Then the second part was really tough. But in the same way, for me it was important to live these years, to grow as a person, to understand what it is to have other things to deal with. There's no regrets at all.” Au revoir Guga…


05-25-2008, 09:34 PM

Haile Selassie
05-25-2008, 10:00 PM
So sad he left us :tears:

05-25-2008, 11:45 PM
:lol: Doris, we picked the same pic for our avy.

OK, I will pick another one ;)

05-25-2008, 11:45 PM
I think Paul shedded a few tears himself after the match. :awww:

05-25-2008, 11:46 PM
Thank you for all Guga !!!!

05-25-2008, 11:46 PM
I think Paul shedded a few tears himself after the match. :awww:

I think too. :)

05-26-2008, 12:20 AM
He did, Lee. :awww:

05-26-2008, 12:37 AM
Re, everytime I see your siggy, my eyes are flooded. :tears:

05-26-2008, 12:49 AM
I know :awww: :awww: :hug: :tears: But I had to do it :tears:

05-26-2008, 01:11 AM
I know :awww: :awww: :hug: :tears: But I had to do it :tears:

:hug: :hug: :hug:

05-27-2008, 12:25 AM
:awww: :sad:

05-27-2008, 04:09 PM
Three-time champion Gustavo Kuerten's career ended with a straight-sets loss to Paul-Henri Mathieu in Paris.

The Brazilian former world number one lost 6-3 6-4 6-2 to bring to an end a glittering career.

The 31-year-old has played only sparingly since undergoing hip surgery in 2004.
However, he was handed a wildcard for the French Open, where he won the title in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

"It's incredible how fast it all went," said Kuerten, who won 20 titles in his 14-year career.

"It was always going to be sooner or later it's going to finish for me. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, everybody, one day it's going to stop.

"It has been my life, my passion, my love at Roland Garros."

Djokovic, who was the warm-up act to Kuerten's farewell, said: "I don't know even one guy who says something bad about him."


05-27-2008, 04:15 PM
Kuerten bids an aching au revoir to Paris
Those searching for a last glimpse of vintage Gustavo Kuerten did not stroll away entirely unsatisfied on the first day of the French Open.

When he shuffled onto center court in his familiar, disjointed amble to begin his farewell tournament with a first-round match against Paul-Henri Mathieu on Sunday, Kuerten was sporting the same upbeat canary yellow and blue colors he did when he emerged from very close to nowhere in 1997 to win his first tour title of any sort at Roland Garros.

Once he and Mathieu took to the clay in earnest, there was the low moan that Kuerten has always emitted as he swings through his serve and groundstrokes. There was the same bobble-headed fashion to patrol the baseline between points, even the occasional elastic one-handed backhand that soared down the line like an improbably guided missile for a winner.

But the bittersweet truth was that the essential was still missing, just as it has been for the nearly five seasons since Kuerten's fragile hip began making tennis more pain than pleasure: a cruel twist for someone who made his name and fan base by providing a surplus of good vibrations to his public, particularly his French and Brazilian publics.

There were some stirring moments in this 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 loss to Mathieu. Kuerten hardly embarrassed himself and played much better than he had in the earlier stops on his farewell tour in Miami and Monte Carlo. But this encounter, which he insisted was the last of his career in singles, never quite turned the corner from feeling like an exhibition to feeling like a Grand Slam match.
"Of course it wasn't easy, because I sensed that I was going to win, so it was tough to stay concentrated," said Mathieu, an 18th-seeded Frenchman. "You start imagining the end. But I think he played a few beautiful points so I hope he was happy."

Kuerten, who won the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001 , has not been a threat to win again since 2004, when he knocked off Roger Federer on his way to the quarterfinals.

And the only reason for this final appearance at age 31 was that he wanted, in his own words, the luxury of "one more little pleasure": a chance to commune with the overstuffed tennis stadium and dusty rectangle that made a skinny Brazilian kid from Florianopolis into an icon.

Did he get what he came for, despite the tears that he shed into his towel after his last backhand, a drop shot, had hit the net?

"I think I'm very satisfied, especially with the memories that are going to stick with me from this match," Kuerten said. "I thought I played much better than I expected, and there wasn't a single shot I didn't make. I played forehand, backhands, serve, drop shots, volley. I did everything I think I was able to do in the past, just not with the same frequency. But at least I had the feeling to do it once more."
Kuerten no longer needs to keep searching for improvement on the world's tennis courts. But he had pushed himself particularly hard in the weeks leading up to his last Roland Garros, training with longtime coach Larri Passos.
He could still serve convincingly, still hit a world-class backhand if the opportunity did not come too early in a rally. But he still could not manage to win a set. His lateral movement was not what it used to be and neither was his consistency, particularly off the forehand wing.

But Kuerten said that he wouldn't remember the errors from Sunday. He will remember the atmosphere: the standing ovation he received as he walked on, the Brazilian flags that were being waved, the chants of his nickname "Guga" that sometimes greeted his winners and even his struggles.

This particular tournament is really like home for me," he said.

Trailing 2-5 in the final set with the end hardly in doubt, the crowd started a wave on the changeover, and Kuerten, grinning, got in the spirit and walked over to Mathieu in his chair and jokingly put the throat of his racket in front of the Frenchman's neck as if to strangle him.

It was not quite as transcendent a gesture as the heart he drew in the clay after saving two match points and winning his fourth-round match against Michael Russell here in 2001. But Mathieu and the crowd took it in the lighthearted spirit in which it was intended.

And it was soon, very soon, time to say farewell in earnest: time for the tears, time for Christian Bimes, the president of the French Tennis Federation who once criticized Kuerten's sartorial selections, to warmly award him a final prize in the form of a cross-section of a clay court and point him in the direction of the photographers.

Not many first-round losers get a trophy in tennis, but then not many players win a Grand Slam title when they are unknown and ranked just 66 in the world and eventually rise all the way to number one.

"One stage of my career was very successful, and I was able to get all the goals that I could, then the second part was really tough," Kuerten said. "But in the same way, it was important to live these years, to grow as a person, to understand what it is to have other things to deal with. So I guess, like that, for me there's no regrets at all, just big knowledge."

Source: International Herald Tribune

Sizzling Safin
05-27-2008, 08:31 PM
Wonderful article, thank you tifosa :crying2:

05-27-2008, 10:15 PM
Wonderful article, thank you tifosa :crying2:

no probs hun!
its really touching though

btw im so sad too
and already miss him so so much!

and i hate POLISH EUROSPORT ;):wavey:

05-28-2008, 12:23 AM

05-28-2008, 05:25 PM
Kuerten Call

By Mike McIntyre
May 27th, 2008

Please welcome Tennis Diary’s newest contributor, Mike McIntyre. Mike is a 28 year old from Ontario, Canada. An avid tennis fan since watching Becker vs Edberg as a child with his father on TV, Mike enjoys the personalities of the game as much as the skill that they play it with. Contributing to his own blog at, he is very much looking forward to writing a regular Tuesday column on Tennis Diary.

Right back where all the magic began for him eleven years ago, Gustavo Kuerten retired from professional tennis on Sunday after a first round loss to Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. Dressed one last time in bright blue and yellow, with a familiar frizzy brown mop, the man they call Guga stepped away from the sport he left such mark on. Hampered by a right hip injury that would never heal, Kuerten’s swan song at the French Open has been expected for some time. He came to Paris not with the illusion of making one last run at the title, but rather to say “adieu” to the crowd that embraced him all those years ago when he hoisted his first of three Grand Slam titles on the red clay of Roland Garros.

Coming into this very tournament in 1997, nobody expected the 66th ranked Kuerten to rise to such heights. In fact, he almost never made it to the finish line that year, pushed to five sets in three matches in a row against higher ranked clay court veterans by the names of Muster, Medvedev and Kafelnikov. Then to top it all off with an exclamation mark he defeated two-time French Open champ Sergi Brugera.

Not being satisfied with his one Grand Slam title, Kuerten repeated that brilliance in 2000 and 2001 with back to back titles again in Paris. With those accomplishments he joined such greats as Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander as the only open-era players to win Roland Garros more than twice.

He would prove to be more than just a star on the Grand Slam stage, by winning five Masters Series titles (four on clay, one on hard court) and taking the season ending Tennis Masters Cup in 2000 to cement his place as the year end number one player in the world, and the first South American player ever to attain the pinnacle of the sport.

His win at the Tennis Masters Cup that year took everyone by surprise, including two gentlemen by the names of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Although he was in the thick of the race for the number one ranking throughout the season, Kuerten had not yet won a big hard court title. He was also coming in as the underdog, having to win the entire event to finish the season as number one. After making it to the semi finals, Kuerten gave Sampras a lesson at his own game. He out-aced Sampras, and passed him with his wicked one hand backhand on many approaches the American made at the net. He broke Sampras at 4-4 in the third and final set, then aced him on match point to advance to the finals the very next day. Once there, he dispatched of Agassi in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to win the title and the number one ranking. He also became the first player to defeat both Sampras and Agassi back to back in the semi finals and finals of a tournament.

One more major tournament victory that stands out above some of the others for Kuerten, was his first hard court Masters Series title in Cincinnati during the summer of 2001. En route to the title, he defeated in the following order, Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, Goran Ivanisevic, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Tim Henman and Pat Rafter in the finals! How often does a player have to face that many top opponents in one tournament?

Not only a hero for his native Brazil on the court, Kuerten also contributed greatly off the court as well. In August 2000 he launched the Institute Guga Kuerten, to help the handicapped and also promote the development of children through involvement in sports. To date the foundation has raised over $2 million. In 2003, he was the ATP’s recipient of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award.

Kuerten’s relatively short career was derailed with an injury to his right hip that first required surgery in February 2002. In 2004 he required another surgery to the same hip and was limited to only 36 matches. In 2005, that total dipped to 16 matches. Kuerten was never able to get healthy enough for serious competition again, and in 2006 played only a single match and in 2007 played in only 9 matches. Who knows what further accomplishments he could have attained if he had been able to properly regain his explosive form.

One aspect of Gustavo Kuerten that injuries could not curtail, was his contagious and exuberant personality and joie de vivre. Almost always smiling off the court, Kuerten was one of the rare players to also exude that enthusiasm on it as well. Who can forget the massive heart he drew with his racquet in the clay at Roland Garros in 2001 after fighting back from match point against Michael Russell in the fourth round? After a career filled with twenty titles, three Grand Slams, and countless other accomplishments, it is moments like that we will always remember and cherish him for. As Gustavo Kuerten retires from professional tennis, we all wish him as much happiness in the future as he has brought to us in the past.


05-28-2008, 05:28 PM
This tall, skinny Brazilian never lost his passion for tennis

By By Paola Suárez
May 27, 2008, 12:19 PM ET

BUENOS AIRES -- Is there anyone reading this column who doesn't know one of those people everyone loves?

They are few indeed, but every once in a while we bump into those well-respected and adored characters: Friends, co-workers, family … In the tennis world, there is one name for such a person: Gustavo Kuerten.

Apart from being one of the best Latin American tennis players in history, Guga is a man who charmed us all: teammates, adversaries, journalists and everyone who had the chance to meet him.

Guga's romance with the game started in Florianapolis, where one day he had to choose between his surfboard and his tennis racket. A wise choice he made, since he charmed his whole country and become a national icon.

I first saw Guga when I was 16 years old. We both played in a South American junior tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. Back then, we were just a bunch of kids who shared the dream of someday becoming pro tennis players.

There were no certainties: No one could assure us that we would become important personalities in the tennis world or that we could ever live off the sport. We all had some kind of talent for the game and we all felt we had a future, but at the end of the day we were kids who played tennis.

In that same tournament, among many others, there was a tall, skinny Brazilian whose head moved when he walked. We all called him Periscope. We all liked him for his sympathy and sense of humor. Ever since he was a kid, he was one of the most charismatic players of his generation.

Years went by and the garoto would grow up to become a man and a tennis wonder. He won Roland Garros three times and was No. 1 in the world. What else could I tell you about his career that you don't already know?

But you know what? The best part wasn't his tennis achievements or his unforgettable passing shots. The best part is that Guga never stopped being that teenager who made us laugh so hard and who shared so much love wherever he went.

The WTA and ATP circuits can be very competitive environments, where you get the strange feeling that the person with whom you get to share the table one day will be your rival the next day. Guga probably was the pioneer in the tour to demonstrate that you could live in peace with this apparent contradiction and he never perceived anyone as his enemy.

That allowed him to face the best tennis players in the world in endless tours, while enjoying a parallel life in which he always had time for his hobbies. It wasn't strange to see him, once the action of the day was over, singing with his guitar in his hotel room surrounded by teammates. True, the outcome of the day could have been glorious for some and sad for others. The difference with Guga was that once tennis was over, we were all winners.

In the so-called players' lounge there are people everyone stares at and in general that is because they are the best in the world. Guga was one of them, but he also added the human quality factor. Because of this, I am pretty sure he will be remembered not only as a No. 1 but as one of the most respected and loved characters in the history of the sport.

With his humbleness and sympathy, he was an example for all of us. He never walked past a person without greeting him or her, whether it was the director of the tournament or a club employee. With his eternal smile and a "Bom dia," Gustavo Kuerten made many friends.

Last Sunday in Paris, people had the privilege of seeing him retire from the sport in the same place where he started to write down history. He lost against Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, showing glimpses of his tennis despite playing with a bad hip.

It was at Roland Garros where he became famous in 1997 when he captured his first Grand Slam title and made his Brazilian people proud. It was his last time in the Phillipe Chatrier court, and he said goodbye to a sport that was his life. He also said goodbye to his fans, his colleagues and his glory days.

But that same heart that he one day drew on a clay court with his racket, will live forever in the memory of those of us who love the sport.

Former WTA tennis player Paola Suárez, who retired in September 2007, writes about tennis for ESPNDeportes.


05-28-2008, 05:31 PM

05-28-2008, 05:31 PM
A great champ takes a Kuerten call

Gustavo Kuerten won three French Open singles titles (1997, 2001 and 2001)
The Brazilian retired Sunday after his first-round loss to Paul-Henri Mathieu
The free-spirited "Guga" will be remembered for his warm personality
Curly-coiffed Brazilian native Gustavo Kuerten won three French Open singles titles during his decorated career.
Bob Martin/SI

PARIS -- Gustavo Kuerten, one of the great champions of the last decade and a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, played his last match Sunday, retiring following his first-round French Open loss to Paul-Henri Mathieu.

The three-time French Open champion battled severe injuries in the latter stages of his career, including severe degeneration in his hip, but the former world No. 1 leaves behind a legacy which far exceeds his on-court success.

Known affectionately as "Guga," Kuerten ignited tennis in South America while becoming a cult hero in his native Brazil. Guga was that rare champion who reached the pinnacle of his career while also maintaining a relaxed lifestyle and approachable personality off the court. He will be remembered for his curly locks and smiles almost as much as for his wins at Roland Garros in 1997, 2000 and '01.

The timeline of my junior and professional career mirrored Guga's and I can attest he's one of the humblest and kindest people I have ever met. One of my fondest memories came after I upset him in the first round of Wimbledon in '97, just two weeks after his French Open win. Amidst all the excitement and fanfare surrounding him, Kuerten still sought me out for a few kind words, wishing me luck in the rest of the event.

Guga will also be remembered as the first elite player to find success with the now-ubiquitous Luxilon synthetic string, which afforded him the ability to hit with heavy topspin a few years prior to his peers. His success with Luxilon prompted more players to switch to the string. He ushered in this era in which ground strokes dominate and serve-and-volley tennis has become virtually extinct.

Guga was his usual upbeat and optimistic self following Sunday's 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 loss: "I felt good on the court. I was able to hit all the shots I used to, but not with the same frequency because of my physical liabilities. Overall, I was happy with my play, I got a chance to play on my favorite court one more time and I am very thankful for everything that happened to me in my career. The last few years have been difficult with my injuries and my desire to get back on the court, but it enabled me to learn so much and grow as a person. It forced me to get a life outside of tennis and that will make it easier for me to adapt now that I am retiring."

When pressed on his favorite memory over the years at Roland Garros, Guga was unable to pinpoint just one: "I was so lucky. I had so many. The first time I drew the heart in the court was my most intense memory and today will stick with me forever. This tournament is home for me and I always had a great connection with the crowd."

When asked what he will miss most about his life in tennis, Guga pointed to the thrill and intensity of competition. "I will miss the matches, the joy of playing big points, these are feelings you can only get in sports. But I am looking forward to my next life. I am a big icon in Brazil and will devote a lot of time to my foundation and helping others through my notoriety."

Guga always had his priorities right. He loves surfing, spending time with his friends and helping others. He is a champion in every sense of the word.

Former ATP pro Justin Gimelstob will write periodically for from Roland Garros during the French Open.


05-28-2008, 05:32 PM
Guga's Goodbye

by Steve Flink

The last couple of years have been immensely painful for the best male tennis player ever to come out of Brazil. Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten has not been able to solve the riddle of a deteriorating body. The burden of a bad hip has been impossible for this resolute man to overcome, and so it was a wise move for Kuerten to make the 2008 French Open the site of his farewell to the majors. In many ways, it was Roland Garros that launched his illustrious career.

I wish I could have been present to watch him play Paul-Henri Mathieu in person, but I did have the chance to see his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 loss on television. Facing the No. 18 seed, Kuerten played reasonably well, but it was unmistakably apparent that he is no longer even close to being what he once was. His mobility was very limited. He could not force the issue off the forehand as once was his custom, and too often he was caught on his back foot by the depth of Mathieu's returns. Guga did string together some impressive patches. After being thoroughly outplayed in the opening set, he battled back gamely in the second.

In that chapter, Mathieu was up a break, serving at 4-3, seemingly in utter control. He reached 30-30, and then the 31-year-old Brazilian suddenly turned the clock back many years. He broke back for 4-4 with a pair of vintage backhand down the line winners. But that flicker of genius did not last. Mathieu is a seasoned veteran who knows how to navigate his way through matches against renowned adversaries. In 2002 at the Hamlet Cup on Long Island, he became the last player ever to beat Pete Sampras at an official ATP Tour Event. In this case, he was not going to panic, even if he was facing a three time French Open victor.

Mathieu quietly collected eight of the last ten games to gain a well deserved win. And then a dignified ceremony was held to honor an individual who had become a heroic figure on those grounds. The way Kuerten was greeted by the appreciative fans was a large testament to the wisdom of his decision to announce in advance that this would be it for him at the world's premier clay court event. He left on his own terms with his own inimitable style and charisma.

And he leaves behind a cavalcade of vivid memories for all of us. In 1997, Kuerten was ranked No. 66 in the world coming into Roland Garros. He had never won a tournament of any kind in the big leagues of his sport. Kuerten proceeded to defeat 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster, 1999 finalist Andrei Medvedev, and defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov in five set clashes. That took him into the final round against two-time former titlist Sergi Bruguera. Kuerten took apart Bruguera 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to walk away with the crown.

Kuerten needed time to adjust to his newfound status as a Grand Slam tournament champion. He finished 1998 at No. 23 in the world, and failed to advance beyond the second round of all four majors. The following year, Kuerten made significant progress, reaching the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Upon the conclusion of that season, he found himself ranked No. 5 in the world. And yet, his best was yet to come.

In 2000, Kuerten celebrated the greatest season of his career. He won the French Open for the second time. In the second half of that year, Marat Safin improved by leaps and bounds, winning the U.S. Open, and concluding that season with seven singles championships in his possession. Safin seemed almost certain to finish that year as the world's No. 1 ranked player. He reached the semifinals of the season ending Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon. The only way Kuerten could take that commendable honor of concluding the year at No. 1 away from the swashbuckling Russian was to defeat Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi back to back in the penultimate and final rounds.

Improbably, Kuerten did just that. He rallied tenaciously against Sampras, winning that battle 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4. Buoyant and immensely confident after achieving his first win over Sampras, Kuerten played stupendously to oust Agassi 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 and seal the No. 1 ranking. He had earned that distinction by managing to overcome his two estimable rivals on successive days indoors on hard courts, where both presumably had a big advantage over the Brazilian. Kuerten had demonstrated in the process that he was much more than a towering clay court player.

In 2001, Kuerten captured his third French Open title, garnered six tournament wins across the year, and finished at No. 2 in the world behind Lleyton Hewitt. In the summer of that year, he upended Patrick Rafter to take the Masters Series title in Cincinnati on hard courts. It seemed entirely possible that Kuerten might back up that considerable triumph by winning the U.S. Open, but, hindered by an injury, he lost to Kafelnikov in the quarters at Flushing Meadows. He was never really the same formidable player again as his body gradually wore down and his heart could not make up the deficit.

But Kuerten did celebrate one more proud moment at Roland Garros, cutting down world No. 1 Roger Federer in the third round 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on his way to the quarterfinals in 2004. In any case, after losing in the second round of the 2005 U.S. Open, Kuerten did not compete again at the majors until he showed up at Roland Garros this time around. Be that as it may, I will always carry around in my mind's eye the image of Kuerten conducting business in his prime. His most majestic stroke was, of course, his one-handed topspin backhand.

No one could hit that shot quite like Guga. He had the grace and fluidity of Stefan Edberg off that side. It was the stroke that defined his greatness. He could roll it with heavy topspin or flatten it out with equal facility. But Kuerten's forehand was a serious weapon as well, and his first serve was highly under-rated. I always loved his ability to hit the flat delivery wide to the backhand in the advantage court; few right-handers hit that serve as accurately and deceptively as Kuerten.

Above all else, Kuerten was an artist, one of the game's most remarkable personalities, a champion of multi-faceted moods who explored the boundaries of his emotions and took his audiences along with him for the compelling ride. Since Open Tennis started in 1968, few have done more than Kuerten at Roland Garros. Bjorn Borg, of course, holds the men's record with six titles. But Kuerten is in a second place tie with three French Open titles, sharing that status at the moment with Rafael Nadal, Mats Wilander, and Ivan Lendl. In my view, only Borg and Nadal have been better clay court players. Kuerten could have held his own with Wilander and Lendl; he was that good, and his talent ran that deep.

To be sure, Gustavo Kuerten's legacy is prodigious. I will miss watching him brighten the landscape of the sport with his extraordinary creativity. I regret that his time as a top flight performer has come and gone. The game is losing a man who was larger than the sum of his achievements.

05-28-2008, 06:11 PM

05-30-2008, 02:05 PM
Very nice articles.
I saw most of the 2nd set and the whole 3rd set. It had been ages since Guga could be seen playing on TV. It was nice and sweet and also very sad because I will miss him so much. There were some glimpses of his enormous talent.
There will never be another player like him, he is unique.

05-30-2008, 03:36 PM
Guga is playing with Grosjean in doubles now. :bounce:

05-30-2008, 03:59 PM
Guga is playing with Grosjean in doubles now. :bounce:

I love your avatar, Lee. There is no smile more beautiful than Guga's. That smile is so contagious and is probably able to make a rock melt.

05-30-2008, 05:39 PM
They lost 7-5 3-6 1-6 :sad:

Sizzling Safin
05-30-2008, 06:09 PM

Sizzling Safin
05-30-2008, 06:15 PM
From the doubles match with Grosjean today


05-30-2008, 08:38 PM
what a pity!
they were doing quite well, esp. in the 1st set. :(

Sizzling Safin - thx for the pic! it's good to see guga again.
now its his last pic from RG

05-31-2008, 07:37 PM
There's a nice vid about Guga on the RG site, if you just click on Dip&co (presented by Arnaud Di Pasquale)showing some of his practice with Seb and some interviews :sad:

05-31-2008, 10:22 PM
There's a nice vid about Guga on the RG site, if you just click on Dip&co (presented by Arnaud Di Pasquale)showing some of his practice with Seb and some interviews :sad:

awesome vid!
thank u so much elessar...

btw is there any way to save this video?

06-01-2008, 12:47 AM
You're welcome ;)

There should be a way to save it, I'll try something and hopefully I'll upload it on megaupload:scratch:

EDIT : seems to be working, I'll upload it now

06-01-2008, 01:02 AM
Okay here's the link, let me know if there's any problem with it ;)

06-01-2008, 11:59 AM
Okay here's the link, let me know if there's any problem with it ;)

wow wow wow
you are an angel!!!!
thank you very much!!!!:worship::worship::worship:

06-01-2008, 01:53 PM
awesome vid!
thank u so much elessar...

btw is there any way to save this video?

With the latest version of Real Player I can download video from RG's site.

06-01-2008, 04:35 PM
With the latest version of Real Player I can download video from RG's site.

what is your version of Real Player, Lee?

anyway thanks to elessar I downloaded this video from megaupload :)

thx for your answer

06-01-2008, 07:32 PM
What a lovely clip :inlove: This smile is so unique :hearts:

Have a look at the Prix Orange page. You can find a clip about Guga there as well. He received a trophy for his fair play on tour :)

06-01-2008, 10:39 PM
what is your version of Real Player, Lee?

anyway thanks to elessar I downloaded this video from megaupload :)

thx for your answer

I don't know :lol: I have my new laptop so I went to real player's site to download the software to view videos from Then I discovered that I can download some videos (especially those in RG's site) with one click

Sizzling Safin
06-30-2008, 11:16 PM
Pics from the Champions ceremony which took place before the men's Final:

Awwww :angel:

BTW, I love Yannick's pink stripy pants :haha: