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Sizzling Safin 05-19-2008 10:32 AM

Guga's Last Tango in Paris

Eden 05-21-2008 10:40 AM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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.


Eden 05-21-2008 11:00 AM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
1 Attachment(s)
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:

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Lee 05-21-2008 09:34 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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

Tytta!. 05-21-2008 09:46 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
Yes, it starts on Sunday, Lee :)

Lee 05-21-2008 10:19 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
Thanks Re :hug:

Labamba 05-21-2008 10:27 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris

Originally Posted by Lee (Post 7078084)
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 :)

Lee 05-21-2008 11:05 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris

Originally Posted by Labamba (Post 7078338)
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. :(

Tytta!. 05-21-2008 11:06 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
Lee :hug:

Eden 05-22-2008 06:33 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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.


Tytta!. 05-22-2008 06:36 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris

Sizzling Safin 05-25-2008 12:02 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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:

Lee 05-25-2008 01:49 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
Guga wears the same shirt (design) he won his first RG title to the court and I can't hold back my tears.

tifosa 05-25-2008 01:59 PM

Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris
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!

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