The Heineken Open 2003 featuring the Vodafone singles and doubles has secured one of the biggest names in the sport. The 2000 year end world number one and 2001 year end number 2 who has won three French Open titles and over US$13 million in prizemoney, has confirmed his entry for the 2003 Heineken Open. Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten or Guga as his fans know him will make his first appearance in New Zealand at the Heineken Open in January 2003.
Tournament Director Graham Pearce said,” This is a huge coup for the Heineken Open. Having a player who is in the prime of his career and capable of beating anyone on the ATP tour cannot be understated. Kuerten performs exceptionally well on hard courts with 20 plus wins on hardcourts during 2001. To date he has appeared in 24 tournament finals winning 17 of them. These include three French Open’s, the 2000 Tennis Masters Cup and five Tennis Masters series events. He was the first South American to finish No.1 in the history of ATP Rankings. Kuerten has fully recovered from his early season injuries as was evidenced with his winning the 2002 Brazil Open in September followed by reaching the final in Lyon last month and the Paris Masters doubles final last week”.
2001 was the Brazilian’s best season with a career-high six titles, in eight finals, including his third French Open crown. He joined former greats Borg, Lendl and Wilander with three or more French titles in the Open era. He won Tennis Masters Series titles in Monte Carlo and Cincinnati and reached the final in Rome. He is ranked in the Top 5 in four serving categories, aces, break points saved, service games won and second serve points won.
Kuerten, 26, has dedicated his whole life to his father, Aldo, who died in 1985 while umpiring a junior tennis match. He has strong family ties and gives huge support to his younger brother, Guilheme, who is mentally handicapped. His mother, Alice, is president of Institute Guga Kuerten and his older brother, Rafael, looks after his business matters. In his spare time he is an avid surfer and names Costa Rica as his favourite surfing destination which may soon be replaced by Piha.
The Heineken Open featuring the Vodafone singles and doubles will be held at the ASB BANK Tennis Centre in Auckland from January 6-11, 2003.