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Old 05-27-2008, 08:31 PM   #46
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Wonderful article, thank you tifosa
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:15 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzling Safin View Post
Wonderful article, thank you tifosa
no probs hun!
its really touching though

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


and i hate POLISH EUROSPORT
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:23 AM   #48
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:25 PM   #49
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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 protennisfan.com, 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.

Source: http://mvn.com/tennis/2008/05/27/kuerten-call/
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #50
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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.

Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=3413665
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:31 PM   #51
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:31 PM   #52
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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 SI.com from Roland Garros during the French Open.

Source:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...en.retirement/
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:32 PM   #53
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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.

http://www.thetennischannel.com/news...px?newsid=4043
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:11 PM   #54
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:05 PM   #55
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Default Re: Guga's Last Tango in Paris

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.
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #56
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Guga is playing with Grosjean in doubles now.
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:59 PM   #57
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Quote:
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Guga is playing with Grosjean in doubles now.
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.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:39 PM   #58
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They lost 7-5 3-6 1-6
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:09 PM   #59
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:15 PM   #60
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From the doubles match with Grosjean today

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