Andreas Vinceguerra & Gustavo Kuerten
Jonas Bjorkman & Andre Sa
Mats Wilander & Ricardo Acioly
Kuerten Looks to Shine in Brazilian Colours
Former world No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten is looking to lead Brazil to its first away victory since 1999, when the team takes on a below strength Sweden in the first round of the 2003 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas at the Idrottens Hus in Helsingborg, starting Friday.
Kuerten will be dressed in the Brazilian colours of yellow and green when he takes the court in Friday’s opening singles against Andreas Vinciguerra, who will be playing only his second live rubber for Sweden.
Kuerten will be followed by his compatriot Andre Sa, who will take on Sweden’s No. 1 singles player Jonas Bjorkman. Kuerten and Sa will team up for Saturday’s doubles against Bjorkman and Magnus Larsson, while Sunday’s reverse singles see Kuerten face Bjorkman, followed by Sa versus Vinciguerra.
Kuerten's specially-designed Davis Cup kit was made by his Brazilian clothing sponsor, Olympikus. Kuerten will be dressed in a complete Brazilian uniform with "Brasil" inscribed on the back of his shirt.
"It is a real Brazilian uniform," Kuerten said. "I really liked it when they first showed it to me by the end of last year and I think it will be great to enter the court, to play Sweden, wearing the colours of Brazil. This is Davis Cup, pride of playing for your country, team spirit and finding a way to overcome the difficulties."
Brazil will be looking to end a three-match losing streak away from home that has included defeats by Australia in Brisbane, France in Pau and the Czech Republic in last year’s first round in Ostrava. Kuerten and Sa are joined by teammates Flavio Saretta and Ricardo Mello, who have put in long practise sessions on the carpet courts at the Idrottens Hus.
Kuerten is confident that the Brazil can shrug of its reputation as a one-surface team. “I worked very hard with my coach Larri Passos in Florianopolis last week," he said. "We practised on an indoor synthetic grass court and I feel ready to try to surprise them.”
Mats Wilander, Sweden’s new Davis Cup Captain, has been unable to field the two players who combined to upset Great Britain 3-2 in Birmingham in the first round last year. Former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson is sidelined with a knee injury, while Thomas Enqvist was named in the four-man team, but is unable to take part this weekend.
Kuerten added: “Sweden is a country with a big tradition in tennis and in Davis Cup. When I was growing up Borg and Wilander were my idols and the tennis they played is something everyone should try to play like. But our team has grown a lot and in Davis Cup every player becomes dangerous."