Originally written on Tennis Panorama  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Tennis_master_series_2761

Gustavo Kuerten known as “Guga” is a former No. 1 player from Brazil. Kuerten captured Roland Garros titles three times – in 1997, 2000 and 2001. He defeated Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals in all three years he won the French Open. This made his win even more remarkable since Kafelnikov was playing some of his best tennis. Kuerten also validated his three victories by beating two top ten players on his way to the title in all three events. So the road was not easy for Guga, who definitely showed amazing fortitude of character, a unique game with solid ground strokes and agility on the clay. After his victories, Kuerten not only left his tears on the court after  winning,  he also literally left a heart as well, drawing one on the red clay after his last match.

 

After claiming title in 1997, Kuerten suffered an early round defeat at Roland Garros in 1998, to a young, unkown player, Marat Safin. He felt the pressure of becoming an ambassador to tennis in Brazil. Lari Passos, his coach and mentor played a very important role on his victories as well. Passos used to get very emotional every time Kuerten stepped onto Phillip Chartrier courts.

 

If his battles on the courts of Roland Garros brought Kuerten praises, he received the same level of respect on his personal life. His father, who was an amateur tennis player, passed away when he was 8 years of age. One of his  brothers Guilherme, who had cerebral palsy, died in 2007.  His brother’s disability deeply touched Kuerten all his life. Kuerten gave his bother all his tournament trophies as well as donating money to charities which aided the fight against cerebral palsy. Kuerten opened the Institute Guga Kuerten to help the disabled.

In a reversal of fortune, Kuerten played his last match in RG in 2008 and lost to Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 – the same scores he won his first title at Roland Garros back in 1997. No doubt “Guga” has been one of the most loved tennis players, by players, media and fans all over the world. If we have to attach one word to “Guga” – greatness would fit him well.

With Brazil hosting both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Kuerten is lobbying for the ATP World Tour Finals to be held in Rio De Janeiro.

2012 has been a good year for Kuerten – he has become a father and will be inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 14 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Lucia Hoffman originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, covered the Brazil Open will be part of Tennis Panorama News’ coverage team at the Sony Ericsson Open beginning March 20, 2012.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wizards apologize for odd Black History Month tribute

Report: McCoy may want more money from Bills

Andre Johnson laughed upon hearing he wouldn't start

Brad Stevens: LeBron 'looks like the MVP to me'

Le'Veon Bell tees off on Mel Kiper Jr. over Twitter

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eagles ship LeSean McCoy to Bills for Kiko Alonso

Murray would reportedly give Cowboys hometown discount

Report: Giants ‘considering a run’ at Ndamukong Suh

Darnell Dockett reportedly visiting 49ers on Tuesday

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: ‘That’s bulls–t'

Hamels trade talk motivating Red Sox pitching staff

Columbus Zoo names newborn penguin after Ezekiel Elliott

Matt Barnes blasts NBA over James Harden suspension

Joe Rogan: Ronda Rousey could beat half the men

Bills tell C.J. Spiller he won't be re-signed

Ohio State self-reported funny NCAA violation

Lupul, Phaneuf, Cuthbert threaten lawsuit against TSN

Report: Adrian Peterson has trade list of five preferred teams

Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s homosexual 'lifestyle'

Trent Cole has ‘no respect’ for Eagles after release from team

Ronda Rousey lands free ticket to Pacquiao-Mayweather bout

Report: Celtics to pursue Love, Monroe and Gasol this summer

Trying to solve the Alex Guerrero problem

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.