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- Pronounced: KEER-ten
- Age: 36 (10.09.1976)
- Birthplace: Florianopolis, Brazil
- Residence: Florianopolis, Brazil
- Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
- Weight: 183 lbs (83 kg)
- Plays: Right-handed
- Turned Pro: 1995
- Coach: Larri Passos
- Website: http://www.guga.com.br
As of 20.05.2013
*Singles & Doubles combined
*Singles & Doubles combined
Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten is among clay-court royalty. Winning at Roland Garros three times (1997, 2000-01) the skinny, popular Brazilian has joined the Roland Garros aristocracy. Only Bjorn Borg, 1974-75, 78-79-80-81, and Rafael Nadal, 2005-06-07-08, 10-11-12, has won more titles. Not many others have won three: Henri Cochet, 1926, 28, 30 and Ivan Lendl, 1984, 86-87.
Sadly, Guga wasn’t able to add to his triple as a gimpy hip and other health problems hindered him. Following his 2001 win, Brazil issued a postage stamp featuring Kuerten with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Kuerten’s toothy smile and outlandishly colored clothes have made him an icon among Brazilian teenagers. Born September 10, 1976, in Florianopolis in the southern state of Santa Catarina, the 6-foot-3, 183 pound Kuerten is the first South American guy to reach the World No. 1 ranking (2000) and the biggest tennis star at home since Maria Bueno won three Wimbledon and four U.S. singles championships between 1959 and 1966.
Guga would rather surf than play on turf. He has studiously avoided grass tournaments his game ever suited to clay. His place in Brazilian sporting history was assured in 1997 when he defeated three former champions — Thomas Muster, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Sergi Bruguera — on his unseeded way to claiming the French Open title. Just 20 years old, he was ranked a lowly No. 66 in the world, the longest shot to go all the way, finishing his first — yes, first in the bigs! — championship by dusting off Bruguera, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. He followed up in 2000 over Sweden’s Magnus Norman, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), and the following year over Alex Corretja, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 6-2, 6-0, ending 2001 at No. 2.
Kuerten won five titles in 2000, climaxing his No. 1 season by seizing the Masters at Lisbon, getting past two Americans, Pete Sampras in the semis, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4 and Andre Agassi in the final, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. With that, he edged Russia’s Marat Safin for the room at the top. In 2001, he lost the World No. 1 ranking to Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, but by 2002 he was down to No. 37, sliding fast as health problems increased, and hip surgery didn’t seem to help. He might have owned European clay for a while, having done more than capturing Paris. He won the Italian in 1999, Monte Carlo in 1999-2000-01, the German in 2000.
The sunny-natured man with the brilliant backhand won 20 singles titles (358-195 matches), eight doubles titles (108-95) and $14,807,000 in prize money. Guga retired in May 2008.
MAJOR TITLES (3) — French singles, 1997, 2000, 2001.
- Bio Courtesy Bud Collins
Began playing at age six with his parents...After winning 2001 Roland Garros title, drew heart in clay to show appreciation for crowd...Older brother, Rafael, looks after his business matters...Mother, Alice, is president of Institute Guga Kuerten...Younger brother, Guilherme (28), who suffered from cerebral palsy, passed away on Nov. 7, 2007...Father, Aldo, died in 1985 while umpiring a junior match...Sports idols include his the late Ayrton Senna and Pele...Won Roland Garros junior doubles (w/Lapentti)...Has a 34-16 career Davis Cup record in 21 ties (21-11 in singles)...Named ATP Charities Chairman in 1998...In August 2000, launched Institute Guga Kuerten, to help the handicapped...It has assisted more than 16,000 people in Santa Catarina and raised $1,439,000... Brazil's Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000...Awarded UNESCO 2001 youth and citizenship prize...Avid surfer... Put on Brazilian postage stamp in 2001...Awarded Brazilian Cross of Merit in 2003...2003 ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of Year...2000 ATP Player of Year...Carried Olympic Torch in Rio de Janeiro in 2004 ...Unveiled Guga Kuerten line of clothing in November 2005...Reunited with long-time coach Larri Passos in 2006.
Kuerten DEUCE Feature (May 2008)
1997 -- Became first Brazilian to win Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros with victories over three former champions: Muster (3rd RD), Kafelnikov (QF) and Bruguera (F)...At time, became second-lowest ranked (66) Grand Slam champion and went to No. 15 afterwards...Reached final in Bologna (l. to Mantilla) and AMS Montreal (l. to Woodruff)...
1998 -- Captured titles in Stuttgart and Mallorca...Won doubles title in Gstaad (w/Meligeni)...
1999 -- Captured AMS titles in Monte Carlo and Rome...One of three South Americans (No. 8 Lapentti, No. 9 Rios) to finish in Top 10 for first time in ATP Rankings history...Reached QF at Roland Garros...At Wimbledon, became first Brazilian to reach QF (l. to Agassi) since Thomaz Koch in 1967...In July, won 4-hour, 43-minute Davis Cup marathon over Grosjean 9-7 in fifth set in QF tie...Became first Brazilian to qualify for ATP World Championship and compiled a 1-2 record in round robin play...
2000 -- Became first South American to finish No. 1 in history of ATP Rankings (since 1973)...Secured top spot at season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon after coming in 75 points behind Race leader Safin...Twice the Russian was within one victory of finishing No. 1, and Guga four times had to win to keep his No. 1 hopes alive... Safin's final round robin loss to Sampras and his SF defeat to Agassi gave Guga an opportunity to become world No. 1...Lost to Agassi in first RR match, but rallied for wins over Norman and Kafelnikov...Beat Sampras SF...The No. 1 year-end position came down to final match of season for first time in men's tennis history which Guga won with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Agassi...Broke an eight-year reign of No. 1 finishes by Americans...He became first player to beat Sampras and Agassi back-to-back in SF and final of a tournament...Won five titles in seven finals, including his second Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros, becoming the first South American to win there twice...First South American to finish in Top 5 in consecutive years since Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in 1977-78...Won a career-best 63 matches...Reached three AMS finals, winning Hamburg (d. Safin) in a 3:52 match...Lifted his country to Davis Cup SF...Had a personal-best and ATP season-high 15-match winning streak...Won his first hard court title in Indianapolis...Reached QF at Sydney Olympics...Finished No. 3 in aces with a career-best 742 (9.8 per match)...Went 28-6 on clay and 28-12 on hard courts...Earned a career-high $4,701,610...
2001 -- Compiled his best season with a career-high six titles (five on clay) in eight finals, including his third Roland Garros crown...Joined former greats Borg (6), Lendl (3) and Wilander (3) with three or more French titles in Open Era...Led ATP Race for 14 straight weeks before losing lead at Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney...Compiled winning streaks of 15 and 14 during season and from beginning of Roland Garros through US Open compiled a 31-4 record...Won AMS Monte Carlo and Cincinnati while reaching final in Rome...Led ATP with 23 AMS match wins (23-7)...Won titles in Buenos Aires (d. Acasuso) and Acapulco (d. Blanco) and won 26 straight clay court matches going back to previous year...Won 13 straight on clay during year before losing to Hewitt in fourth rubber of Davis Cup QF tie in his hometown of Florianopolis...Defended Roland Garros title after narrowly escaping in 4th RD with a five-set victory (lost first two sets) against qualifier Michael Russell (saving a match point at 3-5 in 3rd set)...Defeated Kafelnikov in QF and Ferrero in SF before rallying from a set down to beat Corretja in four sets for the title...Won title in Stuttgart (d. Canas)...Finalist at Indianapolis...At US Open, was first South American top seed since Pancho Segura in 1944 and advanced to QF (l. to Kafelnikov)...Finished with a career-best 36-3 record on clay and went 23-12 on hard...Ranked No. 2 in aces (683) and break points saved (70 percent) and No. 3 in service games won (87 percent)...Led ATP in prize money with $4,091,004...
2002 -- Had arthroscopic right hip surgery on Feb. 26 in Nashville, Tenn. and returned two months later in Mallorca, defeating Davydenko and M. Norman before losing to eventual champion Gaudio in QF...Had his 17-match Roland Garros winning streak snapped in 4th RD by eventual champion Costa...Won for the first time in his native country in Costa do Sauipe, saving one match point in final vs. Coria...Runner-up in Lyon (l. to Mathieu)...Reached doubles finals in Costa do Sauipe (w/Sa) and AMS Paris (w/Pioline)...
2003 -- Won title in Auckland (d. Hrbaty)...Runner-up at AMS Indian Wells (l. to Hewitt)...Picked up his 300th career match victory in Indian Wells with 1st RD win over Ivanisevic...Lost in 4th RD at Roland Garros (l. to Robredo) and played at Wimbledon for first time in three years, losing to T. Martin in 2nd RD...Fired a Davis Cup record 47 aces in a five-set loss to Canada's Nestor in Calgary on Sept. 19...Finished season with title in St. Petersburg (d. Sargsian) without dropping a set ...
2004 -- Played in fewest matches (36) since 1996 after undergoing arthroscopic right hip surgery on Sept. 21 in Pittsburgh to remove bone spurs...Finalist in Vina del Mar (l. to Gonzalez)...Won 20th career title in Costa do Sauipe (d. Calleri)...Had career-best 3rd RD at Australian Open (l. to Srichaphan)...In April, reached QF in Barcelona but retired against Gaudio due to hip injury...Did not play another tournament until Roland Garros where he defeated No. 1 Federer in 3rd RD en route to QF (l. to Nalbandian)...He was only player to beat world's No. 1 in Grand Slam play during season...Missed two months before going 3-4 on summer hard court circuit...Last tournament was US Open (l. to Pless in 1st RD)...
2005 -- Finished outside Top 100 for first time since 1995 after playing fewest matches (16) since emerging on the circuit in 1996 as injuries kept him sidelined... Did not play a tournament until April...Reached 2nd RD in first appearance of year in Valencia (l. to Martin)... For first time since 1996, failed to win a match at Roland Garros, losing to Sanchez in 1st RD... For first time since 2002, reached 2nd RD of US Open with win over Goldstein... Lost in 2nd RD to Robredo... Ended year splitting a pair of matches in Davis Cup rubber with Uruguay, defeating Felder before retiring from dead rubber against Cuevas with a foot injury... Also won doubles point in that tie (w/Sa)... Took rest of the year off to focus on physical preparation for 2006...
2006 -- Limited to just one ATP singles match due to rehabilitation after September 2004 hip surgery...Lone appearance came at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Ghem)...Also played Asuncion Challenger in week of Nov. 13, losing 1st RD to Eitzinger...In Davis Cup, teamed with Sa to earn win over Peru, but lost to Sweden...Also teamed with Sa to reach Costa do Sauipe doubles SF.
2007 -- The Brazilian was slowed by a continuing hip problem which limited him to only nine ATP level matches (2-7)...His best win came over No. 44 Volandri in Costa do Sauipe before losing in 2nd RD to countryman Saretta...Followed with a win over Moodie in Las Vegas then lost his next two round robin matches...His last singles match came at AMS Miami where he lost to Sluiter in 1st RD...Also played in 10 doubles matches (2-8), including Davis Cup ties against Canada and Austria (lost both)...Best result came in Las Vegas where he reached SF (w/R. Delgado), losing to eventual champions Bryan brothers.
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