Tennis Prose



Biofile with Gustavo Kuerten

I did this Biofile with Guga at the U.S. Open in 2008, the year before the beloved Brazilian retired from tennis at Roland Garros in 2009…

What was your greatest tennis moment? “As achievement I think the Masters Cup in 2000 when I beat Agassi in the final.”

Most painful moment? “Forget already [laughs]. Don’t remember.”

First tennis memory? “Playing my father, in my club.”

Tennis inspiration? “I really enjoyed watching Stefan Edberg.”

Pre-match feeling? “It’s always fun just to be there. I like playing at big events for good crowds. It’s great to be there. I just think of the way I have to play. I try to be prepared for the match with strategy.”

Early tennis memory? “Seven years old, I was playing in my first tournament. My start in tennis. I lost. I had 5-2 in the third set and lost 6-5. Wasn’t a good experience. I always cry after I lose when I was a kid [smiles].”

Funny tennis memory? “I had, once, I went for a sponsorship tryout (age 18). I got there. I saw my plan for the year long, how I wish the guy could help me out. And then he went and consulted another player. It was a word for not to give this help to me. And then the guy said, ‘No, he’s too skinny, he has no power [smiles]. I don’t think it’s gonna be a good idea, a good investment [smiles].’ At the end, I finish up, do all this stuff – and I know very well the guy still so far, so every time he comes to me – he got a lot from this. So, for me, it’s funny how to look back and see, at this stage, how I was really no big hopes and yet I find my career. So I was really scared.”

Embarrassing memory? “Ah, I think every time you lose badly once you are playing an important match, I think it’s kind of an embarrassing situation.”

Favorite tournament? “Roland Garros.”

Favorite players to watch? “I like watching many of the players. There’s not any one that I prefer the most but I think the characters still left are still Safin, Haas, besides Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Roddick – probably the ones, for me, that bring more attention from the crowd.”

What match did you feel you played your absolute best? “I think this match against Andre in the final (Masters Cup in Lisbon) was probably one of the matches I play most perfect in.”

When did you first sense it would be a special day? Or with the #1 ranking at stake, were you just not going to lose to anyone that day? “You have this kind of feeling I think once you get to this stage it’s like cruising.”

French Open final – Guga at your best vs. Nadal at his best – what happens? “I don’t know, anything can happen [smiles]. I think it would be very interesting. I think a lot of people would like to solve that question [smiles].”

Do you study him? Watch his matches in Paris thinking you could defeat him? “I think it’s not the way to think like that. I think he’s getting better and better still. Every year I watch him play, on any surface, he’s still improving. And he has already a big gap between the other players. So that’s really taking a lot of attention for myself – I wouldn’t believe he would get so much distance from the others.”

Could you return to singles play? “Right now there’s no chance. I need to have more endurance and agility. Hopefully it can come together but I don’t like to play singles if I don’t even have a chance to win.”

People Qualities Most Admired? “I think respect, education. I think respect for each other and then well educated. I think that’s a good start already.”

Closest friends from tennis? “Lapentti maybe.”

Funniest players encountered? “Santoro [smiles]. I think Santoro is the funniest by far. And Agassi.”

Toughest competitors? “Nadal.”

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1 comment

  • tom michael · January 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    One of my all-time favorites. Guga!!



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