On the Red Carpet with Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten at the Legends Ball


Gustavo Kuerten photo by Jennifer Pottheiser

By Karen Pestaina

NEW YORK, NY (September 7, 2012) – Tennis Panorama News caught up with recent inductee to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten at the Legends Ball held during the US Open at Cipriani’s on East 42nd Street.

Kuerten spoke about what it means to him to be in the Hall of Fame and his involvement in his foundation.

Gustavo Kuerten talks to Tennis Panorama News



From the International Tennis Hall of Fame website:

One of Brazil’s most beloved and successful athletes, Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten, received the highest honor in the sport of tennis– induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Guga was the world’s No. 1 player for 43 non-consecutive weeks, and he is a three-time major tournament champion, having captured French Open titles in 1997, 2000, and 2001. Gustavo Kuerten’s induction was announced in a special presentation in São Paulo at the offices of Banco do Brasil, a long-time sponsor of the tennis champion.

With his beaming smile, engaging personality, and high energy game, the lively atmosphere that Guga brought to tennis stadiums around the world was nothing short of extraordinary.  Universally adored by both fans and peers, the Brazilian star is quick to state that the feeling is mutual, and that this support was integral to his success.  

Often referred to as “King of the Clay Courts”, although it was not a final, Guga often cites his fourth round French Open match in 2000 as one of the most memorable and treasured of his career. After saving three match points for the win, Guga first etched his iconic heart in the clay court, in an expression of love for his fans.

In 1997, Guga was ranked world No. 66 and had just eight ATP World Tour level wins to his name when he entered Roland Garros. While no one may have seen Guga coming that year, when he lifted the champion’s trophy and thanked the fans with his giant smile, it was clear that a star had arrived.  In the years that followed, Guga became one of the most dominant clay court players of his time. He captured the French Open title again in 2000 and 2001, and won a total of 20 singles titles and 8 doubles titles.

Guga started playing tennis when he was six years old, and his family was always very much part of his career. His father, a talented player himself, first taught Guga the game, before tragically passing away when Guga was just eight years old. Guga’s mother supported her son’s career emphatically. His older brother, Raphael, served as his business manager. His younger brother, Guilherme, who had cerebral palsy, was undoubtedly one of his biggest fans. Guga presented Guilherme every one of his tournament trophies, including the coveted Roland Garros trophies.

In 2000, for the first time in history, the No. 1 year-end position came down to the final match of season. Guga defeated superstar Andre Agassi in the match, breaking an eight-year reign of No. 1 finishes by Americans. It was the first time that a South American had ever been ranked world No. 1, a position Guga held for 43 weeks over his career. 

That same year, Guga embarked on another important venture, to which he is still dedicated today. Inspired by his late brother, Guilherme, he opened the Institute Guga Kuerten to help disabled people. The institute is dedicated to providing developmental opportunities, sports, and education, as well as to promoting social inclusion throughout the nation. The institute is located in Guga’s hometown of Florianopolis, Brazil, and since its inception, it has assisted more than 40,000 people in over 168 Brazilian cities. Guga was awarded the ATP World Tour’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2003, and in 2010, he was honored with the Philippe Chatrier Award by the International Tennis Federation. Currently, he works in order to win a new challenge: to support the social activities developed by Institute Guga Kuerten.

A national hero to Brazilians,  champion beloved by tennis fans worldwide, three-time winner at Roland Garros,  world No. 1, and now, a Tennis Hall of Famer, Guga Kuerten.

Grand Slam Record

French Open

Career Achievements


Sharapova Launches Sugarpova Candy at Henri Bendel in New York City

NEW YORK – Maria Sharapova – tennis player, designer and endorser of many products is now a candy entrepreneur. On Monday on Fifth Avenue the four-time major winner and current World No. 3 launched her own candy line called “Sugarpova.” It features 12 different types of treats for sweets consumers which range from gummies and licorice to tennis ball shaped gumballs.
Sharapova spoke about why she went into candy-making business in the first place. “I’ve always had a sweet-tooth, she explained. “My earliest memory was being a kid asking my parents after practice if I could have a lollipop, the tough-to-find European lollipops. If you have a great week of practice you can get it.” Sharapova told herself. “That’s kind of where it started.”
“I’m a big “foodie” with a big sweet-tooth,” she said. Sharapova said that she’s always looking for a treat that you can have after a good workout and trying to be healthy.
“So I wanted to own my own business for awhile and I’ve been part of many great collaborations and collections,” Sharapova added. “But I felt it was really time tostart things on my own a little bit – be involved make the final decisions. “it’s been 18 months sinceit all started. To see it at Henri Bendel’s is incredible.”
Sharapova’s favorite of her candy wares is named “quirky” – a licorice with marshmallow inside with a rainbow on the outside. The Russian is also reponsible for the concept and development of the products as well. “I went to the factory Spain and made sure that they, you know when things are getting mass produced it can lose it’s quality a little bit. From the beginning I wanted it to be a premium candy line from the packaging to the quality of the candies, that was very important to me.” For example Sharapova wanted the “tennis gum balls” to look exactly like tennis balls. “All those little things really matter,” Sharapova noted.
Sharapova is set to play the US Open  where she’ll be the third seed in the Women’s singles draw. The tournament begins next week.


Listen to the short interview she did with Tennis Panorama.

Maria Sharapova at Sugarpova Launch


Podcast – Meet the Pliskovas of the Philadephia Freedoms

RANDALL’S ISLAND, New York, NY – In World Team Tennis on Friday night the the NY Sportimes defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms 22-16. Among the players on the Freedoms’ roster are twins out of the Czech Republic – right-handed Karolina and left-handed Kristyna Pliskova.

The 20-year-old Pliskovas are  currently ranked 107 (Karolina) and 125 (Kristyna) and  are playing their first season of World TeamTennis.

The sisters paired up in women’s doubles to stop  Ashley Harkleroad and Martina Hingis of the Sportimes 5-2, while Kristyna lost to Martina Hingis in singles 5-3 and Karolina paired with Jordan Kerr to fall 5-3 in the mixed doubles.

The sisters took time out to talk about their respective goals and their favorite cities.

Pliskova twins and WTT July 13, 2012


Podcast – Catching up with Jesse Witten of the NY Sportimes

RANDALL’S ISLAND, New York, NY – In World Team Tennis on Friday night, Jesse Witten helped to lead the NY Sportimes to a 22-16 win over the Philadelphia Freedoms by winning a singles and doubles match at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island.

Do you remember Jesse Witten?  Back in 2009 the resident of Naples, Florida ranked 276th at the time, made it through the qualifying tournament to the main draw and  reached the third round of the US Open taking out No. 30 in the world Igor Andreev along the way, before losing to then world No. 4 Novak Djokovic 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-4.

Wiiten, playing in his 6th WTT season spoke to me after the match about what’s been happening in his life on and off-court. Listen to the podcast.

Jesse Witten talks to Tennis Panorama News WTT July 13, 2012

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


Podcast – NYSportimes’ Martina Hingis – WTT player, Entrepreneur and Coach

Randall’s Island, New York, New York – Five-time major champion and former world No. 1 , Switzerland’s Martina Hingis is playing World TeamTennis again this year with the NY Sportimes. On Tuesday night she helped to lead her team to a 22-14 home opener win over the Springfield Lasers. Marquee Player Hingis was victorious in her singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

After the match, Hingis spoke to Tennis Panorama News about playing World TeamTennis this year, designing her own clothing line Tonic and her new role coaching  juniors at Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in Paris.

Martina Hingis NYSportimes Interview with Tennis Panorama News on July 10, 2012

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


Australian Open Day 8 In a New York Minute


Podcast – A brief review of the singles action on day 8 of the Australian Open.



Serena Williams at Niketown (Videos and Podcast)

NEW YORK, NY (August 26, 2011) - Serena Williams made a visit to Niketown  New York on Friday afternoon to address children from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL), MS 35 and the City Parks Foundation. She spoke about tennis, her career and her thoughts ahead of next week’s US Open.

Watch the videos


Q & A at Niketown New York with Rafael Nadal and John McEnroe – GVTN Podcast

September 14, 2010 – NikeTown – New York City – Niketown New York hosted a Q &A session for the newly crowned 2010 US Open Rafael Nadal with John McEnroe. Here is audio from the session. There is a lot of  fan noise and if you hear some Spanish being spoken, it’s because I was with a group of journalists from TVE.
Runs 20.54

Rafael Nadal Photos From his visit to New York City%sq243%s NikeTown

Video Courtesy of USTREAM


“Attitude is a choice” – Martina Navratilova Accepts Eugene Scott Award at Tennis Hall of Fame’s Legends Ball

Annika Sorenstam, Polly Scott, Martina Navratilova, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe.  Navratilova received the 2010 Eugene L. Scott Award from the three womenat the 2010 Legends Ball to benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Cipriani 42nd Street in NY City on Sept. 10, 2010.

September 10, 2010 – New York, NY – International Tennis Hall of Fame Legends Ball- Cipriani 42nd StreetMartina Navratilova was presented with the Eugene L. Scott Award at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Legends Ball. Listen to her acceptance speech  as she spoke about her attitude, cancer and the rules she would like to see implemented in the current game.

(MP3 file)

Download | Duration: 00:06:10

On Itunes:


From the International Tennis Hall of Fame:
The Eugene L. Scott Award,presented annually since 2006, honors an individual who embodiesScott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about thegame, and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world. Scottfounded Tennis Week magazine and wrote the most widely read andwell-respected column about the sport, “Vantage Point” until his deathin March 2006. Previous recipients of the award have been: John McEnroe(2006); Andre Agassi (2007); Billie Jean King (2008); and Arthur Asheand his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe (2009).


Five Minutes with Wheelchair Tennis Pioneer and Tennis Hall of Famer Brad Parks at Legends Ball

©Jack Cunniff  for GVTN                    ©SanClementeTimes.com                 ©International Tennis Hall of Fame

September 10, 2010 – New York, NY – International Tennis Hall of Fame Legends Ball- Cipriani 42nd Street

2010 Hall of Fame inductee and wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks discusses his induction and wheelchair tennis on the red carpet of  the annual International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Legends Ball.

(MP3 file, party noise in background)

Download | Duration: 00:04:09

On Itunes: