Tennis News Net Notes for October 10, 2012
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.
From the International Tennis Hall of Fame website:
One of Brazilâ€™s most beloved and successful athletes, Gustavo â€œGugaâ€ Kuerten, received the highest honor in the sport of tennisâ€“ induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Guga was the worldâ€™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.Â Gustavo Kuerten’sÂ induction was announced in a special presentation in SÃ£o 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.Â 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.Â Â
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 championâ€™s trophy and thanked the fans with his giant smile, it was clear that a star had arrived.Â 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. Gugaâ€™s mother supported her sonâ€™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.Â
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 Gugaâ€™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 Tourâ€™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.
Listen to the short interview she did with Tennis Panorama.
RANDALLâ€™S ISLAND, New York, NY â€“ 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 areÂ currently ranked 107 (Karolina) and 125 (Kristyna) andÂ are playing their first season of World TeamTennis.
The sisters paired up in women’s doubles to stopÂ 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.
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? Â Back in 2009 the resident of Naples, Florida ranked 276th at the time, made it through the qualifying tournament to the main draw and Â 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 whatâ€™s been happening in his life on and off-court. Listen to the podcast.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News
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 coachingÂ juniors at Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in Paris.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News
A brief look at the news headlines of the day in the tennis world.
A brief look at the news of the day in the tennis world.