HEAD player Gustavo Kuerten is making the return of a lifetime to the sport of tennis. Injured for more than nine months, the former No. 1 player is a three-time French Open Champion (1997, 2000, 2001) and winner of the Tennis Masters Cup in 2000, holds 20 singles career titles and eight doubles titles. Kuerten currently plays with a HEAD Flexpoint Prestige MP.
After being sidelined with chronic hip injuries for the past nine months and missing the 2006 French Open, Kuerten is playing in the Challenger Series event in Paraguay this week. Kuerten is one of the most widely recognized players on the ATP tour.
Kuerten, born on Sept. 10, 1976 in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina in Brazil, is also known as Guga, a nickname which is a common abbreviation of the name “Gustavo.” Kuerten began playing tennis when he was six years old and turned professional in 1995.
After just two years as a professional, Kuerten rose to the position of No. 2 player in Brazil.
Following his unexpected victory in the 1997 French Open, Kuerten had a difficult year, adjusting to his sudden fame and the pressure of being expected to win.
He rose again, winning French Open titles in 2000 and 2001, becoming the No. 1 player in the world in 2000, using his unique serve and strong ground strokes. Kuerten represents Brazil in the Davis Cup competition, but in the past few years he has been plagued by injuries.
In September 2004, Kuerten announced that he would be withdrawing from the ATP Tour for an indefinite period of time, in order to undergo detailed exams of his injured hip. He did not play again for the rest of the year. In 2005, Kuerten came back at the Open de Tenis Comunidad Valenciana in Spain, following a second hip operation. This week’s event will be Kuerten’s first match since February.