Former Brazilian French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten has been inducted into the International Tennis hall of Fame and his one time rival Yevgeniy Kafelnikov has come out in praise of the man who defeated him on road to his first victory at Roland Garros almost 15 years back now. The Russian was the best player in the world on paper and on form at the time Guga, as Kuerten was fondly known as, burst onto the scene in 1997 as the 66th ranked player in the French Open.
Kafelnikov stated that he still distinctly remember how shy Guga used to be when he came onto the scene as a fresh faced youngster from the land of soccer and before their Quarter Final match, he gave him many tips about style on the court as well, a laughing Yevgeniy Kafelnikov mentioned.
At that time, it was almost a mismatch between one of the top players in the world and a relatively unknown youngster who might have taken the Holiday trip a bit too seriously, said Kafelnikov and what panned out on the court on a sunny May evening in Parish has entered Brazilian tennis folklore when the highly unfancied underdog Gustavo Kuerten the high flying Russian on way to what was to be his first of three French Open titles.
The former tennis player also remembered how the two of them became friends while on tour overcoming the language barrier and was lucky enough to see him in action when he took to the court for the last time in the French Open of 2008.Yevgeniy Kafelnikov saluted the former player on what he has achieved over the years and also sent out his best wishes to Kuerten, who became the second Brazilian to be given such an honor by the tennis authorities.