In 1997 a 19 year old Gustavo (Guga) Kuerten burst onto the scene at Roland Garros.
A year before at the age of 18 the curly haired Brazilian made his Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros having come through qualifying. Guga lost in the first round of his debut to 10th seed Wayne Ferreira 4-6 5-7 6-7. Guga of course went onto win Roland Garros the following year in 1997 in what was such an expected victory for the Brazilian but this is about his season 20 years ago in 2000.
20 years at the Brazilian had potentially his best year on tour.
It didn’t start too well as he fell in the first round at the Australian Open, Guga led by two sets to love before losing in five to Portas from Spain but he went on to achieve many accolades that year.
Singles title in Chile (and doubles), Hamburg & Indianapolis followed for the Brazilian who also won his second Roland Garros title and finished the year winning the Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon.
Winning the tour finals in Lisbon was by far the big moment of the year for the Brazilian who record four of his eleven top ten wins that year at the event.
He defeated some of the best to lift the Masters Cup: Magnus Norman, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Pete Sampras and then Andre Agassi in the final which saw him become world number one for the first time.
2001 was also a very good year for Guga who won Roland Garros again and some Masters titles. Sadly for the Brazilian the injuries took over and his period of dominance was great but sadly short lived.
Since then Brazilian men’s singles tennis has been waiting for that next breakthrough.
In that time we have seen incredible doubles players in Bruno Soares, Marcelo Melo and many others.
This year though we have seen a new player burst onto the scene.
Thiago Seyboth Wild born in Marcheal Cândido Rondon burst onto the scene recently in Rio de Janeiro as a wildcard. In his first match the local lad took 3 hours, 49 minutes and 50 seconds to win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina which had some drama which was good to see!
It was a very good week from Thiago who lit up South America with his forehand but wasn’t just done in Rio…
In Santiago, Chile where of course Guga Kuerten found success this time it was Thiago’s time to take the headlines and his first title.
His road to his first title included wins against top two seeds Cristian Garin and Casper Ruud and became the first player born in 2000 to win an ATP title.
Unfortunately the tour has been currently postponed but these few weeks are just a glimpse into the future of Brazilian tennis and maybe the next star to come from Brazil…
You can read more about Thiago below: