The swansong, although four years late, had the perfect setting. An opponent who plays great in 20 min bursts, and can spare Kuerten the pain of having to play 5 sets to lose this match, and near full French Open crowd that was present to give this man a fitting send-off.
The match had everything, a mexican wave, ‘GUGA’ chants, two conceded aces, a shirt that reminded one of ‘97, grunts that got deeper with every passing game, Kuerten speaking in cute French at the end and most unexpectedly great tennis.
30 winners, of which 17 were from Kuerten. The magical backhand was still on painting the lines, except not 10 out of 10 times.
The man who made clay court tennis enjoyable and who still has the chance to end up as the greatest clay courter of the last two decades decided he won’t try anymore.
Thankfully, none of the self-obsessed american pricks like McEnroe and Courier were allowed anywhere near Kuerten with a mic on the court. Result – no comment by Kuerten on Rafa or Roger or whoever the fuck.
Since I have to bring in Federer into this post, let’s say Federer can learn two things from this great Brazilian. One, how to hit a backhand when the ball jumps on you, and, two, how to cry like a man.
p.s. Mathieu, the last man to beat Sampras, said that he allowed Kuerten to enjoy his last game. Thank you for that, Mathieu. I know you didn’t extend this favour to Sampras. Thank you for that too. The match was just perfect.