Paris - Gustavo Kuerten marked the 20th anniversary of his
first Roland Garros triumph on Thursday by backing Rafael Nadal to win 15
French Open titles.
Brazilian star Kuerten won his first Paris crown in 1997,
going on to win again in 2000 and 2001.
Nadal is just two match wins away from capturing a 10th
"Rafa could potentially win up to 15 times,"
Kuerten said on Thursday in praise of the 31-year-old.
"Two years ago, nobody really thought he would ever win
a Grand Slam tournament again, especially Roland Garros.
"Well, I think he's back, and he's a favourite, as he
was a favourite during his best years. So it is very possible, and I think we
need to thank him, because he has been a role model.
"He's not only an excellent tennis player. He is a
wonderful person. He is entirely dedicated to his discipline."
Nadal will face Austria's Dominic Thiem in Friday's
If he gets through that he would come up against world
number one Andy Murray or 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in Sunday's final.
Kuerten said Roger Federer's surprise run to the Australian
Open title in January at the age of 35 for an 18th major proved that age is not
a factor in the sport.
"I think the chase, it's amazing, right? Like the cat
and rat, they are one after another," said Kuerten.
"That's my belief. It's because of them both they are