Kuerten elected to Hall of Fame

2012-03-08 19:43

Newport - Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten, a three-time Grand Slam title champion and former World No 1, has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, officials announced on Thursday.

Kuerten and others will be inducted into the sports shrine on July 14 during the ATP Hall of Fame Championships after receiving at least 75% support in a vote from an international media panel.

Kuerten, nicknamed "Guga", becomes the second Brazilian in the Hall of Fame after Maria Bueno, who was inducted in 1978.

Spending 43 weeks atop the world rankings, Kuerten reached his heights on the red clay at Roland Garros, winning the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

"During my career in tennis I was fortunate to have many victories, but the Hall of Fame induction is a special one," Kuerten said.

Kuerten praised the influential players upon his career, including legends Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi.

"I was inspired by lots of great tennis players, like Maria Bueno and Thomas Koch, two of the biggest Brazilian tennis players, and I have also always greatly admired Hall of Famers including Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, and Agassi.

"To be honoured in the same category as those great players is amazing."

Kuerten, 35, will be joined in induction by former Spanish star Manuel Orantes, administrator and promoter Mike Davies and the late Randy Snow from wheelchair tennis.

Kuerten's 1997 triumph in Paris was the first Grand Slam title by a Brazilian since Bueno won the 1966 US Open.

He also became the year-end World No 1 in 2000, the first South American to claim the spot since the ranking system debuted in 1973.