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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 17:17 GMT
Kuerten ends hopes of a comeback
Gustavo Kuerten
Kuerten is one of seven players to win the French Open three times
Former world number one Gustavo Kuerten will end his playing career this year.

The Brazilian, 31, has played only sparingly since undergoing a second bout of hip surgery in 2004 and has given up hope of a return to form.

"This will be my last year, these last years have been difficult for me," he told Brazilian television.

Kuerten, who won the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001, plans to play several farewell tournaments before bowing out.

He will hope to get a wildcard into the French Open, where he remains a hugely popular figure following his hat-trick of titles.

606: DEBATE

The Brazilian, nicknamed 'Guga', first made his name at Roland Garros when he claimed the title in 1999 - despite coming into the tournament as a virtual unknown ranked 66th in the world.

That victory - the first Grand Slam title win by a Brazilian - made him a national hero in his home country.

He repeated the trick in 2000 when he also became the first South American to end the season as world number one.

And in 2001, he cemented his status as a Roland Garros favourite by drawing a heart in the red clay after becoming only the sixth player to claim the crown three times.

But in 2002, he was forced to undergo hip surgery and though he did return to the top 20, he could not recapture his previous form.

Despite a second operation, Kuerten's injury problems returned to haunt him and he was limited to just 12 matches last season.

SEE ALSO
Kuerten wins third French title
10 Jun 01 |  French Open


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