Roland Garros Re-Lived 1997: Allez Guga! Allez Guga!

Almost nobody had heard of Gustavo Kuerten when he entered Roland Garros in 1997, but everyone knew who he was when he walked away as the champion. So, how did he do it?

Kuerten tells us about the moment he first felt the love of the French fans, his difficult matches against Thomas Muster and Yevgeny Kafelnikov en route to the final, and just how much tennis still means to him.

We also hear from Sergi Bruguera, the runner-up that year, about what it was like to play against Kuerten and his memories of the final.

Then, New York Times journalist Christopher Clarey explains the buzz around Kuerten’s story that fortnight and why the 1997 French Open is one of his all-time favourites as a reporter.

Finally, we celebrate Kuerten’s career and his lasting impact on the sport.

The Tennis Podcast is presented by Catherine Whitaker and David Law, featuring Matt Roberts. It is produced weekly year-round, and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments. It is crowdfunded by listeners each December.


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We are producing daily shows throughout the original Roland Garros dates, looking back on 15 classic matches and stories from the tournament’s history. You can watch Gustavo Kuerten’s victory over Sergi Bruguera in the 1997 final on YouTube. This weekend, our focus will be on the 1999 edition of the French Open. On Saturday, we will be watching Steffi Graf vs. Martina Hingis, and on Sunday we will be going back to Andre Agassi vs. Andrei Medvedev. We will also be doing editions for Wimbledon.


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