Tennis: Kuerten stays cool and tries to keep focus on his game

THERE is a tradition here for sportswear manufacturers to utilise the entire side of a building to promote a leading player. Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and Mary Pierce are among those who have been featured in the past. This year a Brazilian dominates Porte d'Auteuil, a stroll away from Roland Garros. The figure is not Gustavo Kuerten, the defending French Open champion, but Ronaldo.

The footballer is so big that his left arm extends to the side an an adjacent building. Whether he will arrive in person to watch his the progress of his friend Kuerten is open to doubt. Although the Brazilian squad's training headquarters is only half an hour's drive from Roland Garros, Kuerten has resisted invitations to visit them, and he hopes, respectfully, that the footballers will not crowd his court.

"I would love to see the players, but I will not go to their training ground because I must stay focused on the tournament," Kuerten said, "and if I see them at Roland Garros I will tell them to go away and practise, because I want them to win the World Cup."

"Gustavo is half-joking about sending them away," said Paulo Cleto, Brazil's Davis Cup captain, "but he needs to concentrate on his game. If he is still involved in the later stages of the tournament next week, he would like to stay on in Paris to see Brazil's opening match [against Scotland]. But, at this stage, that is only supposition."

It is. Today Kuerten is due to play his second round match against Marat Safin, the tall, powerful, 18-year-old Russian who eliminated Andre Agassi in five sets on Tuesday.

Kuerten's determination to do himself justice, having failed to win a title during the 12 months since his spectacular triumph here, has been disguised by a generally relaxed attitude. His dealings with the French media during the lead-up to the championships has earned him their "prix orange" award.

The "prix citron" has been awarded to Marcelo Rios, the favourite to relieve Kuerten of his title, if not his Mr Nice Guy image. Rios has the dubious distinction of becoming the first player to be voted the lemon three years in a row. It should be emphasised that these awards are judged on media cooperation, not on behaviour on the court. Otherwise, how would Mats Wilander's name appear on the roll of lemons?

Not that Rios would be likely to worry overmuch if he received lemons in perpetuity as long as his ability to play tennis remained unimpaired. Yesterday, having escaped the worst of rain delays to advance to the third round by defeating Spain's Emilio Alvarez, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, the Chilean expressed satisfaction with the power in his elbow.

"I've been much better every day," he said. "Always at night it's a little bit sore and I have to have some massage and take some pills, but its much better than it was two weeks ago."

The elbow injury cost Rios his No 1 position in the world rankings in April, and his next opponent, the South African Wayne Ferreira, defeated him in his opening match on returning to the ATP Tour in Hamburg three weeks ago. "I think this is the nice thing about this sport, when you get a rematch," Rios said. "It's really exciting to play Ferriera again and try to beat him."

Courier, the champion in 1991 and 1992, was eliminated in the second round by Germany's Jens Knippschild, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, and Australia's Mark Philippoussis was outlasted by the Czech Bohdan Ulihrach, 3-6, 6-7, 7- 5, 6-4, 9-7.

Martina Hingis and Venus Williams, who are seeded to meet in the women's quarter-finals, advanced to the third round unhindered. It has been argued that a case for equal prize-money with the men might be made from the quarter-finals onward. Yesterday was "children's day" at Roland Garros and child's play for the two 17-year-olds. Hingis defeated Germany's Meike Babel, 6-1, 6-2, and Williams swept past Ai Sugiyama, of Japan, 6-0, 6-2, winning the first eight games.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

SQL Developer - Permanent - London - Up to £50k

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum 23 days holiday plus Pension scheme: Clearwater Peop...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn