The French Open, 1997

  & its champions Iva Majoli and Gustavo Kuerten.

         "Everybody loved Iva Majoli in our town. . . .
            Nobody knows where she's gone.
[paraphrasing Carl Sandburg, 'Gone', from Chicago Poems, c. 1916. See also...]


Majoli - and Kuerten - winning a major tournament was a major surprise. And in Majoli's case, it looks like a real nine-day's wonder, for she had no great wins before, and has basically vanished from pro tennis since 1997.

Gustavo Kuerten was a different matter: at the time unknown, he immediately got a big fan reaction in his native Brazil - and, more importantly, by my analysis shortly after R.G. 1997, he really earned his title: he beat several major players on the way to his title, whereas Majoli was simply the one woman player at that moment in the best spirits and condition*.   Majoli's win was made easy by being preceded by the semifinal ( Hingis-Seles - a real contest ), and by rare luck, having no major opponent until the final vs. Hingis.

Kuerten's performance thereafter justified the promise of his French Open victory ... and he has reached close-to-top ATP ranking, as well as continuing to win tournaments at times.

The point remains, still: The French Open produces odd results, and the unexpected is (for the last few years at least) always expectable.

*( Graf and Hingis both had lingering injuries, though Hingis had recovered by then... Monica Seles' performance had gone downhill, and... who else was there? )

   - Read the poem quoted above, in either of two editions:
  1. Chicago Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) cover image of Carl Sandburgs Chicago Poems. Dover Thrift Editions.
    ( - Possibly the cheapest of all editions sold by currently only 80 cents!   No loopholes, it ships in 24 hours, and contains many enjoyable fine poems by Sandburg, not just the one mentioned.)

  2. Chicago Poems (Prairie State Books) cover image of Carl Sandburgs Chicago Poems. Prairie State Books.
    ( - Pricier edition, for those who are ashamed to be cheap! currently ships in about 3 days.)

- Page created May 15 ( -links to added May 17 & 18) 2000 by Russell Hess (, Webmaster of 'UpSky'.

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