Karol Kučera : biography
Karol Kučera (born March 4, 1974 in Bratislava) is a retired ATP professional male tennis player from Slovakia. He achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 6 in September 1998, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open the same year.
Kučera turned professional in 1992. He was a member of the Czechoslovakian Galea Cup teams in 1991 and 1992 and the 1992 European championship squad. In 1993 he qualified for his first Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
In 1995 when Kučera won his first ATP title in Rosmalen. In 1996 he played in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta where he lost to eventual gold medalist Andre Agassi.
A year later he won his second ATP title in Ostrava defeating Magnus Norman. He was runner-up in two other tournaments in Nottingham on grass to Greg Rusedski and Stuttgart Outdoor to Sergi Bruguera on clay.
Kučera's best year was in 1998, where he finished the year in the top 10, ranked World No. 8, which qualified him in the ATP Tour World Championship in Hannover. During the year Kučera won 2 titles in Sydney defeating Tim Henman and New Haven defeating Goran Ivanišević.
He reached another two finals, losing to Gustavo Kuerten in Stuttgart Outdoor and to World No. 1 Pete Sampras in Vienna. Overall in 1998, Kučera compiled a career high 53 match victories and earning $1,402,557.
Kučera achieved his best Grand Slam result in 1998 reaching the semi-finals of Australian Open where on his way he defeated defending champion Pete Sampras in the quarter-finals, losing to eventual champion Petr Korda in 4 sets.
In 1999, Kučera won his fifth ATP title in Basel defeating Tim Henman in the final. After 1999, Kučera struggled with form due to a right wrist and arm injury.
After some injury plagued years, Kučera found some form again in 2003 when he finished in the top 50 for the first time since 1999. During the year he won his sixth and final tour title in Copenhagen defeating Olivier Rochus in the final.
Recently, Kučera was one of the contributing members on the Slovakian team which reached the final of the Davis Cup in 2005, eventually losing to Croatia 2–3. He announced his retirement after the final.
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Opponent in the Final||Score|
|1.||June 12, 1995||Rosmalen, Netherlands||Grass||SWE}} Anders Järryd||7–6(7), 7–6(4)|
|2.||October 13, 1997||Ostrava, Czech Republic||Carpet (i)||SWE}} Magnus Norman||6–2 (Retired)|
|3.||January 12, 1998||Sydney, Australia||Hard||GBR}} Tim Henman||7–5, 6–4|
|4.||August 17, 1998||New Haven, U.S.||Hard||HRV}} Goran Ivanišević||6–4, 5–7, 6–2|
|5.||October 4, 1999||Basel, Switzerland||Carpet (i)||GBR}} Tim Henman||6–4, 7–6(10), 4–6, 4–6, 7–6(2)|
|6.||February 24, 2003||Copenhagen, Denmark||Hard (i)||BEL}} Olivier Rochus||7–6(4), 6–4|
Style of play
Miloslav Mečíř known as the "Big Cat" was Kučera's coach from 1997 to 2001. Kučera was nicknamed the "Little Cat" because of his deceptive style of play and his fluid movement around the court resembling his coach.
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