The Rio Open organizers payed tribute to former player Flávio Saretta this Saturday night at Jockey Club Brasileiro.
As they have been doing since the first edition, recognizing the achievements of great Brazilian players, the Rio Open organizers produced a video remembering moments of the former world’s number 44 in the world’s career with testimonials from former players such as Gustavo Kuerten and Fernando Meligeni.
His former coach João Soares and Ricardo Acioly, Rio Open’s director of relations, gifted him with a commemorative plaque. His wife Suzana Alves and their children Felipe and Benjamim also attended the ceremony.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a tennis court with so many people. This even made me miss playing. It’s the first tribute I receive, so I’m very emotional. I thank the organizers for recognizing former athletes in a country that usually doesn’t do that”, said Saretta, 41.
Born in Americana, in the State of São Paulo, he was a contemporary of Guga and is considered one of the best tennis players in Brazil. He was number 12 in the youth ranking, and in 2003 he had the best season of his career.
In Roland Garros he defeated Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, former number 1 in the world, and reached the round of 16, being defeated by American Andre Agassi.
In Wimbledon he stunned Swede Thomas Johansson, winner of the previous Australian Open and 11th in the world at that time.
In 2004, he won the title in Umag.
In 2007, Saretta won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games, his last career title.
He retired at 28.