Man to beat
Defending champ Kuerten earns French Open's top seed
Updated: Tuesday May 22, 2001 1:46 PM
PARIS (AP) -- Defending champion Gustavo Kuerten, who holds the No. 1 spot in the rankings, will be the top-seeded player at next week's French Open.
The $10 million French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, starts Monday. Seedings are based on the ATP's rolling 52-week ranking system.
Agassi, winner of the French Open in 1999, won the year's first Grand Slam event -- the Australian Open. Sampras holds a record 13 Grand Slam titles but has never gotten past the semifinals at the French.
Kuerten won the Monte Carlo Masters Series in April and reached the final of the Italian Open in Rome, another major clay-court tournament, this month. He won the French Open in 1998 and again last year.
Ferrero beat Kuerten in the Italian Open. The 21-year-old clay-court specialist from Spain reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year and was considered one of Kuerten's biggest rivals for the title this year.
However, a groin injury that flared in the final of the German Open last weekend has left Ferrero unsure whether he'll be able to play at Roland Garros.
Last year's runner-up in the French Open, Magnus Norman of Sweden, is seeded ninth. The only other seeded American is No. 15 Jan-Michael Gambill.