PARIS - Gustavo Kuerten bid farewell to tennis yesterday in the first round of the French Open, losing, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, to Paul-Henri Mathieu at the site of his biggest triumphs.
The former top-ranked Brazilian won three French Open titles.
"Here, it is my life, my passion and my love," Kuerten said in French. "It's great to have my family here, my coach. But more important was the love you gave me."
The 31-year-old Kuerten has been bothered by a hip injury since 2001. Since having surgery in 2004, he has played in only 19 tournaments and won five matches.
Third-seeded Novak Djokovic, No. 6 David Nalbandian, No. 10 Andy Murray and No. 7 James Blake advanced to the second round, but 1998 French Open champion Carlos Moya lost to Eduardo Schwank, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (1), 4-6, 6-3.
Blake's 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory over Rainer Schuettler made him the first American man to win a match at Roland Garros since 2006.
In the women's draw, eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams beat Ashley Harkleroad, 6-2, 6-1, and last year's French Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic struggled before beating Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2, 7-5. The first seeded player to lose was No. 15 Nicole Vaidisova. She reached the French Open semifinals in 2006 and the quarterfinals last year, but was upset by Iveta Benesova, 7-6 (2), 6-1.
Williams, the 2002 French Open champion, was broken in the first game of the match and trailed by 2-0 before winning seven straight games as a light rain fell.