Known as the Gazelle, Bruguera kick-started Spanish tennis in the early 1990s. A massive top spin forehand did most of the damage during his career and peak physical fitness kept him fresh for grueling 5 setters. All his 14 career titles came on the clay but he did reach some hard court finals notably in Miami and Dubai. Throughout the 1990s a new generation of Spaniards came through, motivated by Sergi’s success including Alberto Berasategui, Alex Corretja, Felix Mantilla and Albert Costa.
Double French Success
In 1993, Bruguera found himself in the final against the unbeatable Jim Courier, who was a 2 time defending champion and world number one. Five tough sets later, Bruguera was victorious. He beat Courier again the next year and fellow Spaniard Alberto Berasategui in the final. Sergi was the new king of clay and reached number 3 in the world. More success in 1995 and in 1996 he took home an Olympic silver medal, losing to Agassi in Atlanta. Then the wheels came off in 1996 as an ankle injury sidelined the Spaniard for months.
A Short Lived Comeback
By the 1997 French Open, his comeback was in full flow but the landscape was shifting. He reached the French final for the third time, but this time he ran into the then unknown Gustavo Kuerten. A new king of clay had arrived, so it was only fitting that Kuerten claimed his first crown from clay royalty in Bruguera. The comeback really only lasted a year and injuries hanpered him for the next four years until he called it quits.
He has remained active on the seniors circuit, winning 10 titles and has hardly aged, sporting a flowing mane of hair these days. He also runs the Bruguera Tennis Academy.
Highest Ranking: 3 (1994)
Career Titles: 14
Grand Slam Wins: 2 (French Open 1993, 1994)
Masters 1000 Wins: 2 (Monte Carlo 1991, 1993)
Win/Loss Record: 447 / 271
Career Prize Money: $11,632,199
Records: Olympic Silver Medal (1996)
Famous for: Reaching 3 French Open finals, winning 2
Did You Know? Bruguera has a winning record against Sampras, winning three of their five matches: 1–0 on hard court, 2–1 on clay, and 0–1 on carpet.
Watch: vs. Beresategui 1994 French Open