The Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) has named three-time French Open winner and former world number one tennis player Gustavo Kuerten as its latest ambassador.
Kuerten, known as Guga in his native Brazil, was officially presented as a CPB ambassador during the prize ceremony of the Professional Wheelchair Tennis Championship in Florianopolis.
The Championship forms part of Guga Kuerten Week and is the biggest wheelchair tennis tournament in Latin America.
"As patron of the most important wheelchair tennis Championship in Latin America, Gustavo Kuerten shows the support he gives to the Movement," said CPB President Andrew Parsons.
"He also has a family history of supporting disability awareness.
"When we planned our ambassadors programme, Gustavo’s name was one of the first to come to our mind as he represents a Brazil that wins, just like our Paralympic athletes."
Kuerten grasped the opportunity to experience wheelchair tennis, exchanging balls with fellow product of the Florianopolis region Ymanitu Silva, who won the Championship’s quad category, defeating Chile’s Pablo Araya, 6-1, 6-3.
"CPB support is essential for Para-sports to grow even more," Kuerten said.
"The wheelchair tennis players are the precious examples of courage, discipline and joy that we want to see here.
"Guga Kuerten Week does not exist without the wheelchair tournament and now, as an ambassador, I want it to grow even more."
Kuerten is the ninth personality to join the CPB programme following football stars Romario and Ronaldinho, model and television hosts Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert, Athens 2004 Olympic bronze medal-winning judoka Flavio Canto, businessman Luiz Severiano Ribeiro, and former Formula One drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and the late Ayrton Senna.
Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games singles and doubles gold medallist Natalia Mayara of Brazil clinched her third title in the Guga Kuerten Week, beating Great Britain’s Louise Hunt, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The pair met again two hours later in the doubles final and it was Hunt who came out on top alongside Chilean Macarena Cabrillana, beating Mayara and Rejane Candida, 6-4, 6-1.
In the men’s competition, Australian Adam Kellerman won both the singles and doubles, firstly defeating Brazilian Daniel Rodrigues in straight sets before returning to the clay court with Spaniard Martin de la Puente to beat the British duo Marc McCarroll and David Phillipson, 7-6, 6-4.
September 2015: Ayrton Senna becomes "memoriam ambassador" of Brazilian Paralympic Committee
February 2015: Former tennis world number one announced as brand ambassador for Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco