During the trophy ceremony, he donned a handmade T-shirt that said, "I love Roland Garros" in French, with a heart symbol representing the word "love."
"Every single time I come here, it's special," Kuerten said, as a small group of Brazilians celebrated to the sound of samba drums. "Everything that happens here to me is wonderful. It's a place I love to be."
The top-seeded Kuerten became the sixth man to win three French championships and the first since Mats Wilander earned his third title in 1988. He's the first man to win consecutive French trophies since Sergi Bruguera in 1993-94.
But there will be no back-to-back major titles this year for Kuerten because he'll skip Wimbledon in two weeks. Kuerten, who earned $590,000 for winning the French Open, said he wants to rest his sore groin. However, he has previously complained about Wimbledon's seeding system, and his career record there is only 6-4.
Jennifer Capriati, on the other hand, can't wait to get to Wimbledon.
Capriati, who won the women's singles championship Saturday with a 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 victory over Belgium's Kim Clijsters, plans to spend a few days in Paris celebrating. Later this week she'll begin preparations for the short grass-court season. And when Wimbledon begins June 25, Capriati will be the co-favorite, along with defending champion Venus Williams.
As this year's Australian and French Open champion, Capriati is halfway to a rare Grand Slam sweep. Only three women and two men have won all four major events in the same year, most recently Steffi Graf in 1988.
"I feel comfortable on the grass," Capriati said. "I can't wait to get on it."
Her biggest hurdle at Wimbledon will be the 6-1 Williams, the only top player Capriati has yet to beat this year. Their lone meeting in 2001 came in the final at the Ericsson Open, where Williams erased eight match points to win a sloppy but exciting three-setter.
Williams was the dominant player the second half of last year, winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and gold medals in singles and doubles at the Olympics.
But Capriati, who earned $560,000 for winning the French Open, has been the top player the first half of this year. The hard-hitting Floridian resurrected a career once derailed by drugs and personal problems to fulfill the promise shown 11 years ago, when she reached the Roland Garros semifinals in her first major event at age 14. *