It may have been his destiny to be the King of Clay -- or is that King of Pain? -- yet cosmic rules also demanded that Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten repeat his gesture of a week ago, perhaps even better it.
Oui and oui.
The defending champion drew a heart on the court after he survived a match-point scare against American qualifier Michael Russell in the fourth round.
Surely, Kuerten must have known something when he drew the heart. Three matches after the great escape, the top-seeded Kuerten sealed the cosmic deal to win his third French Open men's title, defeating No. 13 Alex Corretja of Spain, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2, 6-0, in 3 hours 13 minutes in the final on a windy Sunday at Roland Garros.
Having subdued Corretja on the court, Kuerten went to work, etching his place in tennis history. He drew another heart on the court with his racket, and this time, plopped down in it on his back on the clay.
There was more after the awards ceremony with former champion Jim Courier and French Olympic judo champion David Douillet. For his final magic trick, Kuerten pulled off his shirt and reached into his shorts pocket for another shirt.
He had one with his own design: I [heart] Roland Garros.
"I wanted to write," said the 24-year-old Kuerten, who worked on the shirt Saturday night. "I'm not good at writing, designing, so I spend like two hours."
He said he would have pulled the shirt out, win or lose, in tribute to the fans. It's not easy to please a Parisian crowd, of course, as winning tennis doesn't always suffice. But Kuerten did it all, speaking French, and spraying champagne at the fans as he wore a Brazilian flag like a cape.
"To me, it's magic," he said. "I knew something touched the people when I did that, the heart, the first day. Then I knew maybe I could do it again. I was so full of good things that I try to share with the people around."
Even a class act like Corretja couldn't compete against those forces.
Kuerten joined an elite group of Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl and Rene Lacoste with three French Open victories. Bjorn Borg, with six, has the most French Open titles.
Corretja, 27, has lost twice in the French Open finals. The other time, in 1998, he lost in straight sets to countryman Carlos Moya.
"There are moments in your career that are much worse than losing the Grand Slam final," Corretja said. "Of course, if you lose you don't feel too happy. It's a moment where you feel a little down. I've been feeling much worse before when I feel I was playing terrible."
Unlike the Moya match, Corretja had a chance to win Sunday.
Kuerten was unsettled by the wind -- clay dust got in his contact lenses -- and there were periods of rain before the weather cleared in the third set.
"It's a pity we have to play a Grand Slam final with those conditions," Corretja said.
Kuerten called it a hurricane. But what turned the match in his favor was the 11th game of the second set. Kuerten survived a break point. In the next game, he broke Corretja's serve at 30 to take the set, 7-5, and the tenor of the contest changed.
"He missed a backhand down the line when he had break point," said Kuerten, who had 10 aces. "That point could have changed the match, if he had broken me and won the set. I wasn't in the best confidence, so I need one gap from the guy, then I can play well."
Corretja was asked if Kuerten had anything to prove, if he needed to win a major on another surface other than clay to secure his legacy.
"I would love to be in his situation," he said. "On clay, he shows he is the best. What's the meaning? He has to show he has to win Australian Open and U.S. Open? He doesn't have to show anything."
The beaming Kuerten, who was nibbling on a sandwich in his news conference, was hardly concerned about legacies as the drumbeat of his supporters wafted through the grounds. He couldn't wait to go out and dance to the music.
"It's nice, isn't it?" Kuerten said.
For him, Paris was the next best thing to Brazil.
"I love this place, everything that happened to me here is unbelievable," he said. "Every time I come here, I give it my all. It's like a magic place for me. All the dreams coming true."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times