McEnroe and Martin Stay Unbeaten In Surprise

SURPRISE, Ariz., November 7 – John McEnroe and Todd Martin both notched wins Friday to stay undefeated in round-robin play at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex. McEnroe won the first eight games of the match in beating Anders Jarryd of Sweden 6-0, 6-4, while Martin gutted out a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over another Swede, Magnus Larsson. Also registering wins Friday in round-robin play were Wayne Ferreira and Jim Courier – Ferreira beating Karel Novacek 6-1, 6-2 and Courier besting Jimmy Arias 6-3, 6-4. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise is the seventh of eight events on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for tennis players over the age of 30.

With wins in Saturday’s final round-robin matches, both McEnroe and Martin will advance into the Sunday final in the suburbs of Phoenix. Martin will take on Ferreira in the second match of the 5 pm evening session Saturday, while McEnroe will face Courier in the second match of the 2 pm afternoon session. McEnroe and Martin faced off in the final of The Olivier Group Champions Cup in Naples, Fla., the first event on the 2008 Outback Champions Series, earlier this year in February with Martin winning 6-3, 6-1.

Against Jarryd, McEnroe swept through the first set in just over 30 minutes in front of a second consecutive sell-out crowd, breaking his Swedish opponent in the first, third and fifth games of the match. After serving out the first set 6-0, McEnroe opened the second set with another service break and a service hold before Jarryd finally got on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set. Jarryd got back into the match briefly by breaking McEnroe’s serve to tie the score at 3-3 in the second set, but McEnroe broke Jarryd back in the ninth game of the second set, and calmly served out the match the next game.

Playing in his first Outback Champions Series event since the International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, McEnroe called his win over Jarryd “one of the best matches I have played” on the Outback Champions Series.

“My game plan going in was quite simple – I just wanted to be ready and sharp and I came out really moving well,” said McEnroe. “He wasn’t getting a lot of serves in early and I was really consistent with my serve, especially in the first set.”

McEnroe, a keen observer and evaluator of the sport better known nowadays as a TV commentator than as a player, praised the tennis fans of Arizona, the city of Surprise and its new public tennis facility following his win.

“The crowds here are great,” he said. “I’m really glad to hear this is a public facility. It makes me happy to hear we have a facility like this where it is affordable for people to learn the game. I think that’s been the problem with tennis recently – it isn’t affordable for everyone. To have a public facility with so many courts – and it’s reasonable – is really good to hear.”

Jarryd entered the match with McEnroe having upset Courier, the top ranked player on the Outback Champions Series, in Wednesday’s session.

“I had a lot of trouble finding my rhythm today,” said Jarryd. “I kept digging deeper and deeper and just couldn’t find my rhythm. John played really well.”

Martin was relieved after finishing off Larsson, a player whom he struggled against through the years. Entering their match Friday, the series between the two players stood even at 5-5, including a split of their two previous Outback Champions Series meetings. Martin beat Larsson 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 (Champions Tiebreaker) on a lightning fast outdoor hard court in Athens, Greece in 2007, while Larsson beat Martin 6-3, 6-4 indoors in Memphis in 2006. In their ATP tour careers, the players split their eight meetings – Larsson winning the first four matches in 1994 and 1995, including the fifth and decisive match in the United States vs. Sweden Davis Cup semifinal in 1994. Martin won the last four ATP meetings from 1996 to 2001.

“Today it was difficult to play. I’m so glad its over,” said Martin Friday. “He had good groundstrokes on both sides and is so gifted with two hands. It’s incredible. Today I felt this was the best I have played against him. Today I felt in control with him and I served very well. I served and volleyed a lot with Magnus today which I normally do not do. It was a difficult match and Magnus played really well.”

Ferreira and Courier both evened their round-robin records at 1-1 with their victories Friday. Ferreira controlled play from wire to wire against Novacek, using strong first serves and heavy forehands to force numerous errors from Novacek.

“I thought I played well yesterday (against Larsson) but today I was really hitting the ball well,” said Ferreira. “I am feeling very confident. I was also serving and volleying a little bit more today.”

Courier subdued Arias with his blistering serves and crushing forehands in a high-spirited, entertaining match that delighted fans.

“This was a good match for me,” said Courier. “It built my confidence and now I feel very confident going into my next match tomorrow against John. It’s great to play in front of large crowds here in Surprise.”

The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2008 schedule with each event featuring an eight-man round-robin match format. The winner of each four-player division meets in the title match while second place finishers in each division play in the third-place match. Each event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Champions Series ranking points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1. Beginning in 2008, the year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series.

The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series even in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Aaron Krickstein in the final. Pat Cash won his first Outback Champions Series title in Newport, R.I., in August, defeating Courier in the final, while Courier won his second and third titles of the season in September in Charlotte and in October in Dallas, defeating Martin and Thomas Enqvist in the final, respectively. The final event in 2008 will be held in Dubai, U.A.E., Nov. 19-22.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and many others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Each event also has the right to choose a “wild card” entrant. More information on the Outback Champions Series can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

The remaining schedule for the event is as follows (all times local);

Saturday, November 8
Noon
Anders Jarryd vs. Jimmy Arias
Followed by
Jim Courier vs. John McEnroe
5:00 pm
Magnus Larsson vs. Karel Novacek
Followed by
Todd Martin vs. Wayne Ferreira

Sunday, November 9
Noon
Third Place Match
Followed By
Championship Match

Round-Robin Results from Wednesday, November 5
Todd Martin, United States, def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-1
Anders Jarryd, Sweden, def. Jim Courier, United States, 6-3, 7-6 (2)

Round Robin Results from Thursday, November 6
Magnus Larsson, Sweden, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 7-6 (9), 6-2
John McEnroe, United States, def. Jimmy Arias, United States, 6-2, 6-2

Round Robin Results from Friday, November 7
Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-2
Todd Martin, United States, def. Magnus Larsson, Sweden, 7-6 (2), 6-3
John McEnroe, United States, def. Anders Jarryd, Sweden, 6-0, 6-4
Jim Courier, United States, def. Jimmy Arias, United States, 6-3, 6-4

Round-Robin Group Standings
Group A
Todd Martin 2-0
Magnus Larsson 1-1
Wayne Ferreira 1-1
Karel Novacek 0-2

Group B
John McEnroe 2-0
Jim Courier 1-1
Anders Jarryd 1-1
Jimmy Arias 0-2