McEnroe and Martin To Duel For Surprise Title

SURPRISE, Ariz., November 8 – John McEnroe will seek his second career singles title on the Outback Champions Series Sunday when he takes on Todd Martin in the final of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in suburban Phoenix. Both McEnroe and Martin advanced into the final Saturday by virtue of winning their respective round-robin divisions.

McEnroe advanced into the title match despite losing his final round-robin match Saturday afternoon with Jim Courier 7-6 (7), 4-6, 10-8 (Champions Tie-breaker), but advanced into the championship match as the winner of Round Robin Group B in a three-way tie-breaker. McEnroe, Courier and Anders Jarryd of Sweden (a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Jimmy Arias earlier on Saturday) all finished round-robin play with 2-1 records. McEnroe, however, moved into the final having won five sets over three matches played during the week, while Jarryd and Courier only won four sets. Jarryd, a head-to-head winner over Courier on Wednesday night, will play in Sunday’s third-place match against fellow Swede Magnus Larsson.

Martin edged Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 3-6, 7-6 (4), 10-8 (Champions Tie-breaker) in the final match played Saturday evening to finish play in Round Robin Group A with a 3-0 record. After losing the first set on two service breaks, Martin rolled to a 5-2, two-service-break lead in the second set. Ferreira, however, fought back to square the set at 5-5 and eventually forced a tie-breaker. Martin jumped to a 4-1 lead and held on to win the tie-breaker 7-4. In the decisive Champions Tie-breaker – a 10-point tie-breaker played in lieu of a third set – both players split the first 12 points, before Martin reeled off three straight points to lead 9-6. After Ferreira won two straight points to close the gap to 9-8, Martin hit an unreturnable serve to close out the victory.

Martin will be seeking his fourth Outback Champions Series title having won titles in Boston in 2006, Newport, R.I. in 2007 and Naples, Fla., in 2008. Ironically, all three titles came at the expense of McEnroe in the championship match. McEnroe won his only previous title on the Outback Champions Series earlier this year in Boston, where he defeated Aaron Krickstein in the final.

After splitting the first two sets against McEnroe, Courier jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the Champions Tie-breaker. McEnroe, however, fought back to 8-8, benefitting from a Courier double fault at 8-7. Courier then fired an ace to reach his first match point at 9-8 and won the match on the next point when McEnroe committed an unforced error off of Courier’s return of serve.

Said McEnroe of reaching the final, “It is nice to have made the final to have a chance to win another tournament this year and finish on a high note.”

Larsson finished round-robin play with a 2-1 record by defeating Karel Novacek of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1 Saturday.

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);

Sunday, November 9
Noon
Anders Jarryd, Sweden, vs. Magnus Larsson, Sweden – Third Place Match
Followed By
John McEnroe, United States, vs. Todd Martin, United States – 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 Results from Saturday, November 8
Anders Jarryd, Sweden, def. Jimmy Arias, United States, 6-4, 6-4
Jim Courier, United States, def. John McEnroe, United States, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 10-8
Magnus Larsson, Sweden, def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1
Todd Martin, United States, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 3-7, 7-6 (4), 10-8 (Champions Tie-breaker)

Round-Robin Group Standings
Group A
Todd Martin 3-0
Magnus Larsson 2-1
Wayne Ferreira 1-2
Karel Novacek 0-3

Group B
John McEnroe 2-1
Anders Jarryd 2-1
Jim Courier 2-1
Jimmy Arias 0-3