McEnroe Wins Wild, Windy Outback Final Over Martin in Surprise

SURPRISE, Ariz., November 9 – John McEnroe finally broke his final-round hex against Todd Martin, saving three match points and winning a windy and wild final at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise Sunday at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in suburban Phoenix. After losing to Martin in three previous finals on the Outback Champions Series circuit, the 49-year-old McEnroe broke through to beat Martin 3-6, 7-6 (3), 11-9 (Champions Tie-breaker) to win $50,000 in prize money and his second career title on the New York-based global tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

Playing in severe desert wind gusts of up to 35 mph that knocked over courtside umbrellas and chairs, McEnroe faced triple match point with Martin serving for the match leading 6-3, 6-5, 40-0. McEnroe, however, clawed his way back to break Martin’s serve and force a second-set tie-breaker. With the second-set tie-breaker tied at 3-3, McEnroe won the final four points, benefitting from a Martin double-fault on the final point, to force the decisive Champions Tie-breaker, a 10-point tie-breaker played in lieu of a third-set. McEnroe took an early 5-1 lead in the Champions Tie-breaker and held on to reach double-match point at 9-7. McEnroe then committed two errors for 9-9, before Martin’s missed forehand gave McEnroe his third match point at 10-9. McEnroe then closed out the match with an ace, using his signature left-handed slice serve out wide on the ad-court to finish the epic match in style.

McEnroe said the gusty conditions were possibly “the windiest conditions I have ever played in” and credited the supportive and spirited Arizona crowd with giving him inspiration to win the title.

“I thought this may have been the best I played all year and I think a lot of that had to do with the crowds,” said McEnroe. “I was able to feed off of their energy all week. I think one of the keys was that I was able to shrug things off today. The older you get, it gets harder to do that but I really did a good job with that today.”

Martin, who earned $30,000 for the runner-up showing, was seeking his fourth career Outback Champions Series title, having won titles previously in Boston in 2006, Newport, R.I. in 2007 and Naples, Fla., earlier this year – all at the expense of McEnroe, his final-round victim in all three events.

“There were some totally bizarre points out there today given the conditions,” said the 38-year-old Martin of the windy conditions. “John has an advantage in those conditions because of the off pace ball that he hits. I’m 50-50 in those conditions and his tendencies give him an advantage. John just controls the ball so well and in those conditions you need to. If I played him in a tight-confined space, he may win every time.”

McEnroe started the match by breaking Martin in the opening game of the match and held for a 2-0 lead. Martin, however, rolled through the next five games to take a 5-2 lead before holding on to win the set 6-3. Martin broke McEnroe to lead 3-2 in the second set, only to have McEnroe break immediately back for 3-3. After holding serve, McEnroe broke Martin again to lead 5-3, but was unable to serve out the set. Martin then held serve to even the second set at 5-5. He then broke McEnroe to serve for the match at 6-5, where McEnroe began his spirited comeback.

McEnroe won his only previous title on the Outback Champions Series earlier this year in Boston, where he defeated Aaron Krickstein in the final.

In the third-place playoff Sunday, Magnus Larsson defeated Anders Jarryd 6-1, 7-6 (0) in an all-Swedish affair.

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

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)

Sunday, November 9
Third-Place Match
Magnus Larsson, Sweden, def. Anders Jarryd, Sweden, 6-1, 7-6 (0)
Championship Match
John McEnroe, United States, vs. Todd Martin, United States, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 11-9 (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