DUBAI, U.A.E., Nov. 22, 2008 – Jim Courier closed out the 2008 Outback Champions Series season in style Saturday, defeating Stefan Edberg 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Emirates NBD The Legends “Rock” Dubai Championships. The win earned Courier a first-prize paycheck of $54,000 for his fourth tournament title of the year on the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.
Courier, who also won titles this year in Grand Cayman, Charlotte and Dallas, was also presented with a $100,000 check from the Stanford Financial Group for finishing the 2008 Outback Champions Series as its No. 1 ranked player in the Stanford Champions Rankings. In all, Courier collected $404,000 in prize money in 2008, including his Stanford Financial Group bonus.
“This is a great finish to a great year,” said Courier after his win over Edberg. “Dubai is a fantastic place for me, and for all the players, to end up the season. It’s a pleasure playing in front of the great crowds in this great city.”
Courier broke Edberg in the eighth game of the first set, hitting a blistering forehand down-the-line passing shot on break point to take a 5-3 lead, before serving out the set the next game. Courier appeared to take complete control of the match by breaking Edberg in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Edberg, however, made a last stand by breaking Courier back to even the set at 4-4. The Swede, however, was unable to keep the momentum, losing serve the next game before Courier served out the match the following game.
“I played well today,” said the 42-year-old Edberg, playing in his first Outback Champions Series event. “I didn’t really have much of a chance toward the end of the match. He played his points too well. He really hit some great passing shots. I hope to have the opportunity to play him again very soon.”
“Stefan just keeps applying pressure,” said Courier, 38. “I had to serve well to keep him from coming into the net. And I did serve well today. His volleys are deadly – probably the best I have ever seen.”
The final marked the first meeting between Courier and Edberg since they last competed on the ATP tour in the semifinals of Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1995. During their ATP careers, Courier and Edberg had a spirited rivalry with Courier winning six of their 10 meetings, including the finals of the 1992 and 1993 Australian Opens. Edberg’s signature win over Courier came in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 victory in the final of the 1991 U.S. Open.
In the third-place match Saturday, Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands, the 2007 champion in Dubai, defeated Anders Jarryd of Sweden in an abbreviated 8-5 pro set.
The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2008 schedule with each event featuring a round-robin match format. The winner of each 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 Todd Martin defeated John 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 Wayne Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series event 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. In November, McEnroe won his second title of the 2008 season in Surprise, Ariz., defeating Martin in the final.
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
Results From Wednesday, November 19
Anders Jarryd, Sweden, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 1-6, 6-1, 11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker)
Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands, def. Sergi Bruguera, Spain, 7-5, 6-4
Results From Thursday, November 20
Stefan Edberg, Sweden, def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, 6-3, 6-2
Jim Courier, United States, def. Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands, 7-6 (7), 6-4
Results From Friday, November 21
Stefan Edberg, Sweden, def. Anders Jarryd, Sweden, 7-5, 7-5
Jim Courier, United States, def Sergi Bruguera, Spain, (walk-over, knee injury)
Results from Saturday, November 22
Jim Courier, United States, def. Stefan Edberg, Sweden, 6-3, 6-4
Third Place Match
Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands, def. Anders Jarryd, Sweden, 8-5 (Match shortened to eight-game pro-set)
ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
Stefan Edberg 2-0
Anders Jarryd 1-1
Wayne Ferreira 0-2
Jim Courier 2-0
Paul Haarhuis 1-1
Sergi Bruguera 0-2
2008 FINAL STANFORD CHAMPIONS RANKINGS
1. Jim Courier (USA) 4100 points
2. John McEnroe (USA) 2500 points
3. Todd Martin (USA) 2200 points
4. Wayne Ferreira (RSA) 2100 points
5. Aaron Krickstein (USA) 1650 points
6. Magnus Larsson (SWE) 1000 points
Jimmy Arias (USA)
8. Thomas Enqvist (SWE) 900 points
9. Pat Cash (AUS) 800 points
10. Mikael Pernfors (SWE) 750 points
11. Anders Jarryd (SWE) 700 points
12. Paul Haarhuis (NED) 650 points
13. Karel Novacek (CZE) 500 points
Stefan Edberg (SWE)
15. MaliVai Washington (USA) 450 points
16. Pete Sampras (USA) 200 points
Goran Ivanisevic (CRO)
18. Mats Wilander (SWE) 100 points
Sergi Bruguera (ESP)
Justin Gimelstob (USA)