McEnroe and Courier Advance To Outback Champions Series Final in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, March 14 – John McEnroe will face Jim Courier in an All-American final at the $150,000 Rio Champions Cup as both players emerged Saturday as the winners of each respective round-robin group. McEnroe advanced to the Sunday final by defeating Brazil’s Jaime Oncins 7-6 (5), 6-3 to post a perfect 3-0 record in the “Maracana” Group. Courier, however, was defeated Saturday by Mark Philippoussis of Australia 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker), but advanced to the final by winning a head-to-head tie-break with Pat Cash, who also posted 2-1 round-robin record in the “Corovado” Group, but lost to Courier on Thursday. The Rio Champions Cup is the second of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players 30 and over.

McEnroe, who turned 50 years old on February 16, advanced into his third straight Outback Champions Series tournament final with his victory Saturday. Last month, he reached the final of the Champions Cup Boston – the opening event of the season – where he lost to Pete Sampras in the final. In his final Outback Champions Series of the 2008 season last October, McEnroe won the title in Surprise, Ariz., defeating Todd Martin in the final.

Against Oncins, McEnroe displayed the same serve and volley finesse that he exhibited in his first two round-robin match victories against Mikael Pernfors and Jimmy Arias, but for the first time during his trip to Rio, he also exhibited his famed temper. The three-time Wimbledon champion received two code violations in the first set and another early in the second set before finding his balance and closing out the straight-set victory.

“The match was only this close because of the chair umpire,” said McEnroe after the victory. “If it wasn’t for the chair umpire, it would have been much easier.”

The Courier and Philippousis match was a showcase of holding serve as neither player lost serve in the match. Philippousis emerged victorious by the narrow 11-9 score in the Champions Tie-breaker, played in lieu of a third set.

Courier said after the loss that he is not only hungry to win the title in Rio, but avenging his loss to McEnroe earlier this year in Boston in a match marred by Courier suffering a back injury in the later stages of the first set.

“I am out for revenge in the final,” said Courier. “My back stopped me in Boston (against McEnroe) but I’ll be ready to take him out this time.”

Cash and Arias will play in the third-place match that precedes Sunday’s McEnroe-Courier championship final. Arias moved into the third place match by defeating Pernfors 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to finish with a 2-1 round-robin record. Cash advanced by defeating Fernando Meligeni of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 to also finish 2-1.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, McEnroe, Courier and 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. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series ranking points that will determine the year-end No. 1. The year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus.

Following the Rio Champions Cup, Outback Champions Series events will be played in Los Cabos, Mexico (March 18-22), Grand Cayman (April 23-26), Newport, R.I. (August 20-23), Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

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 “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Round Robin Standings
Group Maracana
John McEnroe 3-0
Jimmy Arias 2-1
Jaime Oncins 1-2
Mikael Pernfors 0-3

Group Corovado
Jim Courier 2-1
Pat Cash 2-1
Fernando Meligeni 1-2
Mark Philippoussis 1-2

Results From Thursday – March 12
Jimmy Arias, United States, def. Jaime Oncins, Brazil, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4
(Champions Tie-Break)
Jim Courier, United States, def. Pat Cash, Australia, 6-0, 7-6 (5)
John McEnroe, United States, def. Mikael Pernfors, Sweden, 6-2, 6-4

Results From Friday – March 13
Fernando Meligeni, Brazil, def. Mark Philippoussis, Australia, 6-4, 3-6,
11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker)
Jaime Oncins, Brazil, def. Mikael Pernfors, Sweden, 7-5, 6-1
Pat Cash, Australia, def. Mark Philippoussis, Australia, 7-6 (3), 6-1
John McEnroe, United States, def. Jimmy Arias, United States, 6-4, 6-1
Jim Courier, United States, def. Fernando Meligeni, Brazil, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 (Champions Tie-Break)

Results From Saturday
Jimmy Arias, United States, def. Mikael Pernfors, Sweden, 6-4, 6-4
Pat Cash, Australia, def. Fernando Meligeni, Brazil, 6-3, 6-4
Mark Philippoussis, Australia, def. Jim Courier, United States,6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 10-8
John McEnroe, United States, def. Jaime Oncins, Brazil, 7-6 (5), 6-3

Sunday – March 15
Starting at noon
3rd Place Match
Starting at 2 pm
Championship Match