McEnroe Tops Courier To Win Outback Champions Series Title In Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, March 15 – John McEnroe is proving that he is getting better with age. The 50-year-old three-time Wimbledon champion completed a perfect week of tennis Sunday by defeating Jim Courier 6-2, 6-3 to win the $150,000 Rio Champions Cup at the HSBC Arena. The title was McEnroe’s third career tournament victory on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. With his win, McEnroe also earned 800 ranking points to take over the No. 1 ranking on the Outback Champions Series from Pete Sampras while pocketing $54,000 in prize money.

“They talk about the age, but nowadays in the U.S., 50 is the new 40,” said McEnroe of his half-century status. “We find ways to be in better physical shape and I was feeling good today. I saw the other guys who are younger and how they were with their backs, calves, knees hurt and here I am, happy that I am standing. I know that if I were doing what I was doing today, when I was playing the pro tour, being serious about my physical conditioning, I could have won many more titles in my career.”

McEnroe, who turned 50 years old on February 16, jumped on Courier early, breaking him in the second game of the match, while breaking the two-time French and Australian Open champion again in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-2. In the second set, McEnroe was unable to capitalize on break point chances on Courier’s serve in the second and fourth games of the set, but secured the lethal break in the eighth game before serving out the match.

“The tennis ball doesn’t see the age. It’s zen,” said Courier of McEnroe, who is 12 years his senior. “I don’t think I have ever seen anyone over 50 play like John. I didn’t play bad today. John was just marvelous. He played some unbelievable tennis today. This court here is faster than a grass court and it suits his game. I can also play well on a hard court. I was serving well, but John was fantastic.”

Prior to the championship match, McEnroe defeated Mikael Pernfors, Jimmy Arias and Jaime Oncins in round-robin play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively without dropping a set. Last month, he began the 2009 Outback Champions Series by reaching the final of the Champions Cup Boston, where he lost to Sampras. Courier, who earned 600 ranking points and $28,000 in prize money with the runner-up showing, was appearing in his 11th career Outback Champions Series final and was seeking his eighth career OCS title.

McEnroe, who said he specifically chose to play in the Rio Champions Cup to have another opportunity to visit Brazil, said he was very touched by Rio and the Brazilian people during his stay.

“I appreciated a lot coming to Rio and experiencing another culture,” said McEnroe. “People say that we Americans live for work and that the Brazilians work to live. If we can have a mix of that, would be perfect. It is touching to see how the people here, who struggle, have so little and still have the joy for life. I respect it a lot.”

In Sunday’s third-place match, Pat Cash of Australia defeated Jimmy Arias of the United States 7-5, 6-3.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, 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 next week 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 – March 14
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 (Champions Tie-Break)
John McEnroe, United States, def. Jaime Oncins, Brazil, 7-6 (5), 6-3

Sunday – March 15
Championship Match
John McEnroe, United States, def. Jim Courier, United States, 6-2, 6-3
Third Place Match
Pat Cash, Australia, def. Jimmy Arias, United States, 7-5, 6-3