Beginnings and Endings For Jim Courier

Jim Courier

Jim Courier

In the Tuesday, March 24 edition of “Tennis History Tuesday” we note a significant day in tennis history for Jim Courier. As excerpted from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com), today marks the 18th anniversary of Courier winning the biggest title of his young career back in 1991 at then branded Lipton Championships (now the Sony Ericssson Open). Nine-years later in 2000, Courier wins his final match on the ATP, taking out 18-year-old David Nalbandian in the first round of the then-branded Ericsson Open (also the current day Sony Ericsson Open.) The full book excerpt is below.

1991 – No. 18-ranked Jim Courier wins the biggest title of his career to date, defeating David Wheaton 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla. “I feel like I can compete with anybody out there,” says Courier following the win, which vaults him into the top 10 for the first time in his career at No. 9.

2000 – Jim Courier wins what eventually becomes his final match on the ATP Tour, defeating 18-year-old David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. “This is the golden twilight for a certain period of American tennis, but hopefully the dawning of a new era,” says the 29-year-old Courier following the win over Nalbandian, playing his first ATP Tour level match. “What are you going to do? I’ve been on the tour and this is my 13th year. Pete [Sampras] and [Michael] Chang the same. And Andre [Agassi] has been around even longer. People can’t expect us to be around forever. Hopefully we’ll be around competitively a few more years, but it’s the enjoy-it-while-you-can time of our careers. You start to get limited physically once you get into your 30s.” The next day, Courier plays what is his final professional singles match, losing to world No. 7-ranked Thomas Enqvist of Sweden 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

1927 – In a match described by The New York Times as “spectacular and bitterly contested,” George Lott, the No. 9 ranked American, upsets U.S. No. 1 Bill Tilden 6-3, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 to win the Halifax Tennis Championships in Ormand Beach, Fla. Writes the Times, “Lott stuck stubbornly to his method of going after every return. Long rallies were frequent with Lott winning better than his share. Many of the game went to deuce. The large gallery was on the side of the 20-year-old ninth ranking player.”

1990 – Sixteen-year-old Monica Seles wins the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., – her second career singles title – defeating Judith Wiesner of Austria 6-1, 6-2 in the final.

1998 – Seventeen-year-old Martina Hingis saves two match points and comes back from a 3-5, 15-40 third-set deficit to defeat 16-year-old Serena Williams 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4) in the quarterfinals of the Lipton Championships.

2005 – In a battle of the shortest and tallest players on the ATP Tour, five-foot-four inch Olivier Rochus of Belgium defeats six-foot-ten Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) in the first round of the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.

2006 – American Meghann Shaughnessy, who loses her first five matches of 2006, breaks out of her funk at the NASDAQ-100 in Miami, upsetting No. 3 seed Justine Henin-Hardenne 7-5, 6-4 in the second-round. “This one is very special because I’ve been struggling lately and haven’t been playing my best tennis,” says Shaughnessy, who doesn’t face a break point in the match. “So to go out and play a match like that against Justine, it means a lot to me.”