Arias Reaches First Career Outback Final in Grand Cayman: To Face Courier for Title

GRAND CAYMAN, April 25, 2009 – Jimmy Arias advanced into his first career Outback Champions Series tournament final Saturday, coming back from a 4-6, 1-4 deficit to defeat Pat Cash 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 (Champions Tie-Breaker) in the semifinals of the $150,000 The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships. In Sunday’s final, Arias will face fellow American Jim Courier, a 6-2, 7-5 winner over Mark Philippoussis in Saturday’s other semifinal match. The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships is the fourth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

Jimmy Arias

Jimmy Arias

Arias will be playing in his first Outback Champions Series final in his 14th tournament appearance since the circuit began in 2005. Grand Cayman has been the site of his best success on the Series as five of his nine career match victories on the circuit have been at The Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman. Last year, Arias posted his previous best showing on the circuit, finishing in third place, highlighted by his first career tournament-match victory over John McEnroe. Arias has strong ties with Grand Cayman and the Ritz-Carlton, playing in various exhibition matches, pro-ams and clinics at the resort and on the island since 2000.

Against Cash, Arias started slowly and played nervously as Cash’s aggressive play earned him the first set after a service break in the sixth game. Early in the second set, Cash began having trouble with a pulled quad muscle, which wore on him as the match lengthened. After trailing 1-4, Arias pulled even to 4-4 and broke Cash in the 12th game of the second set to close out the set. In the Champions Tie-breaker, played in lieu of a third set, Arias jumped to a 6-0 lead, then nervously held on to win the first-to-ten-points tie-breaker 10-8.

Arias said he had to deal with many different emotions and scenarios during the marathon match, feeling that he was first out of the match, before later trying not to get too overconfident with Cash hobbling on one leg for much of the last set and the decisive Champions Tie-Breaker.

“I could see that he was not moving 100 percent and I was thinking just get it (the ball) in,” said Arias, who achieved a career-high ATP ranking of No. 5 in 1984. “Once, I thought I lost and when down 6-4, 4-1 and I wrote myself off. I started playing a little bit better and once you get on a roll sometimes you just keep going.”

“I was severely hampered by my leg,” said Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion. “I couldn’t really move it but I was hitting the ball well so I managed to get a jump on him. Unfortunately, at the end, he was able to hit enough balls around the court to move me around and out of position. I couldn’t run. I was able to do enough in the wind to cause some errors.”

Jimmy Arias reaches final on Grand Cayman

Jimmy Arias reaches final on Grand Cayman

Courier, who won the inaugural event in Grand Cayman last year over Wayne Ferreira in the final, will be playing in his 12th career Outback Champions Series final and will be seeking his eighth career title. Against Philippoussis, Courier used his trademark inside-out forehand to patiently dictate play from the baseline and prevent Philippoussis from rushing the net, where he is most comfortable. After exchanging early service breaks, Courier broke Philippoussis again in the fifth and seventh games before serving out the first set 6-2. In the second set, both players held serve before Courier broke through to close out the match in the 12th game of the set, benefitting from Philippoussis double-fault on match point.

“I came into this match with a little bit of trepidation because I know what Mark is capable of,” said Courier of his semifinal win. “I know how powerful he is and when he is on, there is virtually nothing you can do to stop him. I was hoping to just go out there and get myself into the match. I was down early, two love and then I kinda of fought my way back into it. I got a few chances and a few things went my way in that first set/ The second set was a lot closer and a real battle.”

Courier said he was looking forward to the challenge of another Outback Champions Series final, which will be his first day match of the week.

“Jimmy and I are very familiar with each others games, we play very similar styles,” said Courier. “Both of us look for our forehand and both of us are pretty quick around the court and crafty. So I expect to see a lot of big forehands on both sides of the net. As long as I take care of my serve, I’ll have chances, but he is obviously playing well.”

The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships features a field of eight champion players competing in a single knock-out format event, vying for $150,000 in prize money and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 on the Outback Champions Series. Ticket, travel and tournament information can be found by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

The schedule of play for the remainder of the event is as follows;

Sunday, April 26
Starting at 1 pm
Third Place Match – Pat Cash vs. Mark Philippoussis
Championship Match – Jimmy Arias vs. Jim Courier

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Rafter in the final. Following Grand Cayman, Outback Champions Series events will be played in Newport, R.I. (August 20-23), Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

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.

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.

About The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, The DeckHouses and Secret Harbour – Stretching sea to sea from the acclaimed Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort has set a lavish new standard of living on the Caribbean’s most prosperous, cosmopolitan and safe island – Grand Cayman. Comprising The Residences, The DeckHouses and Secret Harbour, all anchored by the hotel itself, living at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort is distinguished by an unparalleled lifestyle experience enhanced with the unique Endless Service program, which includes a fleet of luxury automobiles and intrepid 36-foot motor yachts available for use when in residence. Owners also have access to the legendary service and amenities of the $600 million Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort.  For more information, please visit www.residences-cayman.com, www.thedeckhouses.com or www.findsecretharbour.com.