champions tennis

Happy Anniversary to Andre and Steffi!

October 22 marks the eight-year anniversary of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, the most celebrated couple in the history of tennis. Their anniversary, and other events in the history of tennis, are chronicled in the October 22 chapter excerpt for the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com) featured below…

2001 – Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, two the greatest champions tennis has ever produced, are married in a small, private ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two all-time greats date for more than two years since both won the singles titles at the 1999 French Open. “We are so blessed to be married and starting this chapter of our lives,” Agassi and Graf says in a joint statement after the ceremony. “The privacy and intimacy of our ceremony was beautiful and reflective of all we value.” Agassi and Graf are the only two players in the history of the sport to win all four major singles titles – and an Olympic gold medal – in their careers.

1985 – Arthur Ashe resigns as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team after a tenure of five years. Ashe resigns “”in the best interests of me personally and of the team,” according to a statement released by Ashe’s agency, ProServ. The United States wins the Davis Cup during Ashe’s first two years as captain in 1981 and 1982, but the U.S. loses in the first round in 1983 and the second round in 1985. Ashe’s overall record as U.S. Davis Cup captain concludes at 13-3.

1982 – Vitas Gerulaitis defeats Gene Mayer 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Mazda Super Challenge in Melbourne, Australia and then blasts the officiating as the worst he has seen in his career. Says Gerulaitis, “From Egypt to Zambia, it has never been as bad as this. This is the worst place I have ever played.”

1995 – Wayne Ferreira of South Africa ends the three-year reign of Pete Sampras as champion of the Lyon Open in France, defeating Sampras 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-3 in the final. Says Ferreira, “I played one of the best matches I could play. I tired a little at the end but I wasn’t going to get tight.” Ferreira has surprising success with Sampras during his career, winning six of 13 matches against the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

1995 – Filip Dewulf became the first Belgian in two decades to win an ATP Tour singles title, defeating Austria’s Thomas Muster  7-5, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 in the CA Trophy in Vienna, Austria. Dewulf is the first Belgian to win an ATP title since Bernard Mignot wins the title in Dusseldorf  in 1974.

1995 – Mary Joe Fernandez celebrates her 24th birthday by defeating South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer 6-4, 7-5 to win the Brighton in England. The title is the fifth of seven career WTA Tour singles titles for Fernandez.

2006 – Maria Sharapova becomes the first Russian to win the Zurich Open, defeating Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 4-6, 6-3  in the final. Both players takes advantage of the WTA Tour’s controversial experimental on-court coaching rule, allowing on-court coaching between sets. Sharapova speaks on-court to her coach Michael Joyce, while Hantuchova talked with her mother.

2006 – Roger Federer defeats Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to win the Madrid Masters singles title. The title is his 10th of the 2006 season, giving Federer the distinction of becoming the first player in the Open era to win 10 or more titles in a season for three consecutive seasons. Federer finishes the season with 12 titles – to go with the 11 titles he wins in both 2004 and 2005.

1995 – Michael Chang defeats Italy’s Renzo Furlan 7-5, 6-3 and delights fans in Beijing by speaking to them in Chinese after winning the Salem Open for a third year in the row.

Cash Repeats As Newport Champion; Denies Courier First Grass Title

NEWPORT, R.I., August 23, 2009 – Pat Cash successfully defended his singles title at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup defeating Jim Courier 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the championship match at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The tournament victory was Cash’s second career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champions tennis players age 30 and over, and earned the 1987 Wimbledon champion $60,000. Cash’s tournament win at Newport last year was also over Courier in the final by the exact 6-3, 6-4 score line.

“I’ve been lucky this week,” said Cash. “I got a few lucky breaks today and you need that to beat these guys, who are all champions. The great thing about this tour, the Outback Champions Series, is that it is serious tennis. We get out there and you can see how hard we’re trying, but it’s also fun,”

Cash is regarded as one of the best serve-and-volley and grass-court players in tennis over the last 30 years. In addition to his 1987 Wimbledon title, Cash was a singles finalist on grass at the 1987 Australian Open. The 44-year-old Australian was the lone Wimbledon singles champion in the eight-player Newport field and was most comfortable on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame all week.

“I wouldn’t say I grew up on the grass-court but I have played a lot of grass-court tennis,” said Cash. “It’s natural for me to play this style of game. It’s easy. I don’t have to think about it. I just serve and volley. I’m not smart enough to work out a game tactic against Jim so I just kind of keep serving and running to the net.”

Courier, playing in his 13th career Outback Champions Series final, was seeking the first career professional title on grass courts. However, the 1993 Wimbledon finalist and four-time major tournament champion earned $30,000 with the runner-up showing as well as 800 ranking points that further solidified his No. 1 ranking on the Outback Champions Series.

“If you watched this match at all you could see how difficult it is to return Pat’s serve,” said Courier. “He really spotted his serve beautifully once he got in to the rhythm today and from there I’m struggling because he’s such a beautiful volleyer. If he gets his hands on anything at the net then it seems the point’s over. I felt under pressure because I wasn’t getting to break point on his serve then that’s a lot of pressure on mine. He’s a great champion. He’s obviously a great grass-court champion. You don’t win Wimbledon if you’re not. It’s disappointing because I was hoping to win my first grass-court title.”

In Sunday’s third-place match, Todd Martin defeated Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-6 (Champions Tie-Breaker).

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John 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 Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Jimmy Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in 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 points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.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 “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, private corporate outings 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.

Sampras, Courier And Wilander To Headline 2009 Breezeplay Championships

NEW YORK, JULY 22, 2009 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Pete Sampras will lead the field of champions returning to The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte to compete in the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades, to be held September 24-27. The tournament is the sixth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

Joining Sampras to compete on the hard court stadium court at The Palisades will be defending champion Jim Courier, Hall of Famer Mats Wilander and three-time finalist Todd Martin. Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be purchased at 877-332-TIXX or by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com. The Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades will be played over four days with the winner earning $60,000.

Sampras will be competing in Charlotte for a second time after capturing the title in 2007. The seven-time Wimbledon champion and owner of 14 major singles titles won the title in Charlotte two years ago defeating Todd Martin 6-3, 6-4 in the championship match. Earlier this year, Sampras won Outback Champions Series events in Boston and Los Cabos, Mexico. He will be seeking his sixth career Outback Champions Series event in Charlotte after joining the global champions tennis circuit in 2007.

Courier will be seeking his third title in Charlotte after winning titles at The Palisades in 2006, defeating Martin 5-7, 7-6 (6), (10-4 in Champions Tie-Breaker) in the final, and in 2008, defeating Martin again 6-2, 3-6, (10-5 in Champions Tie-Breaker) in the final. Courier, a two-time French and Australian Open champion, currently leads the rankings on the Outback Champions Series with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and John McEnroe with 1300 points.

Wilander will be making his debut in Charlotte in 2009. Like Sampras and Courier, Wilander is a former world No. 1 player and has won  three French and Australian Open titles and one U.S. Open singles title.

Martin has played in Charlotte in all three previous editions of the event, reaching the championship match all three times – losing to Courier in 2006 and 2008 and to Sampras in 2007. Martin was a singles finalist at the Australian Open in 1994 and the US Open in 1999.

The remaining players in the Breezeplay field will be announced at a later date.

The Palisades community is renowned for its environmentally sensitive land planning that spotlights the natural topography of the land, respecting the natural beauty of the landscape and weaving open space into each part of the community design. In keeping with this stewardship, The Palisades is partnering with BreezePlay, LLC of Charlotte to make the Champions Series a green event that will incorporate significant energy reduction and conservation, materials recycling, and an EcoVillage by BreezePlay. The EcoVillage will feature products and services to educate attendees about ways that even small steps can make a big difference in saving energy and protecting the environment.

About Outback Champions Series
Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, John 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 points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

About InsideOut Sports & Entertainment
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.