hall of famers

Pending Fatherhood Forces Chang to Withdraw From Champions Series Event in Grand Cayman

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Michael Chang has withdrawn from the 2010 The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships this week due to the pending birth of his first child. Chang will be replaced in the field by 1986 French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors. Rounding out the field at the clay-court Champions Series event are Hall of Famers Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier, former US and Australian Open champion Marat Safin and former top 10 U.S. standouts Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

Said Chang, “I was very much looking forward to competing in the event at the Cayman Islands however at this time I need to be with my wife as we eagerly await the birth of our first child.”

Chang recently played his first event on the Champions Series since 2006, finishing in third place at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz. Chang married former two-time NCAA singles champion from Stanford Amber Liu on October 18, 2008.

This year’s Grand Cayman tournament will feature for the first time a multi-day pro-am experience that will be combined with the world class tennis competition to create an exclusive tennis destination happening. All six competing pros will participate in the pro-am that will see the legends playing matches and enjoying meals and social time with participating amateurs over multiple days. Tennis fans interested in participating in the pro-am with the legends can find ticket, travel and tournament information by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Edberg, Courier and Safin have combined to win 12 major singles titles and each achieved the world’s No. 1 ranking. The event will be played on red clay courts in a single-knockout format event with each player vying for a first-prize paycheck of $45,000 and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 ranked player on the Champions Series circuit.

In the opening quarterfinal match at 7 pm on November 5, Pernfors will play Krickstein, followed by Courier taking on Arias. On Saturday, November 6, starting at 2 pm, the winner of the Pernfors-Krickstein match will play Safin while the winner of the Courier-Arias match will play Edberg. The schedule of play on Sunday, November 7 will feature the third-place match between the two losing semifinalists starting at 1 pm followed by the championship match.

To be eligible to compete on the 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. Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the Champions Series, followed by Pete Sampras and Todd Martin. Courier won the 2009 edition of The Residences At the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships beating Arias 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

Earlier this year on the Champions Series circuit, former U.S. and Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe in May to win the Staples Champions Cup in Boston and take over the No. 1 Champions Series ranking. Philippoussis maintained his ranking by winning the title at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., in October, defeating Courier in the final. Former French Open semifinalist Fernando Meligeni of Brazil was the surprise winner of the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series, winning the title in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by defeating Philippoussis in the final in March.

ANOTHER SCALP FOR HENIN: THE FRIDAY FIVE

By Maud Watson

Henin Collects Another Scalp – The weekend before it was Flipkins and Pennetta, and this past weekend it was current world No. 20, Nadia Petrova. Henin once again vanquished her foe in straight sets in an exhibition match in Cairo. Granted, Henin has not faced the likes of either Williams sister, Clijsters, or any other Top 10 players for that matter, but there’s no denying that she’s looked sharp in the early stages of her comeback.  I, for one, am licking my chops to see what she can do at the 2010 Aussie Open.

The Ban is Lifted – It was nice to see the ITF end things on a positive note for 2009. After what I personally consider some questionable rulings on their part, I was thrilled to read that the ITF did the right thing by agreeing to suspend the bans that had been put on Belgian tennis players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse. It is unfortunate that neither player will be able to play the Australian Open given that entries are now closed (unless of course someone is kind enough to offer them a wildcard), but at least they will not be subjected to losing an entire year of their careers.

Back in the Mix – At the end of last week, the IOC announced that Mixed Doubles would be a part of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It’s been a long time since mixed doubles was included in the Olympics, with American Hall of Famers Richard Norris Williams II and Hazel Wightman being the last pair to compete and win in the event back in 1924. Not sure if it’s too early to start taking bets, but who’s got odds on Serbia or India taking gold?  (And who wishes there were still the possibility of seeing Federer and Hingis take on the competition?)

The Boys are Back In Town – The town of Abu Dhabi that is.  The exhibition will feature six of the world’s top 10 players on the ATP World Tour, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  The event was a great success in 2009, and it’s definitely shaping up as a great way to kick off the 2010 tennis season.

King Juan Carlos – In the annual Spanish Masters event, which was held in Bilbao Spain, Juan Carlos Ferrero proved he still had plenty of game left in the tank, when he defeated countryman Tommy Robredo in a three-set semifinal encounter before going on to take the title over Nicolas Almagro in three tight sets. It couldn’t have been a better way to end the year for the former world No. 1 and 2003 Roland Garros champion, who earlier this year had slipped to No. 115 in the rankings and required a wildcard to play in Wimbledon. He put together a remarkable summer and finished his year just outside of the Top 20.  Fingers crossed that he can build on this success in 2010 and fans around the world will treated to some vintage Ferrero.  Vamos!

Field of Tennis Greats to join Andre Agassi in Surprise, Ariz.

NEW YORK, May 18, 2009 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced today the full field of players who will join Andre Agassi at the 2009 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., to be played Oct. 8-11. Completing the eight-player field will be Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Mats Wilander, 2003 Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis, 1992 Olympic silver medalist Wayne Ferreira, 1986 French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors and former U.S. Davis Cup standouts Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

Tickets for the event, which will mark the Outback Champions Series tournament debut for Agassi, are on sale starting today and can be purchased at Ticketmaster, by calling 800.745.3000, on site at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex or by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships is one of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. The tournament will be an eight-player, single-knock-out event with the winner earning $60,000.

During his 21-year ATP career, Agassi won 61 career singles titles, including two U.S. Open titles (1994, 1999), four Australian Open titles (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003), Wimbledon in 1992 and the French Open in 1999. He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in men’s singles in 1996 and helped the U.S. to victories in the Davis Cup in 1990, 1992 and 1995. Wilander, Philippoussis, Pernfors and Krickstein will all be making their first appearances in Surprise, while Courier, Ferreira and Arias will be competing in the event for the second straight year. At last year’s debut event in Surprise, John McEnroe won the singles title, defeating Todd Martin 3-6, 7-6 (3), (11-9 Champions Tie-Breaker) in the title match.

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 Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Newport, R.I. (August 20-23), Charlotte (Sept. 24-27) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21) will also host Outback Champions Series events later this year.

Courier leads the current Stanford Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and McEnroe with 1300 points. Arias sits at a career-high No. 4 Outback Champions Series ranking with 1050 points, followed by Pat Cash with 700 points at No. 5 and Philippoussis at No. 6 with 600 points. Wilander, Pernfors and Rafter are tied at No. 7 with 500 points, while Martin rounds out the top 10 with 400 points.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including 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 Stanford Champions Rankings 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.