knock out

WHO DESERVES TO COME OUT ON TOP AT ROLAND GARROS?

These final few days of Roland Garros will seem like a fairytale for two female players who have waited a lifetime for the opportunity ahead of them.

Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone have battled the odds and their own doubts to reach their first Grand Slam final and overcome the hopes and dreams of Jelena Jankovic and Elena Dementieva respectively who would also have been debuting. Now it’s time to get ready to face each other in a bid to add another name to the list of the many women who have hoisted one of the four majors aloft throughout history.

There has been much talk this week of who “deserves” it. It is one of the most overused phrases in sport and, in fact, is utter nonsense.

The highlight of knock-out competition is the shocks and surprises isn’t it? If tennis was played out in a league format like many other sports than Federer and the Williams sisters would dominate every year wouldn’t they? They consistently perform better than a lot of other players on the tour and would surely drop less matches than their competitors.

However, playing as we do, one slip up and it’s goodnight. So it comes down to not who you’ve beaten, but who is next. This talk of Stosur “deserving” it because she has beaten Henin and Serena and also that of Jankovic because of the career she has held is utter nonsense.

You have to go out there in the right frame of mind for every single opponent and be ready to defeat players of every style and calibre. The player who “deserves” to win the Slam is the one that beats everybody in front of them. Whether that be Federer, Nadal and Djokovic or the drunkard nextdoor and a three-legged dog.

The back stories are fantastic. From the problems of a destroyed childhood home to a Grand Slam final it has been a long and incredible journey for Stosur while Schiavone is the toast of Italy as she becomes the first female from her country to grace such an occasion.

While Dementieva’s retirement will not be the way she would have liked it to happen she’s not going to be one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The challenge for whichever one comes out on top this weekend is now taking this in to the grass-court season and continuing with the drive to beat all and sundry before them and prove that they really “deserve” to be thought of as a champion.

It doesn’t matter who they’ve beaten to get here, it’s what they do now that matters. This is the chance of a lifetime for both these women and I can’t wait to see who “deservedly” becomes the Champion by controlling the situation better than their opponent and beating their winners in the Paris clay.

Courier Beats Rain, Pernfors In Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 25, 2009 – Jim Courier defeated Mikael Pernfors 6-4, 6-2 just ahead of arriving rain showers Friday evening to advance into the semifinals of the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.  Courier will face Todd Martin in Saturday’s semifinals in a re-match of the 2006 and 2008 singles finals at the Charlotte event on the Outback Champions Series global tennis circuit.

Friday night’s other quarterfinal match between Pat Cash and Jimmy Arias was moved indoors due to the rain with Cash advancing into a semifinal meeting with Pete Sampras with a 6-4, 6-3.

Sampras and Cash will play the afternoon semifinal on Saturday at noon,
while Courier and Martin will compete in the evening semifinal to start at 5 pm.

Courier was happy to finish his match outdoors Friday night before the rain suspended play.

“I wanted to get through that match,” said Courier. “No one likes rain
delays when you’re already warmed up and playing. I was able to become more aggressive by necessity. I didn’t want to move much on the court so it forced me to go on the offense and play aggressively. If the rain got any harder at all it would have been unplayable and lines would have been too wet.”

The Courier-Martin semifinal will mark the fourth straight year the two
former U.S. Davis Cup teammates have squared off at The Palisades. In 2006, in the first-year of the event in Charlotte, Courier defeated Martin 5-7, 7-6 (6), 10-4 (Champions Tie-Breaker) in the singles final, while in 2008 Courier again got the better of Martin in the championship match, winning 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker). In 2007, Martin defeated Courier 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-5 in round-robin play prior to the tournament switching to a single knock-out format.

Martin will be looking to reach the Charlotte final for a fourth straight year. In addition to his losses to Courier in the 2006 and 2008 finals, he lost to Sampras in the Palisades final in 2007.

The remaining schedule of play for the tournament is as follows.

Saturday, Sept. 26
Starting at Noon
Pete Sampras vs. Pat Cash
Followed by Doubles

Starting at 5 pm
Todd Martin vs. Jim Courier
Followed by Doubles

Sunday, Sept. 27
Starting at 2 pm
Third Place Match
Followed by
Championship Match

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 Arias in the final. Cash successfully defended his title on the grass courts at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, defeating Courier in the final. Following Charlotte, the next event on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Surprise, Ariz., where Andre Agassi will make his debut Oct. 8-11.

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 seven 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.

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, 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.