outback

Agassi To Face Martin In Outback Champions Series Final In Surprise

SURPRISE, Ariz., Oct. 10, 2009 – Andre Agassi advanced into the final of the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Wayne Ferreira of South Africa. Agassi, playing in his debut event on the Outback Champions Series tennis circuit, will face Todd Martin in Sunday’s final at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex. Martin advanced to the final with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over fellow American Aaron Krickstein in Saturday evening’s second semifinal.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise is the seventh and final event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

Agassi jumped on Ferreira early and opened the match by breaking serve with a series of well-struck backhand returns. Agassi hit two aces in each of his next three service games and broke Ferreira again to close out the first set 6-3. Ferreira was able to break Agassi’s serve twice in the second set, but was unable to solidify his breaks with service holds and succumbed in straight sets.

“I was able to find my swing early which was really the key to the whole match,” said Agassi. “I served well and really was able to run away with the first set. I knew which shot I was going to hit and that’s such a huge difference to be able to do that. I played a few really good games to hold serve and things just got very comfortable.”

During their ATP careers, Agassi held an 11-0 career record against Ferreira, while losing only one set in their 11 meetings. Agassi’s final-round match with Martin will be a re-match of their five-set U.S. Open final 10 years ago in 1999.

Said Agassi of his 1999 U.S. Open win over Martin, “I think about that match a lot. It was a really good time in my life and that was a beautiful match.”

Martin needed only one service break to defeat Krickstein and advance into his 11th career Outback Champions Series final and his first of the 2009 season. After taking the first set in a tie-breaker, Martin registered the only service break of the match to take a 3-1 lead and held on to advance into the final.

“I served great tonight, especially in the tiebreaker,” said Martin. “He knows where I am vulnerable so serving well is important.”

Said Krickstein, “It was a one break match. Todd served extremely well and there’s not much you can do when that happens. He had 15 or 20 aces and was hitting a lot of corners. This match was all about the serve.”

Sunday’s order of play is as follows;
12pm
Wayne Ferreira vs. Aaron Krickstein – Third Place Match
Followed by
Andre Agassi vs. Todd Martin – Championship Match

John McEnroe won the inaugural event in 2008 in Surprise defeating Martin in the final. Ticket, travel and tournament information can be found by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

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 Jim 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. Pat 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. Courier won his second title of the season in Charlotte in September, defeating Sampras in the final.

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 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.

Courier Tops Sampras To Win Breezeplay Title In Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 27, 2009 – Jim Courier defeated Pete Sampras 2-6, 6-4, 10-8 (Champions Tie-breaker) Sunday to win the singles title at the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. The victory was Courier’s first over Sampras since the first round of the 1997 Italian Open in Rome and his first on a hard court over the 14-time major singles champion since the quarterfinals of the 1991 US Open.

Courier earned $60,000 by winning the title in Charlotte, his ninth career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. Courier also earned 800 ranking points to extend his lead as the No. 1 player on the Outback Champions Series.

After splitting the first two sets, the two Hall of Famers played the customary first-to-10 point “Champions” tie-breaker, played in lieu of a third set. Courier clinched victory when Sampras double-faulted at 8-9 in the tie-breaker.

“That last double fault was hard on match point,” said Sampras. “I was serving right into the sun on that one and it hurt a little bit.”

Said Courier, “I wasn’t expecting that match point to end on a double fault. He was going for 110 mph second serves and sometimes he’s good enough to get away with that serve.”

During their ATP careers, Sampras and Courier played a total of 20 times, Sampras winning on 16 occasions, including the Wimbledon final in 1993. Sampras won their only previous meeting on the Outback Champions Series, a 6-2, 6-4 win in round-robin play during the 2007 event in Athens, Greece.

“I think he was having a hard time picking up my serve at the beginning,” said Sampras, who earned $30,000 for the runner-up showing. “Eventually he got there and started predicting it. Jim’s a guy who’s always going to compete and I knew that once we started the second set. I knew he was going to compete for that second set. I had a few chances in that tiebreaker and just couldn’t get it. It was disappointing.”

Due to weekend rains in Charlotte, Courier was forced to play his semifinal match against Todd Martin at 10 am on Sunday, postponed from Saturday evening. Following his 7-5, 6-2 semifinal win over Martin, Courier was able rest until the final with Sampras started at 4 pm, following Martin’s 7-5, 6-2 win over Pat Cash in the event’s third-place match.

“I was pretty relieved when his match point serve went out,” said Courier of the final point of the singles final. “I felt flat in the first set. I thought I’d be loose, but my legs felt tight and lethargic. I definitely got more boost in my legs and my serve really started to click. If my serve clicks I can hang in the match.”

The loss marked only the second time that Sampras has been defeated on the Outback Champions Series since joining the circuit in 2007. In 2008, he lost to John McEnroe 2-6, 7-5 10-4 (Champions Tie-breaker) in round-robin play in Boston.

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. 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.

Sampras Advances To Charlotte Final

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 26, 2009 – Pete Sampras overcame two rain delays and soggy and moist conditions Saturday to defeat Pat Cash 6-4, 6-3 to advance into the singles final of the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. Sampras will play the winner of the other semifinal between Jim Courier and Todd Martin, which was postponed until Sunday morning due to rain. Sampras will be seeking his third singles title this year on the Outback Champions Series after winning titles in Boston and Los Cabos, Mexico.

Sampras and Cash were scheduled to play their semifinal match at noon on Saturday, but did not begin the match until four-and-a-half hours later due to rain in the Charlotte area. Sampras won the first set 6-4 and led 1-0 in the second set before rain again delayed play for another three hours. Sampras came out swinging after returning to the court, eager to finish off the victory. He broke Cash’s serve in the eighth game of the second set before serving out the match in the next game.

“We were eager to finish this match,” said Sampras, the owner of 14 major singles titles who also won the Outback Champions Series title in Charlotte in 2007. “We especially wanted to finish it for the fans who have been here all day. These were tricky conditions from the beginning. Even when we started playing again, it kept getting really wet out there and it could have been dangerous.”

Said Cash, “It was a good bit wet out there. The rain has been driving us all insane. The fans have been great and everyone’s been great to get the courts dry and get us out there to play.”

Sunday’s schedule of play is now as follows;

Sunday, Sept. 27
Starting at 10 am
Jim Courier vs. Todd Martin – Second Semifinal
Starting at 2 pm
Pat Cash vs. Jim Courier/Todd Martin loser – Third Place Match
Followed by
Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier/Todd Martin winner – Championship Match

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.

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.

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.

Martin Edges Krickstein; To Vie For Fourth Straight Charlotte Final

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 24, 2009 – Todd Martin defeated fellow American Aaron Krickstein 2-6, 7-6(3), 11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker) Thursday to advance into the semifinals of the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.  Martin, a singles finalist at the Outback Champions Series event in Charlotte for all three years of the tournament’s existence, will look to advance to a fourth straight final when he next plays the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between Jim Courier and Mikael Pernfors.

In 2006, in the first-year of the event in Charlotte, Martin reached the tournament final, falling to Courier 5-7, 7-6 (6), 10-4 (Champions Tie-Breaker). In 2007, Martin lost to Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match, while last year, Martin reached the final at The Palisades for a third straight year, losing to Courier again 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker).

Against Krickstein, Martin had his serve broken twice in the first set as Krickstein surprised Martin with penetrating forehand returns and consistent play from the baseline. Martin appeared frustrated and flustered on court and struggled with his consistency, but was able to hold serve six times in the second set to force the tie-breaker. Martin connected on some strongly hit forehands and timely first serves to win the tie-breaker 7-3 and force the first-to-10-point “Champions Tie-Breaker,” played in lieu of the third-set. Martin jumped out to an 8-4 lead and appeared ready to cruise to the come-back win but Krickstein rallied to win five straight points to hold match point at 9-8. Martin, however, rallied to save the match point and win the next two points to close out the match.

“The match for me was horrible in the beginning,” said Martin. “I knew it couldn’t get any worse. I always play my best when I’m not playing to win. At one point tonight I was just trying to lose gracefully. The courts are very slow which doesn’t suit me well. I rushed an awful lot in the first set and Aaron played really well.”

Martin will have Friday off as Courier and Pernfors play to determine who will play the 1999 U.S. Open singles finalist in the semifinals. Courier and Pernfors, however, were on the court Thursday night as both players competed in a special celebrity match that opened up the evening session, with Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory pairing with Pernfors to defeat Olympic Gold Medalist Skater Dan Jansen and Courier 6-4.

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

Friday, Sept. 25
Starting at 7 pm
Jim Courier vs. Mikael Pernfors
Followed By
Pat Cash vs. Jimmy Arias

Saturday, Sept. 26
Starting at 2 pm
Doubles Match
Followed By
Pete Sampras vs. Pat Cash/Jimmy Arias winner
Starting at 7 pm
Doubles Match
Followed By
Todd Martin winner vs. Jim Courier/Mikael Pernfors winner

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.

Newest Boston Red Sox Pitcher: Mats Wilander

The Boston Red Sox may be looking for a new pitcher during its bid to reach the Major League Baseball Playoffs. Could that pitcher be tennis Hall of Famer Mats Wilander? The Swede threw out the first pitch at the Pawtucket Red Sox game Thursday night to promote the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup at the nearby International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Wilander lost to Pat Cash 7-5, 6-4 Friday in the quarterfinals of the event, and is celebrating his 45th birthday in Newport on Saturday by playing in an exhibition doubles match along with Mikael Pernfors, Jimmy Arias and Wayne Ferreira. Red Sox pitching ace Tim Wakefield pitched for Pawtucket on Friday night as he looks to return to form after injury and return to Boston during their playoff run. For more info on the Outback Champions Series, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Photos courtesy of the International Tennis Hall of Fame