time greats

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.

JIM COURIER BLOG: FEDERER SAFELY BEST IN OPEN ERA; COMPARISON TOUGH TO OTHER ERAS

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 8 – Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier, writing on his blog on www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com, has labeled 2009 French Open champion Roger Federer as safely the player with the best record in the Open era of tennis (since 1968), but says it is impossible to make comparisons with champions of other eras of tennis.

“I think you can safely say that Roger has the best record of any player in the Open era but it is really impossible to compare it with any of the players prior to 1968,” wrote Courier on the official website of the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 that he co-founded in 2005. “By winning the French and equaling Pete’s record of 14 majors and joining Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi in an exclusive club of men to win all four major singles titles in a career, Roger’s record is right up there against any of the all-time greats.

“He still has plenty of runway left to add to his record if he stays healthy. Looking at Open era achievements, you have to look at Laver’s 1969 Grand Slam, Pete’s 14 majors, Pete finishing the year ranked No. 1 for six straight years, Lendl reaching eight straight US Open finals, Roger’s five straight Wimbledons and five straight US Opens (and still counting in Flushing) and Roger’s semifinal or better streak at a major (also still counting).”

Courier won two French Open titles in 1991 and 1992 and also won a pair of Australian Open titles in 1992 and 1993. He is one of 15 men in tennis history to play in all four major singles finals, losing the 1993 Wimbledon final to Pete Sampras and the 1991 US Open final to Stefan Edberg. Courier is now the co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, the New York-based sports marketing and event company that runs the Outback Champions Series. Courier can also be followed via his Twitter account at www.twitter.com/jimcourier.

Courier is currently the top-ranked player on the 2009 Outback Champions Series after winning his eighth career title in April in the Cayman Islands. Courier leads the field at the next event of the series – the Hall of Fame Champions Cup held on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame August 20-23 in Newport, R.I.

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

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 defeated Jimmy Arias in the final if Grand Cayman in April. Outback Champions Series events will next 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).

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.