date published: April 23, 2007
by Josh B. Wardrop
In 1992, Jim Courier was the world’s #1 ranked male tennis player. Today, the 36-year-old—who retired in 2000—is a philanthropist and tennis analyst, and still plays competitively. He’s the co-founder of the Outback Champions Series, a tournament that brings Courier and other former champs like John McEnroe and Pete Sampras to Boston’s Agganis Arena from May 2–6.
Q: What inspired you to start the Champions Cup series?
A: There was, and is, a champions circuit in Europe, but nothing like that in the U.S. I started asking players, “If we built it, will you come?” They were enthusiastic, and so were Outback Steak House, our sponsors.
Q: Who did you consider your toughest competition during your ATP tour days?
A: The three I played most were Michael Chang, Andre Aggassi and Pete Sampras, and I had the least success against Sampras. So, I’m excited Pete is doing the Champions Cup—I’ll find out whether I’ve figured him out any better!
Q: After all these years, is McEnroe still as competitive as ever?
A: John is every bit as intense today as when he was 19—very competitive, fit, eager and engaging with fans. I have no doubt he’ll bring that old passion to these matches.
Q: Who do you think are the top male and female players in tennis today?
A: In terms of dominance, you have to say Roger Federer and Serena Williams. They’re the two headliners for the sport, in my opinion.
Q: Do you miss the tour days?
A: These days, I own my tennis—it doesn’t own me. I still get to compete against people I respect without the same mental and physical grind. I think I’m more prepared and inspired when I play now, and when the bell is rung, the old adrenaline surge still takes over.