date published: April 23, 2007

5 questions with...

Jim Courier
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.