Safin to Make Champions Series Debut in Rio
NEW YORK — Marat Safin, the charismatic winner of two major singles titles and one of 24 men to rank No. 1 in the world, will make his debut on the Champions Series tennis circuit at the 2010 Rio Champions Cup to be played March 12-14 at the Maracanãzinho Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Safin will become the ninth former world No. 1 player to compete on the U.S.-based international tennis circuit for champion tennis players.
Safin will be joined in the eight-player, single-knock out event by Jim Courier, Mats Wilander, Mark Philippoussis, Cedric Pioline, Wayne Ferreira, Mikael Pernfors and Fernando Meligeni. The Rio Champions Cup will be the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series circuit and will feature $150,000 in total prize money, with the singles champion earning $60,000. Tickets can be purchased by calling 5521-3005-4023 or by visiting ChampionsSeriesTennis.com
“It is going to be a lot of fun to play in Brazil for the first time at the Rio Champions Cup and join some of the great legends in tennis,” said Safin, who turned 30 on January 27. “It will be an interesting change to be one of the young guys on the tour again and I look forward to playing in front of the Brazilian tennis fans.”
Safin became the first Russian to win the U.S. Open in 2000 when he shocked Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the men’s singles final. Safin rode the momentum of winning his first major singles title to earn the No. 1 ranking later that year and rank in the top spot for a total of nine weeks during his career. He reached the final of the Australian Open in 2002 and again in 2004, losing to Thomas Johansson and Roger Federer, respectively, but broke through to win his second major title in Australia in 2005, defeating Lleyton Hewitt in the final. Safin, who also reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2002 and at Wimbledon in 2008, won 15 career singles titles and guided Russia to Davis Cup titles in 2002 and 2006.
The Rio Champions Cup is part of the global Champions Series tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. To be eligible to compete, 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. Each event features $150,000 in prize money - with the tournament champion earning $60,000 - and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1. Each tournament champion earns 800 ranking points.
Jim Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the Champions Series, followed by Pete Sampras and Todd Martin. John McEnroe won the inaugural Rio Champions Cup in 2009, defeating Courier 6-2, 6-3 in the final.
The full 2010 Champions Series schedule of tournaments will be announced in the near future. The first tournament in the United States - the Staples Champions Cup - will be held April 29-May 2 in Boston, Mass., and will feature Bjorn Borg playing in his first tournament in the U.S. in 10 years.
With Safin and Borg’s commitment to play in 2010, the five-year old Champions Series features 10 former world No. 1 players competing on the circuit, joining Courier, McEnroe, Wilander, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg, Thomas Muster and Patrick Rafter.
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 Champions Series tennis circuit, a collection of tournaments 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 2009, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to InsideOutSE.com or ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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