Philippoussis Beats Courier for Title in AZ
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Mark Philippoussis defeated Jim Courier 6-4, 6-1 Sunday to win the singles title at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at the Surprise Recreation Campus. Philippoussis picked up a first-prize paycheck of $54,000 and his second career singles title on the Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.
Philippoussis reached his first career Champions Series final earlier this year when he posted a runner-up showing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March, losing to Fernando Meligeni. He then won his first career Champions Series title in May, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Staples Champions Cup in Boston, Mass. He said following his victory Sunday over Courier that his goal is to return to play matches again on the ATP World Tour.
“I’ve just fallen back in love with the sport on the Champions Series,” said Philippoussis, who will turn 34 on November 7. “It’s just great and since I’ve gotten that love back, my body has been getting stronger. I feel I can hit the ball just as hard as the guys on the tour, so why not give it a go if I’m having this much fun?”
Courier agreed that the Australian’s game was positioned for return ATP-level appearances.
“When Mark plays well and he plays that first strike tennis, he can play with anybody,” said Courier. “The question is can his body hold up to the rigors of the tour on a day-to-day basis. All of us who are in this sport can appreciate the racquet skills he brings to the table.”
Philippoussis last played on the ATP World Tour in 2006 and first played on the Champions Series in 2007 after recovering from right knee surgery. During his multi-year rehabilitations through his career, he has undergone six knee surgeries — three on the right knee and three on the left — but this year, he is finally beginning to feel at full strength.
Against Courier, Philippoussis fought off two break points with aces at 4-4 in the first set and never looked back from there. He broke Courier’s serve in the next game to secure the first set and dominated the second set, consistently blasting aces and forehand winners passed the two-time French and Australian Open champion.
“My first serve was great, but my second serve was the best this week by far I thought,” said Philippoussis, a singles finalist at the US Open in 1998 and at Wimbledon in 2003. “I knew (Courier) was going to come in at my second serve, so I knew it had to be good and it was.”
Said Courier, “I needed a stepladder because his second serves were so high. From the first second serve he hit I was lunging and trying to climb up the ladder to get the ball. Credit to Mark, he won this match and I didn’t lose it.”
Philippoussis acknowledged that some recent practice sessions with U.S. No. 1 Andy Roddick in Southern California helped him play at a high-level. “Roddick came to San Diego, where I live,” he said. “I hit with him while he was down there at La Jolla Beach & Racquet Club.”
The 40-year-old Courier, who was appearing in his 15th career Champions Series event, earned a runner-up paycheck of $32,000.
In Sunday’s third-place match, Michael Chang edged John McEnroe 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6).
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships is a third-year event on the Champions Series tennis circuit, the New York-based global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. To be eligible to compete on the 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. 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. Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the Champions Series, followed by Pete Sampras and Todd Martin.
Former U.S. and Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe to win the Staples Champions Cup in Boston in May and take over the No. 1 Champions Series ranking. Former French Open semifinalist Fernando Meligeni of Brazil was the surprise winner of the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series, winning the title in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by defeating Philippoussis in the final.
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 www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America®
Founded in 1988, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) provides a comprehensive, patient-centered treatment model that fully integrates traditional, state-of-the-art medical treatments with scientifically supported complementary therapies such as nutrition, naturopathic medicine, psychological counseling, physical therapy, chiropractic care and spiritual support to meet the special, whole-person needs of advanced stage cancer patients. With a network of cancer treatment hospitals and community oncology programs in Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington, CTCA encourages patients and their families to participate in treatment decisions with its Patient Empowerment MedicineSM model. For more information about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, go to cancercenter.com.
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