TSD Q&A: On the Court with Jim Courier

The US Davis Cup Captain and former world #1 tennis player Jim Courier will be visiting the Greenville Country Club next week for the Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association‘s Spring Benefit. The local non-profit organization combines tennis instruction with classroom lessons to motivate at-risk youth. While this is the fifth year that RSTTA has brought a well-known tennis figure to Delaware, it’s the first time Rodney Street has landed a legend who was ranked #1 in the world for 58 weeks of his career.

___7408908Courier was a singles champion who twice won the Australian Open (’92 and ’93) and the French Open (’91 and ’92) and reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open. He has achieved success on and off the court with loads of talent, endless hours of practice and the drive to win. Courier has continued his distinctive career as a commentator for The Tennis Channel and is the founder and manager of a seniors tennis tour that includes former champions Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Patrick Rafter and, of course, Courier.

Town Square Delaware: You had an extraordinary career with so many highlights and great victories. Are there one or two moments that have particularly stayed with you?
Jim Courier: If I have to pick out a few moments they would be my first title, a 5 set win in the finals of Basel over Stefan Edberg at the age of 19 and winning my first major, the French Open with a 5 set win over Andre Agassi.

TSD: Your dedication, focus and hard work were undoubtedly important aspects of your professional success. Is there something about tennis that requires a higher level of commitment from pro tennis athletes? 
Courier: Tennis players have more responsibility than most athletes due to the individual nature of the sport. Players don’t have teammates to rely on and have to make all of the coaching adjustments in-match themselves so their is a big maturity level requirement at the top levels of the game.

TSD: When you were playing on tour, did you think much about what you would do post-tennis, and did it look anything like what you are doing now? And do you have any advice for aspiring pros about being successful in life after their playing careers?
Courier: I did think that TV would be a part of the next phase but am pleasantly surprised that the business side of the sport has also proven to be an interesting place to spend time and energy.

TSD: How much coaching do you offer versus cheering in your role as Davis Cup captain? Are the players receptive to pointed guidance?

I enjoy working with the US players and their personal coaches as a consultant and resource to be drawn upon as needed. It’s been rewarding to spend time with the players and try to help them improve along the way.

TSD: We’re delighted to have you in Delaware this week. Have you ever visited the First State?

Courier: I played team tennis in Delaware many years ago. And I am looking forward to coming back to Wilmington next week!

The RSTTA Spring Benefit is next Thursday, May 8, and tickets to the event are still available at www.rstta.org.

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