5 Minutes With… Jim Courier

Tennis Player Jim Courier

Former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam Champion Jim Courier sat down with us to share his favorite memories, Wimbledon favorites, and what to expect in his upcoming duel with James Blake at the Connecticut Open Legends Event!

Connecticut Open: What was the most memorable match of your career?

Courier: The first tournament that I won was in Basel, Switzerland. I beat Stefan Edberg in five sets. I won my first ATP title in 1989, so that was certainly meaningful. The first Major that I won was the French Open in 1991. In 1992, being a part of the Davis Cup Championship team alongside Pete Sampras, Andre Aggasi and John McEnroe was really special as well. Those are a series of firsts for me that are memorable, and also being ranked World No. 1 for the first time, which was a pretty significant moment.

CO: As we transition into the grass-court season, what do you feel is the hardest part of making a move from clay to grass?

Courier: Probably the movement is the toughest part for everybody, because you’re used to the clay surface where you can slide comfortably and the ball pops up into a high strike zone. Then you move to a court where you almost have to tip-toe around when the grass is really green and fresh, otherwise you’ll slip and lose your footing. You have to be a lot lower, for a lower bounce. I think that’s a really difficult transition. The speed of the ball through the court is also different, as well as the height. So, it’s a tough move from the clay to the grass. I think the grass courts have gotten much better, and the bounces are much higher than they were historically. But it’s still difficult for everybody.

CO: Who’s the toughest player you’ve faced on clay?

Courier: The best clay-court players of my era were probably Thomas Muster and Sergi Bruguera, as far as difficulty goes.

CO: With Wimbledon approaching, who are your favorites?

Courier: It’s an interesting time. Federer just won in Halle, Germany, and he loves the grass, so he’s definitely in the conversation. Novak Djokovic is also in the conversation, along with Nadal and Murray. Your big four are still your big four. Then you have the younger guns like Grigor Dimitrov, who just won Queens, and Ernests Gulbus could play well. On the women’s side, it’s the Serena show. She’s certainly vulnerable, as we saw in Paris, but she’s the favorite. Then you go down the line with Sharapova, Azarenka if she’s healthy. All the usual suspects.

CO: You’re playing James Blake in front of his hometown crowd. What was your favorite place to play on Tour, and did you have a hometown event?

Courier: I really had two hometown events. Key Biscayne, Florida, was a hometown event because I’m from Central Florida. I also trained quite a lot in the California desert, so Indian Wells also felt like a home event.

CO: Why should fans come to see the Legends Event in New Haven this August?

Courier: I think they’re going to get a great night of entertainment. They know they’ll see high-quality WTA tennis, and after that they’ll see James and myself. We play well and know how to entertain the crowd. I think it’s a great combination of entertainment for the evening.

CO: What was something unique that you carried in your tennis bag?

Courier:  I always carried a book. These days everyone reads on tablets, but I always did that because you had so much down time waiting to play. That’s really about the only thing outside of the ordinary.

CO: Are you currently reading anything right now?

Courier: I’m not reading anything currently. Just reading the newspaper.

CO: Netflix or going to the movies?

Courier:  Both! I went to see 22 Jump Street on Monday, which was hilarious. But we definitely watch a lot of stuff on Netflix and cable at home too.

CO: If you hadn’t become a professional tennis player, what would you have wanted to be?

Courier: I would have wanted to be a professional baseball player. That’s the other sport I’ve always loved.

CO: Have you been to New Haven, and do you have a choice for pizza?

Courier: I haven’t done the pizza, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying it.


Thanks for your time, Jim!

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: