Former Tennis Great Jim Courier Talks Tennis in Interview at Charity Event

Sam BlumCorrespondent IJune 25, 2011

Former Tennis Great Jim Courier Talks Tennis in Interview at Charity Event

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    On Wednesday afternoon, former tennis great and current U.S. Davis Cup Captain, Jim Courier took time out of his day to go down to Rockefeller Center in New York City to give some tennis lessons and play games with children from the City Parks Foundation.

    The event was set up by HSBC bank in which they installed the only grass-surfaced court in all of New York City.

    Before beginning the lessons, Courier spoke with the media, and I had the opportunity to do a Q&A with the former No. 1 player and four-time Grand Slam champion. 

Jim Courier on American Inability to Win a Grand Slam in Men's Tennis

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    From 1990 to 2003, American men accumulated 26 Grand Slam championships. Since 2003, there has only been one, the U.S. Open victory in 2003 by Andy Roddick.

    Which players on tour, if any, are capable of winning a Grand Slam in the next year or two?

    Well sure, I think Andy Roddick has shown that he's a contender in a lot of majors. Wimbledon has been his best major since he won the U.S. Open.

    We also have another young player that I think can be pretty interesting, a guy named Ryan Harrison. I think Ryan has a lot of potential, he has a lot of work to do in the mean time.I'd also like to see Mardy Fish pull out and get to at least a semifinal in his career, he's that good of a player.

    But let's be fair and let's be realistic, the guys at the top three right now are dominant. It's going to take a big effort from any one of the American tennis players to break through against a [Roger] Federer, a [Rafeal] Nadal and a [Novak] Djokovic. To win one of these you're going to have to beat at least two of those guys. That's a big order. 

     

    Opinion

    What Courier says here makes a ton of sense.

    Obviously there is a new generation of players coming in like Ryan Harrison, who have proved that they will take the reigns of American tennis down the line, but in the near future, those top three players, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic may just be too much for guys like Roddick or Fish, who are both nearing the end of their primes.

    That being said, both players are still talented and can beat anyone on a good day. The key is to have a good two weeks. 

Courier Compares His Generation Top Players to the Current Generation of Elites

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    Looking at the top players of your generation such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg and yourself, how do those top players compare to the elites currently at the top such as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic? 

    I think that Sampras certainly compares well to anyone, his record is outstanding. But if you look at Federer and Nadal, Federer is above Sampras by the numbers, and Nadal is quickly closing in.

    I think that our era in the 1990s was a very good, deep, generation of players, with some exceptional talents including Andre Agassi as well. But I do think that we are in a pretty special time in tennis right now with Federer and Nadal and now Djokovic kind of pushing the envelope with those guys too.

    I think we'll only really look back on it in the rear view and appreciate what we have today, but I'm really appreciating it very much in the moment 'cause I think what these guys are doing is pretty spectacular. 

     

    Opinion

     The current generation of players is far and away the best talent that has ever played the game. To have two players like Nadal and Federer in the same generation is somewhat unfathomable.

    I don't really think that the 1990s even hold a candle to what we have seen the past five or six years. That being said, Agassi, Sampras and Courier were all tremendous players, some of the best to ever play the game. 

Courier Discusses His Role as Captain of the American Davis Cup Team

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    Looking at the top players of your generation such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg, and yourself, how do those top players compare to the elites currently at the top such as Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic? 

    I think that Sampras certainly compares well to anyone, his record is outstanding. But if you look at Federer and Nadal, Federer is above Sampras by the numbers, and Nadal is quickly closing in.

    I think that our era in the 1990s was a very good, deep, generation of players, with some exceptional talents including Andre Agassi as well. But I do think that we are in a pretty special time in tennis right now with Federer and Nadal and now Djokovic kind of pushing the envelope with those guys too.

    I think we'll only really look back on it in the rear view and appreciate what we have today, but I'm really appreciating it very much in the moment 'cause I think what these guys are doing is pretty spectacular. 

    Opinion

    The current generation of players is far and away the best talent that has ever played the game. To have two players like Nadal and Federer in the same generation is somewhat unfathomable.

    I don't really think that the 1990s even hold a candle to what we have seen the past five or six years. That being said, Agassi, Sampras and Courier were all tremendous players, some of the best to ever play the game. 

Courier Talks About How Tennis Is Still Involved in His Everyday Life

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    How often does tennis come up in your daily life, and in what ways do you give back to the tennis community? 

    Well tennis is in my daily life period because I'm involved in tennis very vertically. I'm very active playing in the champions series, so playing Agassi, Sampras and McCenroe, we have a five-week tour in the U.S. where we'll hit 12 cities in those five weeks playing tournaments.

    So I stay active practicing quite a bit throughout the weeks to stay fit. I'm active on the business side because my company, Inside Out Sports Entertainment, puts on the championship series. We promote it, we own it, we operate it. We also work with some other parties on some other events.

    So I'm involved in the business side of tennis. The charity that I support, Courier's Kids, is a tennis and education program for kids down in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is where I'm from, in central Florida.

    And I'm involved doing television of the Australian Open and the U.S Open as well, and I'm the Davis Cup Captain. So I am involved all day everyday it seems like, which is really wonderful for me because I'm passionate about the sport.

    Opinion

    I think that it is great to see someone so passionate about the sport. Obviously, Courier has the resources to make a difference, not only to children but to other players on tour.

    He does an excellent job of both. He has taken full advantage of his status as one of the greatest of all time, which is really nice to see. 

    Read more about the charity event that Courier was participating in.