NEW YORK, N.Y., January 29, 2008 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that John McEnroe will play in the first two events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series – The Oliver Group Champions Cup in Naples, Fla., March 12-16 and The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championship April 16-20, 2008.
Photo © Courtesy of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment
McEnroe, who will turn 49 on February 16, will be making his third straight appearance in Naples, after finishing in third place in both previous appearances. In 2006, he defeated Mikael Pernfors 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in Champions Tie-Break in the third-place match, while in 2007, he beat Pat Cash 7-5, 6-4 to finish No. 3 for the tournament.
McEnroe captured seven major singles titles during his career, including four US Open men’s singles titles (1979-1981, 1984) and three Wimbledon titles (1981, 1983-1984). He was No. 1 in the world for 170 weeks and won 77 singles titles and 78 doubles titles, including the doubles title in San Jose in 2006 at age 47 with Swede Jonas Bjorkman. On the Outback Champions Series, McEnroe’s best result came when he reached the singles final at 2007 Gibson Guitar Champions Cup in Newport, R.I., losing to Todd Martin. He also beat 30-year-old Mark Philippoussis in the third-place match at the 2007 The Stanford Championships in Dallas last October.
“John has hinted that 2008 may be his final year of tournament tennis so this could be the last chance for fans to see first-hand the brilliance and competitiveness of one of the greatest players of all-time,” said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. “John is playing against players over 10 and 15 years younger than him and he is still a threat to win titles at every event he plays. He sees every match as a challenge to knock off the young guys. There is always the guarantee of an electric atmosphere when he steps onto the court.”
Joining McEnroe in the field at The Oliver Group Champions Cup are two former Naples champions – 2006 winner Jim Courier and 2007 champion Wayne Ferreira – as well as 1994 Australian Open finalist and 1999 US Open runner-up Todd Martin. Courier, Ferreira and Jimmy Arias join McEnroe in the field in the Cayman Islands.
Both The Oliver Group Champions Cup and The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships will feature $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000. Players also will compete for Champions Series points that will determine the Stanford Champions Rankings year-end No. 1 on the Outback Champions Series and the winner of a $100,000 year-end bonus. Both events will be played on clay in an intimate stadium setting.
All Champions Series events feature eight-man round-robin match formats with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match while second place finishers in each division meet in the third-place match. To be eligible to compete on the Champions Series, players must have reached at least a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team.
The complete player field as well as the entire 2008 Outback Champions Series schedule will be announced in the near future. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com .
Tickets for The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman and The Oliver Group Champions Cup begin at just $15 and can be purchased by calling 877-332-TIXX (8499) or 954-241-7936.
The 2007 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 7-11 in Naples, Fla.., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Wayne Ferreira of South Africa defeated Aaron Krickstein in the final. Sampras returned to tournament tennis for the first time since the 2002 US Open at the Champions Cup – Boston and won the title, defeating Martin in the final. Sampras also won the third event on the 2007 Outback Champions Series, the Champions Cup – Athens, in his first ever visit to Greece, the homeland of his father Sam and mother Georgia. Martin won the Gibson Guitar Champions Cup in August in Newport, R.I., defeating John McEnroe in the final. Sampras won The Championships at The Palisades – in September in Charlotte, N.C., defeating Martin in the final. Ferreira won his second title of 2007 at The Stanford Championships in Dallas, defeating Courier in the final. Newcomer Paul Haarhuis won the final event of the Series in Dubai in November, defeating Courier in the final.
About The Outback Champions Series
Founded in 2005, the 2007 Outback Champions Series featured seven events where champion tennis players continue to exercise their competitive instincts in tournament formats that feature prize money and Champions Series ranking points that determine a year-end No. 1 player. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have either; reached a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Each event also has the right to choose a “wild card” entrant.
About InsideOut Sports & Entertainment
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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as corporate outings, charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com