CHARLOTTE, N.C. September 24 – Krickstein surprised 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-7 (Champions Tie-Breaker), while Martin defeated Karel Novacek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 in opening round-robin matches. The Citadel Group Championships at The Palisades is the fifth of eight events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.
Krickstein, known for much of his career as a strong clay court player, entered his match with Ivanisevic hoping to take advantage of the clay-court surface that graced the center court at The Palisades the last two years and steal a win from the hard-serving Croatian. However, to Krickstein’s surprise, he arrived in Charlotte only to find the court surface had been switched from a clay court to a hard court.
“I was caught off guard by the new court,” said Krickstein. “I guess it was my bad for not looking all the way through the player packet but I was hoping to beat him on clay. I’ve beaten him three out of four times, but Goran hits big. He always has, but you never know what you’re going to get with him. Sometimes he’ll hit me with four aces in a row, and then the next game he’ll go through with three double faults. You have to always stay prepared with him”
Said Ivanisevic of his match with Krickstein, “I played horrible tennis. I just couldn’t play out there. I didn’t expect to play well because my timing was bad.”
Martin, an Australian Open finalist in 1994 and a US Open runner-up in 1999, is seeking his third straight trip to the tournament final in Charlotte. He lost to Jim Courier in the tournament final in 2006 and was defeated by Pete Sampras in last year’s final. Martin, however, hopes the new hard court surface will make his third trip to Charlotte a charm – and lead to a tournament title.
“The new court was a surprise for me,” said Martin. “I just found out about the hard court out here but it was a nice surprise. My tennis is much better on this court than clay and I played really well on it tonight”
Martin’s runner-up showing last year to Sampras was one of his four Outback Champions Series tournament final-round appearances of the 2007 season and helped him beat out Courier to finish the year as the year-end No. 1 player for the Series. Martin opened the 2008 Outback Champions Series in March by winning the title in Naples, Fla., to take the early lead in the circuit’s Stanford Champions Rankings. Martin, however, struggled in his next tournament appearance in Grand Cayman – failing to finish among the top four finishers and, after not competing in subsequent Outback Champions Series tournaments in Boston, Mass., and Newport, R.I., relinquished his No. 1 Stanford Champions Ranking to Courier. Beginning in 2008, the year-end No. 1 ranked player on the Stanford Champions Rankings will receive a $100,000 payout.
“I like this tour,” said Martin. “It’s nice to have a collection of tournaments to choose from. When you have nine or ten to choose from like we do on this tour – it’s great. It lets us get out and play and rekindle friendships.”
Courier, the champion in Charlotte in 2006, headlines Thursday’s schedule taking on fellow American Jimmy Arias at 6:30 pm, followed by 1999 Australian Open runner-up Thomas Enqvist of Sweden making his Outback Champions Series debut against 1992 Olympic silver medalist Wayne Ferreira of South Africa. Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling 877-332-TIXX (8499) or visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.
The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2008 schedule, with each event featuring an eight-man round-robin match format. The winner of each four-player division meets in the title match while second place finishers in each division play in the third-place match. Each event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000 as well as Champions Series ranking points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1. Beginning in 2008, the year-end champion will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series. Through the first four events in 2008, Courier holds the No. 1 ranking with 2200 points. John McEnroe holds the No. 2 ranking with 1800 points while Ferreira is in third position with 1050 points.
The 2008 Outback Champions Series kicked off March 12-16 in Naples, Fla., at The Oliver Group Champions Cup where Martin defeated McEnroe in the final. Courier won the second event of the season at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Legends Championships April 16-20, defeating Ferreira in the final, while McEnroe won his first career Outback Champions Series even in Boston April 30- May 4, defeating Krickstein in the final. Pat Cash won his first Outback Champions Series title in Newport, R.I., in August, defeating Courier in the final. The next four events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series calendar are stops in Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Texas, Surprise, Ariz., and Dubai, U.A.E. More information can be obtained by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.
Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback 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 also has the right to choose a “wild card” entrant.
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 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
The remaining schedule for The Citadel Group Championships at The Palisades is as follows;
SCHEDULE FOR 2008 THE CITADEL GROUP CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE PALISADES
Thursday, September 25
Beginning at 6:30 pm
Jim Courier vs. Jimmy Arias
Thomas Enqvist vs. Wayne Ferreira
Friday, September 26
Beginning at 1:30 pm
Wayne Ferreira vs. Karel Novacek
Goran Ivanisevic vs. Jimmy Arias
Beginning at 6:30 pm
Todd Martin vs. Thomas Enqvist
Jim Courier vs. Aaron Krickstein
Saturday, September 27
Beginning at 1:30 pm
Thomas Enqvist vs. Karel Novacek
Anna Kournikova and Tim Wilkison vs. Chanda Rubin and Jimmy Arias
Todd Martin vs. Wayne Ferreira
Beginning at 6:30 pm
Jimmy Arias vs. Aaron Krickstein
Anna Kournikova and Karel Novacek vs. Chanda Rubin and Tim Wilkison
Jim Courier vs. Goran Ivanisevic
Sunday, September 28
Beginning at 2:30 pm
Round-Robin Results from Wednesday, September 24
Todd Martin, United States, def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-2
Aaron Krickstein, United States, def. Goran Ivanisevic, Croatia, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-7 (Champions Tie-Break)
Round-Robin Group Standings
Todd Martin 1-0
Aaron Krickstein 1-0
Goran Ivanisevic 0-1
Karel Novacek 0-1
Jim Courier 0-0
Wayne Ferreira 0-0
Jimmy Arias 0-0
Thomas Enqvist 0-0