Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jim Courier New U.S. Davis Cup Captain

by Savannah

Doug Robson reports the following:

Jim Courier will be named Wednesday to lead the U.S. Davis Cup team in the post-Patrick McEnroe era.
Courier, 40, a former No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion known for his competitive fire and dogged fitness, takes over the American captaincy from McEnroe, who announced his resignation last month.

Courier, who served as a Davis Cup coach in the early part of McEnroe's 10-year tenure, will lead the U.S. team for the first time in March against Chile in a first-round away match likely to be contested on clay.

"As a player, Davis Cup was very important to me, and I certainly thought it would be something I would be interested in if I were given the opportunity," Courier said by phone Tuesday. "I think it's a great honor first and foremost. And I think it's a great challenge. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Courier certainly has the playing pedigree.

The two-time French Open and Australian Open champ was a reliable and clutch player for the USA during his 12-year professional career. He was a member of winning teams in 1992 and 1995, and was 5-1 in clinching matches, including a U.S.-best 3-0 in fifth-and-decisive singles matches.

Such was the Florida native's winning presence that U.S. Davis Cup teams went 13-1 when he played, his sole loss coming in his final tie against Australia in 1999.

"Jim will continue to bring class and character to the role of U.S. Davis Cup captain along with an outstanding pedigree in Davis Cup competition," USTA Chairman and President Lucy Garvin said in a statement.

Courier signed a multiyear contract and beat out a host of top American coaches and former players, among them Brad Gilbert, Todd Martin, Michael Chang, Ken Flach, Larry Stefanki and MaliVai Washington, according to those involved the selection process.

Courier, who spoke from his home in Manhattan, said he hopes to build on the camaraderie fostered by McEnroe, whose close-knit teams were known for their loyalty, friendship and togetherness.

"I'd really like to emulate what he's done as far as the team fellowship he built the past decade," he said. "He really brought that team atmosphere to the United States that wasn't there during my era."

He said he would have to learn what "makes each player tick" but would be a quick study from his own playing experience and years around the game since retiring in 2000.

"When it comes to match time, I certainly have walked those steps," Courier said.

A press conference will be held in New York City this afternoon to formally announce the appointment.

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