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Biofile Jim Courier Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former ATP world no. 1 and winner of two Australian Open and Roland Garros titles. Also member of US Davis Cup winning team. Former Davis Cup captain.

DOB: August 17, 1970 In: Sanford, FL

Childhood Heroes: “Pete Rose. Roger Staubach. Borg, Mac, Connors.”

Nicknames: “That I can tell you…for a family newspaper [laughs]? Jimbo – mostly from people back home as a kid. And my dad still does too. And Rock. A lot of guys on the Tour call me Rock from time to time.”

Pre-Match Feeling: “A little anxious to get on the court and get a sweat going. The thoughts vary from day to day, depending on how breakfast was, usually.”

Early Tennis Memory: “Winning the first tournament, getting the first trophy. I won the consolation to play in the ten and under event when I was eight. Just being able to come home with a little trophy, that was a big moment. I lost in the first round. And they had another tournament for the first round losers. First tournament I lost in the first round like 7-5 in the third. Choked like a dog. (Cry?) Oh, I definitely cried. I was seven.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning my first Grand Slam. The last point in Paris (1991 French Open vs. Agassi). Just one of those moments that changes your life. (Remember that last point?) I hit an ace. Just sucked it up, threw it up there and hit an ace. Then fell to the ground.”

Most Painful Moment: “Probably the same court, two years later, losing in five sets to Bruguera. Up an early break but I started cramping. Running out of gas.”

Favorite Movies: “Fletch. Usual Suspects. I love movies.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “People ask me if I have any funny stories. The times I was at Bollettieri tennis camp where we would sneak out in the middle of the night. The boys and the girls, we’d all sneak out, take our racquets and tennis balls at 2 am and have like these tennis ball wars where they were building stuff. So we were firing balls at each other from close range. Of course we all got caught and had to wash cars and pick the weeds the next day. Mark Knowles. Mal Washington.”

Toughest Competitors Encountered: “I never could quite get a hold of Lendl. I never got him. Never beat him. He was a tough son of a gun. And obviously Connors. Even though I had some good success against him, tough, tough, tough competitor. He never gave you anything. Muster – very strong. Chang – very strong too.”

Musical Tastes: “REM, U2, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Collective Soul, Matchbox 20, Cool For August.”

Last Book Read: “Oh boy. I couldn’t throw one out there right now.”

First Car: “1984 VW Jetta, diesel, white. Hand me down from my grandmother. Got me everywhere I needed to go in high school.”

First Job: “Tennis player.”

Interesting Fact: “Never checked into a hotel under my own name. You don’t want to get any phone calls in the middle of the night when you’re playing.”

Favorite Meal: “A nice steak and fries, nice red wine would be fine.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Honey Nut Cheerios.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Mint chocolate chip for sure.”

Last Halloween Costume: “Marilyn Monroe [smiles]. Just kidding. Maybe a werewolf. Boy, that’s a tough question.”

Worst Injury: “Hyper-flexed knee. I’ve really been lucky with the knee injuries, to this point no surgery.”

Closest Tennis Friends: “Mark Knowles. We grew up together. Jonathan Stark. Guys I grew up playing though I’m very very friendly with most guys on the Tour. I get along with virtually everybody. And I like it that way.”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “Hawaii is the best I’ve been to. Had everything – great golf, great snorkeling, and great food. That was nice.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Season tix for Miami Heat. So I got to watch a lot of Heat games, about sixteen. Love watching the hoops, love the action. Brad Faxon. I like to watch Fax get up there and knock ’em down. He putts alright. We met through Bob Rotella (sports psychologist). Boxing – Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, Camacho, Roy Jones. Emmitt Smith. Paul O’Neill – he’s my boy.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “People that live everyday like it’s their last, basically. That live with integrity. And that leave it all on the line. In every aspect of their life. Because I think that’s the only way to live.”

Career Accomplishments: Won four Grand Slam titles, AO 92, 93; FO 91, 92; ATP no. 1; winner of 23 singles titles and six doubles; won Davis Cup in 1995 in Russia.

Jim Courier highlight reel

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 1, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    After several failures at US Open, I figured doing the Jim Courier Biofile was impossible. He did not trust the media after USA Today burned him on a story. But in 1999 I spotted Courier following his friend Brad Faxon’s round and he finally agreed to do this Biofile in a more relaxed setting away from the tennis Grand Slam pressure cooker environment. One of my favorite Biofiles because it has some nice revelations and it took so many years to get, seven years to be exact.



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