Player Q&A

Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to ask tennis legends such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe a question?  Just fill out the form on the right hand side of the page with your information and the PowerShares Series player will be sure to answer!

Louise Brown from Melbourne, AU asked:

Q. Jim, How many pairs of shoes do you wear in a tournament?

A. I usually bring three pair of my K-Swiss shoes to tournaments these days, where I will be playing 3 to 4 matches typically. I always break shoes in by practicing with them a little bit so they’re not as stiff as when they are new. I normally wear one pair for two matches and then go to the next pair so the grip is intact. They do tend to wear out in the toes from my service toe-drag. I take a back-up pair on the court with me in case it’s very humid on court and I need to change shoes mid-match due to the shoes being too wet.

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Mick Sliheet from San Diego, CA asked:

Q. Are you planning on staying with your old Wilson 85 or using a different racquet all together?

A. I am currently playing with a new Wilson K-Factor Pro Staff prototype. It has a slightly larger racquet head size than the Pro Staff 85 I used during my career.

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Pete Vale from Boston, MA asked:

Q. Do you prepare differently for different surfaces? If so, how? Looking forward to playing with you in an upcoming Pro-Am.

A. Preparing for different surfaces is something I don’t take lightly. It takes me at least 3-4 days to adjust from a hard court to either clay or grass and it’s as much mental as physical for me. On grass I try to shorten the points, get to the net more and use my slice BH as much as possible since the grass will keep that shot nice and low, which is quite effective. On the clay it’s about getting heavy topspin on the ball off of both sides in order to move my opponent out of position so I can finish the point, since clay is the easiest surface to defend on. Clay is much more chess where grass is more like target practice. Hard court is a neutral surface so that surface strategy tends to be more dictated by an opponent’s weaknesses and how I will try to exploit them. Look forward to seeing you in Newport in the Pro-Am where you will see my slice backhand up close and personal.

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Andrea from NYC asked:

Q. What was the most memorable match you ever played in your career and why?

A. I’ve had some pretty special ones every time you go out and represent your country is special and then winning the Davis Cup for your country is really something so is but its hard to go past winning Wimbledon.

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Steven from FL asked:

Q. Why is the French Open a unique challenge and how did you overcome it?

A. The French Open is the most difficult tournament to win because you need a complete game, not just a good serve or good groundstrokes. You need a lot of mental and physical toughness because it is very difficult to win points and you have to work for each point. Beginning at the first round, there is never an easy match.

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Lucy from Richmond, VA asked:

Q. Do you have any tips for players getting back into the sport. I played as a junior back in the day, but didn’t stick with it. Haven’t played much since college. What footwork drills and exercises do you recommend for the 30+ players? Because I’m much slower than I remember. Thanks!!

A. For us 30+ players the feet are the most critical component to playing at the level we’ve come to know and love as they’re the first thing to go if you don’t look after them. I recommend doing side to side shuffles from singles line to singles line (back and forth 2x) to get the side movement going and do some net to service line “up and back” touches where you go forward and then backward so you start to practice the all court movement that tennis requires. Also, jumping rope is an ideal way to get your feet feeling light and lively. Basically, anything you can do that simulates on court movement, including having someone feed you balls to hit that make you move will help. Good luck with it and welcome back.

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Griffin from Philadelphia asked:

Q. Dear Jim: I’m a young (11 1/2 yrs. old) tennis and baseball player. I love both sports. My dad says I’m good at “hit ball with stick” sports. My question is about trying to balance both. Is it possible? Fall-winter is devoted to tennis and spring and summer I play mostly baseball. I have started to play USTA tournaments and really enjoy the challenge. At what age should I consider focusing on one sport? My dad says I should listen to my heart but my heart is split in two pieces.

A. Griffin, I was once in your exact shoes splitting time between baseball and tennis. I played little league baseball from the age of 7, the same time I began to play tennis tournaments. I split my time seasonally and enjoyed both sports immensely. At your age you should be enjoying both tennis and baseball without worrying about the future too much. In my case, at the age of 13 I decided to commit all of my time and focus to tennis. Although I did miss playing baseball for a few years I knew in my heart that tennis was my true calling athletically so I didn’t look back and went about trying to be the best tennis player I could be. That is my story but you will have to figure out what your story will be. There is no right answer…only what is right for you. Let your instinct be your guide. No one but you can truly know where your passion lies. Good luck with tennis and baseball and have a lot of fun along the way, whatever you decide. Jim

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Paula from Boston asked:

Q. Which player on the tour reminds you of YOU and why?

A. Andy Roddick’s game and passion probably remind me of my own, though there are things (like his serve) that are very different in our games. It’s more his physical and mental energy on court that remind me of the way I approach the game.

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Jeff Wright from Charlotte, NC asked:

Q. How do you like your chances in Naples? Who’s the favorite (McEnroe, Courier, Wilander, Martin, Arias, Sanchez)?

A. Courier is my favorite. He’s one of the youngest and fittest…yeah, he’s the one to beat.

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John from Dallas, TX asked:

Q. What convinced you to come to Dubai for the Legends Dubai tournament?

A. I have never been to Dubai and I have heard so many good things about it and any chance I get to play with these other legends are the reasons why I would not want to miss this great event.

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Arnol Garza asked:

Q. Mr. Courier, first of all I just want to say it is a pleasure to not only see you, but all my favorite players growing up get into the swing of things again, pardon the pun. I just want to know if there is any chance the tour will be coming around south texas, either San Antonio or Austin? I would love to see all you guys live.

A. Thanks Arnol. We’re all enjoying swatting the ball out here on the OCS. We’re coming to Dallas next week which is as close as we will get this year to you. Hope you can make a road trip and see us at the Stanford Championships.

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Greg from Houston, TX asked:

Q. How do you feel playing against an ATP player Mark Philippoussis?

A. I relish the challenge of playing Mark again. We played several times on the ATP Tour and his power is always difficult to deal with. He will certainly be one of the favorites in Dallas but I’ll be training hard to be ready.

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Sam Nicol from Boston, MA asked:

Q. What racket do you play with? And, is this the same as when you were on the ATP circuit?

A. Thanks for your question. I am currently playing w/the Wilson N-Code 90 inch frame which is very similar to what I used on the ATP circuit although that stick was 85 inches. I switched to the 90 last year and I am tinkering w/ a few other frames that have a bit more pop as the balls are more heavy these days. I may try to switch soon.

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Rusty Allison from Cincinnati, OH asked:

Q. I know you get this question from everywhere but would the Outback Champions Series consider coming to Cincinnati? We’ve got a Masters facility waiting on you!

A. I love and miss Cincinnati. As a lifelong Reds fan and a fan of the tournament out in Kings Island I miss going back there as the crowds are so terrific at the ATP event. We are being contacted frequently these days by cities and groups who would like to host an Outback Champions Series event and are carefully considering where the next cities will be. As we won’t have too many more in the US we have to make sure the cities we do choose are the right ones. We certainly want to have one in the Midwest so stay tuned.

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Randy Walker from New York asked:

Q. How do you feel about making your Outback Champions Series debut?

A. Making my debut in the Outback Champions Series will be exciting. It’s a chance to get back out on the court having been away from competitive tennis for several years. The funny thing is that the draw will look just like it did when I was on tour full time. These are the guys I won and lost against my entire career.

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Dr. Mina Guirguis from Torrance, California asked:

Q. Any chance that the Out Back series would come to southern Cali? With weather like ours we should be on your upcoming events.

A. We certainly hope to play in Southern California before long. Not only is the weather wonderful there year round but the tennis fans are some of the most passionate in the US.

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Sally from Germany asked:

Q. Jim, who are your favorites for the French Open?

A. The obvious ones are my favorites too; Nadal-Fed-Justine. But my heart is with the Americans.

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Laurence from France asked:

Q. Cher Jim, do we have a chance to see you in Paris in the senior tournament in September? Will you ever come back to this tournament? You need to keep on practicing French, don’t you think! ;-)

A. I won’t be coming back to the Paris tournament in September as I will be preparing for the Championships at The Palisades in the USA. I do miss France, particularly at this time of the year when Roland Garros is under way and on my television screen all day long. The good news is that I live in NYC so I get to use my French often. I would hate to lose it.

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Pam Wilson from Augusta, GA asked:

Q. Is there a player on the current ATP tour that you would like to play

A. Sure, there are many guys I’d like to go up against. I’ve hit w/all of the US players pretty much so I’d like to play against guys like Rog, Rafa, basically anyone in the top 20 I haven’t hit with. The better player I play with the better I typically play. No best of 5 sets though…I don’t want any part of that.

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Sally from Germany asked:

Q. Jim, it’s great news that the Champions Cup Tour is crossing the Atlantic. Are there any plans for more European events yet? And please, show up in the player blogs more often again. I just love your musings from New York City or from wherever you are.

A. Glad you’re as excited about the Greek event as we are. Champions Cup Athens will be a blast. Playing in the Olympic Stadium in a country most of us have never played in will be a thrill. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog from me. Its been a busy period so there is a lot to discuss. Check back to the site next week…and keep the questions coming.

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Cedric from Belgium asked:

Q. First I want to tell you
I’ve always been your biggest fan and I’m glad you’re still around.
I’d like to know if you’re still training and preparing as hard as you used to?
Kick their ass Jim!

A. Hey Cedric, thanks for the question.
I am practicing quite a lot on court. I also go to the gym often for weightlifting and flexibility but don’t run on the track as I used to since we don’t have to play 5 sets anymore! I prefer the bike these days.

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Matt Hunter from Murrieta, CA asked:

Q. Jim, your were my tennis god in high school/college. I too was a late started. I am determined to find a
vintage Courier line tennis polo in red/white/ I want to play in it again! Please help! Where can I find one?

A. That Nike line was pretty sweet. It took guts for me to play in a referees uniform but I pulled it off. I am guessing your best bet is going to be hitting the internet and snooping around.
Good luck with the hunt

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Diego Falla from San Diego, CA asked:

Q. Tell us how you feel about potentially facing Pete
Sampras later this year in Outback Champions
Series events?

A.Very excited but somewhat concerned!

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Dianne McWain from New York, NY asked:

Q. How much has your preparation routine pre tournament and pre-match changed since you were on the ATP tour? What is it today?

A. Not that I wanted to change my preparation, but nagging injuries have forced me to add a stretching program to my routine. I spend less time on the
court and more time in the gym rehabilitating my body.

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