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ROGERS CUP WOMEN


August 10, 2013


Jim Courier

John McEnroe

Pete Sampras


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR:  Our three participants for this weekend's Rogers Legends Cup match are up here:  Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe.  We will get right into questions.

Q.¬† John, how much of the success of the Champions Tour and these Legends games do you attribute to the predominance of the boomer‑zoomer demographic and just a different attitude to aging?
JOHN McENROE:¬† What's the boomer‑zoomer demographic?¬† I missed what that was.¬† You mean old people?¬† I'm not sure what you mean.

Q.  Baby boomers.
JOHN McENROE:  Baby boomers.  Hopefully there is more than just the baby boomers, but certainly the people that you're referring to probably remember some of our better matches.  So I would guess that because of that they probably still want to see what we have left in the tank.

Q.  But do you think that people don't consider people of your age old anymore?
JOHN McENROE:  Um, hopefully not.  You know, you're only as old as you feel, I suppose.  Tennis is a game that for me is good to keep active and keep at it.
So at this point I'm going to allow these two to finish the answer (laughter).
JIM COURIER:  Take it away, Pete.
PETE SAMPRAS:  I don't know.  I think it's good to keep active as you get older and stay fit, play a little tennis every once in a while.  It's good to do a little work, at least for me.
But as you get older, you slow down.¬† I feel a little bit heavy in the morning these days.¬† It takes its toll, but it's all ‑‑it's in your head.¬† It's mental, but it is tougher as you get older.
JIM COURIER:  Let me square the circle on this one.  Tennis is one of the few sports that people can play generationally, so people can play tennis in their 90s and they do.
I think there is an appreciation that people want to see something that they're doing and see it at the highest level.¬† John is an example of someone ‑‑ I don't think everyone has ever played tennis at the level John plays it at his age.¬† I think people connect to that.¬† They want to see that.
You're looking at 500 Grand Slam titles between these two guys.  People want to see that, to be around that, see if these guys still have something to show.  I think there is a connectivity because tennis, like golf, is a game that people play later on in life.
Hopefully that gives you a little something to work with.  There you go.  Just want to feed you.  Perfect.

Q.  John, a few weeks ago I had the honor of reading your book, You Cannot Be Serious.  In the book John McEnroe's top 10 recommendations for improving 10 to 20%, No. 1 was tennis should have a commissioner.  And in brackets you said, I'm available.  This was 2002.  You were available then.  Are you still available now?
JOHN McENROE:  Still available.  You know, I'm not holding my breath.  We could use something to sort of solidify everything and obviously someone that's done the type of job that a David Stern has done in the NBA, for example.  So clearly that, to me, would be a great step.
But there is a lot of people protecting their own turf, and it's difficult to have everyone agree on who that person would be.  But either way, even if it wasn't me, I think we should have it.

Q.  This question is for Jim and also comments by John.  Jim, you played.  Obviously you're the captain of the Davis Cup team.  You played Serbia.  Obviously the big story this week is the success of the two Canadian single players.  I just want to know, do you think that Canada would have a chance against Serbia even though they're playing there?  No. 2, the other question is did you ever believe you'd see the day our two top Canadian players would actually have as good of an achievement compared to any American player?
JIM COURIER:  Well, I absolutely think that your team has a chance.  You wouldn't be in the semifinals if you hadn't earned it.  You played good teams to be there.
Given where the Davis Cup schedule sits and the format as it is right now, if things go to form, Novak Djokovic doesn't get to Serbia until I believe late Wednesday after a charity event on Tuesday night in NewYork.  Irrespective if he's in the finals in the US Open Monday, he would become less than 100% for that event, so advantage Canada from a scheduling standpoint even though you're playing away.
And you have a couple of really talented players who are having a great week this week, and good for Canada.  Pass it over to you.
JOHN McENROE:¬† I would definitely say that I would be ‑‑it would be an understatement to say I wasn't surprised to see the two Canadian guys doing better than the best Americans.¬† There is no question about it.¬† I mean, I think it's a great moment for Canadian men's tennis right now to see these two guys playing as we speak, I believe at a set all.¬† These guys have some serious upside.¬† They have had it for a couple years.
I wasn't as familiar with Pospisil until recently, but he looks like a tremendous athlete.  Right now we have our work cut out for us in America.  I mean, we're not the only country wondering where the next great talent is, but I would say that this is probably the best moment that I can recall in men's Canadian tennis history.

Q.  Is it important for a top player to be American for the health of the game where we see Canada on the up and coming, and Serbia, a small country, is it important for the game for American players to be prominent, especially on the men's side?
JOHN McENROE:¬† I would think it's extremely important.¬† I mean, obviously I'm biased, being an American, but I think for the health of our sport, even though it seems to be quite healthy and a large part of the world, Europe being the most obvious, a lot of big money events in the Far East like China or the Middle East where there is huge amounts of money being thrown around, it would really be like an incredible boost at this stage, given these incredible players that we have been lucky enough to witness these past six, eight years, even longer in Roger's case.¬† But Roger and Rafa and now Novak, Andy, some young people trying to break in, it would be ‑‑it would be incredible to see a guy ‑‑we have had some guys break into the top 10, but to be contending at majors, that would be, in my opinion, very important.
JIM COURIER:  I think that right now that the game is so healthy when you have these big events where the top players come together.  I think where America could really use a couple of great American players is in some of the smaller events when you don't have the benefit of all the best players populating a tournament like a Cincinnati, Indian Wells, or Key Biscayne.  They are incredibly powerful events, also happen to be combined events that also tend to do pretty well.
But then you have some of the events out on their own that do less well as a result of not having that star power that they can really sell tickets.
JOHN McENROE:¬† But I think you can do even better if we had players even at like Cincinnati.¬† Just think if we had ‑‑
JIM COURIER:  TV ratings would definitely jump, no question, especially in America.
JOHN McENROE:  That would help.

Q.  Just quickly on Murray, he's won two of the last four Grand Slams.  Do you think this is the period when he goes in and takes No. 1, or do you want to see what he does against Rafa and Djokovic on hard courts in the next six weeks or so?
JIM COURIER:  What do you think, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS:  Are you asking these two?  I'm fine not speaking.  But like I said yesterday, I think Murray is on his way to doing great things.  I think he's got a great shot at the US Open.  He's progressed into this great talent that mentally is very strong, has a great coach in Ivan who has helped him a lot.
I think he's up there with Roger and Rafa.  I mean, I think he's well on his way to winning many majors.  It would be interesting to see how he sort of defends here.  It's a little bit different for him this year, so I think he's on his way.  He's going to be right there.
JIM COURIER:  He's kind of scratching his head, isn't he, that he's done what he's done in the majors and he's still kind of far away from No. 1 in the rankings?  I mean, I think he's scratching his head a little bit at how the rankings system works.
But consistency clearly matters.  Taking a loss here with a thousand points on the line, those are the kinds of matches that make it harder to get over the line.  Novak is not going to give it up without a fight, but no question he has the game.  No doubt about that.  Consistency is what it takes.

Q.  John, do you want to weigh in and talk about Rafa who's come back in the semifinals again?  Do you think he has a shot at the Open?
JOHN McENROE:  I'm thrilled that he's back.  There was definitely concern to see what happened at Wimbledon.  I mean, we can all lose, but just the way it seemed that he wasn't sort of feeling right.
So that is great news.  Hopefully he can last for a couple of more years at this level, because that would be a great test for Andy.  And clearly it would be a difficult one, because his career record with all the top guys is quite good.
As far as, you know, Murray, I mean, Murray has obviously made huge headway since when he started with the Olympics.¬† To me, Djokovic, when he's playing his A game and Murray is playing his A game, that's, to me, all around, I think that Novak still has got a little bit on him.¬† You know, whether or not that changes ‑‑that's just my opinion.¬† That remains to be seen, but to me he's got a little more to offer at this stage.¬† But that's why it's going to be interesting.
Someone's going to make a breakthrough, too.  Someone's going to come out and do something big besides those guys, because obviously Roger just turned 32 yesterday and it's not going to get any easier, so it's going to be hopefully an exciting couple of years.
JIM COURIER:¬† One thing that is a huge advantage for Novak is he can dominate the clay court season absent Rafa.¬† He's the second‑best clay courter out there.¬† Murray is not quite there.
So there is a point gap in that area of the season that's going to be tough for Andy to overcome unless he picks his game up on clay, which is doable, but there is a clear advantage.¬† If you look at the all‑surface category, Novak has a big advantage there.

Q.  This is for Pete.  Given the fact that the two guys next to you have done pretty successfully as broadcasters, would you be interested in doing that?
PETE SAMPRAS:  Not really.  I mean, these guys do a great job.  I enjoy being home, and traveling is not something I really want to do.  So I think John and Jim are pretty much set in stone at the majors.
I enjoy listening to them.  They do a really good job.  I'm not sure it's something that I want to do.
JIM COURIER:  He just likes to sit home and listen from the best (laughter).
PETE SAMPRAS:  I have about 20 minutes in, me and...
JIM COURIER:  By "the best," I mean Brad Gilbert, of course.
PETE SAMPRAS:  Carillo, Gilbert.  There are so many commentators now.  It's incredible.
But I like, for my taste, I like listening to the guys that actually played rather than sort of report on the extra stuff.  I like these two guys next to me.  They are pretty solid.
JIM COURIER:  Check's in the mail  (smiling).

Q.  I'm wondering what are your thoughts on Sorana Cirstea playing here in the final?  What do you guys think about that, talking about the women?
JIM COURIER:  It's a big week for her.
PETE SAMPRAS:  Since I don't commentate, I'm not around much.  So I'm not too familiar, you know, who she is.
JIM COURIER:  I gotcha covered.  Darren Cahill.  Doing some very good work with her this week on court, and she's a gifted player, for sure.  You never really know.  I think everyone that's involved in the sport watches talented players ride up and down the elevators with their successes and failures.  She's on an upswing.  It doesn't seem to be an accident.
She seems like she's prepared to be there, and you don't beat the players that she's beaten this week by accident, either.  She's done some work clearly, and whatever she's doing with Team Adidas and whatever that format is for her right now is working.
The talent has been there, but for a variety of reasons she hasn't been as consistent.  But this is definitely a good result.
How's that, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS:  Perfect (laughter).

Q.  Any chance we're going to see women Legends playing?
JIM COURIER:  You should ask the tournament directors, right?
JOHN McENROE:  That's not our decision.

Q.  Billie Jean King was just inducted here, and she said when she started the Women's Tennis Association she wanted to join with the men and they said no way.  So is that still the answer?
PETE SAMPRAS:  Take it away, guys.  Let me hear this answer.
JOHN McENROE:  We are not going to get in the middle of this.
JIM COURIER:  John and I have played with women here at this event, played mixed doubles.  So, you know, we'll leave it to the tournament directors, but suffice to say that men and women together at tournaments tends to do pretty well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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