July 22, 2024

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Courier steps down as Davis Cup captain

After nearly eight years on the job, Jim Courier has stepped down as the captain of the US Davis Cup team.

The statement from Courier, via the USTA

“Following the matches with Croatia, I let the players and staff know this was my final year as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team. It’s been my honor and privilege to represent the USTA and USA as a player and captain. I look forward to cheering the team on as they pursue the cup in its new format next year and beyond.”

The American team did not reach the final in the eight years of Courier’s tenure. They reached the semifinals in 2012 and this year, when they lost to Croatia absent the two highest-ranked players, Jack Sock and John Isner.

The other six years, the team won its first-round tie and reached the quarterfinals.

The statement from USTA CEO Katrina Adams:

“We thank Jim for his commitment to excellence and to the Davis Cup team. I have been proud to travel the world with Jim and watch first hand as he delivered the highest level of integrity and devotion to success.”

As a player, Courier posted a 17-10 record. And he was part of winning squads in 1992 and 1995. When Courier played, the U.S. went 13-1, and he won the decisive fifth rubber three times.

Courier

When he took the job, he stood out by eschewing the regular team track suit as he sat on the bench. Even when ties were held in warm places, it was suit and tie (and shades, but no boater).

It sort of harkened back to the old days in baseball, when the manager would be wearing a suit and tie in the dugout with his players.

Who will be Courier’s successor?

Courier told the Associated Press that he decided a year ago. He told the players and USTA officials at the team dinner in Croatia.

“The reason I made 2018 my final year was my view that eight years was the right amount of time for me to lead the team,” he told the AP.

Who’s next?

That will be an interesting search.

And it also is a reminder that there’s an even bigger job opening with the USTA, as Zoo Tennis’s Colette Lewis pointed out.

Would John McEnroe be a candidate?

McEnroe had his opportunity years ago – after campaigning for it for years. And it wasn’t a success.

(His status could not convince the dream team of Andre Agassi, Peter Sampras, Michael Chang and Courier to all play at the same time, and he didn’t handle it well).

Although … McEnroe is older, mellower and wiser, now. And his recent experience with the young Americans (and an Aussie) on the Laver Cup teams the last two years was very much a net positive.

Andy Roddick? Mardy Fish? Bob Bryan (if he’s unable to get healthy enough to return to action). James Blake? (It would be … odd to have the director of a major U.S. tournament also be Davis Cup captain. But this is tennis). Agassi? Sampras?(lol).

Or will the USTA go somewhere beyond a high-profile retired player?

It will be interesting.

The U.S., by virtue of having reached the semifinals this year, is directly into the big final next November. 

So there’s no rush.

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