Originally Posted by Rattler
First thing that came to mind. I remember the Courier/Edberg semi at Wimbledon, and Courier was crushing returns off both wings.
The only time I ever really saw Courier hit backhands at that level in his later years was when he would run up against Agassi or Chang. He seemed to have a different level of belief when he played his old rivals. Once Pete really developed his serve (93-94) Jim really never got ahold of him again. He played a good match in the 95 US Open semis but Petes serve had him marching back and fourth like he was in a band during the return games. Jim just got a little intimidated by Pete. Both the 95 Aussie Open and the 96 French open Jim was up 2 sets to love and Pete came back both times. Those were probably the two biggest career changing matches for Jim. He was never the same after the 96 French Open loss.
Jim had a decent push at the Beginning of 97 but Muster kept taking him out of the big events. Jim had a 7-0 record beating Muster (I think) and then Muster crushed him three matches in a row.
From there on out the only real highlights of Jim's career were Davis Cup matches. The Spanish clan started to excell and Jim couldnt keep up anymore. Most of those Spanish players played a lot like Courier but they were younger, faster, and hungrier.
Jim was having pretty major trouble just winning first rounds when he retired. It was a pretty sad decline after being such a dominant force on the ATP tour. In the end though he had a hell of a career for about 5 years.
Like I said earlier. I am a Courier fan and still watch a lot of his matches. He was extremely mature at a young age both physically and mentally. I think the drive and the hunger for him was there when things were new and exciting. Once he went through the tour grind of ups and downs he just went off kilter. He could not bounce back from bad losses very well. He once said in an interview that the greatest asset an athlete can have is the ability to forget. Jim just could not get over the losses in the long run.
Interesting guy for sure. When he was number 1 he did not come across as an early 20s type player. He seemed like a veteran out there.
He also had some of the all time great commercials for those who might remember.