Bob Bryan, half of the greatest men’s doubles team of all time, made his debut on the Champions Series Tennis circuit Saturday at the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., but was not able to stop Tommy Haas.
After a semifinal win over Mardy Fish in his first career match on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, Bryan was defeated by Haas 6-1 in the championship match.
“it feels good to be out here playing some singles, but credit to Tommy who was too good,” said the 42-year-old Bryan. “He took my legs out in the first game and then just hit winners all over the place. But, I had a blast and hopefully I can do it again.”
Bryan and his twin brother Mike retired from the ATP Tour last year with 16 career major men’s doubles titles as a team as well an Olympic gold medal. Saturday’s play marked Bryan’s first official singles play since 2009.
Haas, 42, lost only five games over his two-day stint at the Sherwood Country Club. He beat both Robby Ginepri and James Blake by 6-1 margins in Friday’s first edition of the event, while he beat Blake again 6-2 in Saturday’s semifinal. He collected two $25,000 first-prize paychecks for his titles. He has now won 13 career titles on the Champions Series Tennis circuit since joining in 2018 after retiring from the ATP Tour.
“I’m very, very pleased with the way I played for sure,” said Haas. “I had to seek a little revenge against Bob. I don’t know, the last time I beat him was I think back when we first both started on tour. We played many times in doubles and don’t stand a chance in doubles. So when I’m seeing him across the net playing singles I wanted to play as good as I can and I sure did… Sorry Bob.”
Blake and Fish, as losing semifinalists Saturday, each earned $10,000 while Bryan earned $15,000 as event runner-up.
The event was not open to the public and was limited to sponsors and Sherwood Country Club members, with all attending practicing social distancing and wearing masks. The matches will be televised on Fox Sports Net affiliates and Tennis Channel on tape delay in future weeks. All Champions Series events feature two one-set semifinal matches followed by a one-set championship match.
In 2020, Haas, the former world No. 2, won the season-long points title for a second straight season, winning four titles – two at the Sherwood Country Club and two titles in Orlando – and finished with a 10-2 series match record.
In 2019, Haas finished with a perfect 10-0 record to win the year-long points championship for the first time. He won titles in Newport Beach, Calif., Maui, Hawaii, New Haven, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Houston to become the first player in the 15-year history of the Champions Series to be an undefeated year-end points champion.
In 2018, Blake won his first Champions Series year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Champions Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.
In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1,600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando.
Champions Series Tennis began in 2005 and over the last 16 years has featured some of the greatest names in men’s tennis, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Michael Chang among others. Courier won the first Champions Series Tennis event held in 2005 in Houston at the Westside Tennis Club.
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