ORLANDO – Tommy Haas won a pair of 6-1 decisions to win his 11th career Champions Series Tennis title at the second of three editions of the Bea For Kids Champions Challenge presented by Raymond James at the Heathrow Country Club. After defeating Vince Spadea 6-1 in the one-set semifinal, Haas beat Robby Ginepri by the same margin to win his second straight title in Orlando.
The tournament victory was the fifth for Haas so far this year, having also won two of three events staged in August at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California while claiming the first two of three played in Orlando at the Heathrow Country Club. Haas defeated Ginepri 6-2 in the earlier final of the first edition of the event. With the wins, Haas increased his career Champions Series Tennis record to 24-4. The 42-year-old joined the North American tennis tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30 in 2018, shortly after retiring from the ATP Tour.
“A lot of the games were really tight,” said Haas of his dominant run. “It’s always about winning the big points and being there at the right moment. That was definitely the case with me today.”
Haas was born in Hamburg, Germany and represented his homeland during his career, but honed his game at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida and is now a joint German-American citizen. While Haas used to have a preference for faster court surfaces during his career, he said he now has a greater appreciation for slower clay courts, like those at the Heathrow Country Club.
“I grew up on clay in Germany, but as you know in Germany, five months out of the year it’s pretty cold, it’s winter, so you go indoors and play on carpet, so I did always like the faster surfaces,” said Haas. “Then I came to the United States, actually to my home state of Florida when I was 13 and mainly only played on hard courts, so I always preferred hard court over clay but towards the end of my career I really appreciated playing on the clay. I really like it these days.”
In February prior to the start of the global pandemic, Ginepri, a semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Open, won his first career Champions Series title by defeating Andy Roddick and Blake in succession to win the Oracle Champions Cup Presented by RBC Wealth Management in front of a standing room only crowd at the Newport Beach Tennis Club. Ginepri also won the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup in Thousand Oaks, California in August, defeating Wayne Ferreira in the final.
Last year, Haas, the former world No. 2, finished with a perfect 10-0 record to win the year-long points championship. He won titles in Newport Beach, Calif., Maui, Hawaii, New Haven, Conn., Los Angeles, Calif., and Houston, Texas 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 has featured 16 former world No. 1 players including many of the greatest legends in the sport such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier.
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