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Winning the Newsweek Champions Cup in 1991 was a breakthrough f

March 8, 1995

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) _ Winning the Newsweek Champions Cup in 1991 was a breakthrough for Jim Courier, who went on to gain the No. 1 ranking and win the French Open that year and again in 1992.

He’s struggled since then. But, at the age of 24, Courier seems to have regained at least some of the magic that made him the world’s top-ranked player.

He made a successful start Tuesday in the 1995 Newsweek Champions Cup by beating Markus Zoecke 6-3, 7-5.

``I don’t need to spend as many hours on the court as I once did. I don’t know if I ever really did. I just felt that I needed to,″ said Courier, who is coming off his second victory of the year, last weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz.

``I had a wonderful off-season. I had about seven weeks where I didn’t play tournaments, really didn’t travel. I wasn’t burying myself on the court. I was working hard, but I was working smart,″ he said.

``I think I will be getting better and better as I get older, just live a little longer, see it from a more mature vision.″

Courier has a 20-2 record in matches this year, most by a man in tournament competition. Two of his wins were against France in a first-round Davis Cup match and helped the United States to a 4-1 victory.

Ranked 11th in the world and the seeded ninth in the Champions Cup, Courier was the highest seeded player to see action on Tuesday.

Andre Agassi, No. 2 in the world, is scheduled to begin play today, along with No. 3 Boris Becker and No. 4 Michael Chang. No. 1 Pete Sampras is scheduled to play his first match on Thursday.

In other first-round play Tuesday, 10th-seeded Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine beat Oliver Gross of Germany 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; No. 11 Stefan Edberg of Sweden beat Davide Sanguinetti of Italy 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, and No. 12 Magnus Larsson of Sweden eliminated Emilio Sanchez of Spain 6-4, 6-2.

No. 14 Thomas Muster of Austria downed Bernd Karbacher of Germany 6-4, 6-2; No. 15 Patrick Rafter of Australia rallied for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Alex Corretja of Spain, and No. 16 Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia overpowered Aaron Krickstein 6-2, 6-0.

The winner of Monday’s singles final earns $255,000 and the runner-up gets $135,000.

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