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Courier to AP: Decided in ’17 to leave as Davis Cup captain

September 27, 2018
FILE - In this April 7, 2017, file photo, U.S. captain Jim Courier reacts during a Davis Cup world group quarterfinal tennis match between Australia's Jordan Thompson and Jack Sock, of the U.S., in Brisbane, Australia. The U.S. Tennis Association announced Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, that Courier is "stepping down," after eight years in the job and less than two weeks after the Americans lost to host Croatia 3-2 in the Davis Cup semifinals. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard, File)

Jim Courier says he decided a year ago to step aside as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team after the 2018 competition ended.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced Thursday that Courier was “stepping down,” less than two weeks after the Americans lost to host Croatia 3-2 in the Davis Cup semifinals.

The USTA’s news release did not say why he was leaving after eight years on the job.

In an email to The Associated Press, Courier said that the choice to walk away was his and that he determined “at the end of 2017 that 2018 would be my final year as captain.”

He added that he revealed his impending departure to players, staff and USTA President Katrina Adams at the team’s closing dinner in Croatia on Sept. 16, after the matches there concluded.

“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,” Courier wrote to the AP.

Whoever the USTA brings aboard to replace Courier will be its first captain to operate in the new Davis Cup setup that was approved by the International Tennis Federation last month and takes effect next year, including a season-ending, 18-team tournament at a neutral site.

“The format change did not factor into my thinking, as it was far from a certainty when I made the decision,” Courier wrote.

He said he had been working under a one-year contract in each of 2017 and 2018, after having two-year deals over his first six years as the U.S. captain.

The United States had a 10-8 record in World Group play since Courier was appointed in October 2010, twice making it as far as the semifinals. Among the players on Courier’s rosters were Andy Roddick, John Isner and the Bryan brothers.

The country has won a record 32 Davis Cup titles but none since 2007.

Courier said the highlights of his captaincy, “from a competition standpoint,” were beating a Swiss team that featured Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka on the road in 2012 and the “near comeback” against Croatia this month.

Courier was part of Davis Cup-winning teams as a player in 1992 and 1995. He also won four Grand Slam singles titles and reached No. 1 in the rankings.

The 48-year-old retired from the professional tour in 2000 and was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

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