IT WAS a bad day for the leading Americans at the ATP Championships in Mason, Ohio, on Thursday, as the top seed, Jim Courier, and the sixth seed, Andre Agassi, were defeated and the third seed, Pete Sampras, only just survived.
Courier's slump since winning his second successive French Open in June continued with a distressing 7-5, 7-6 third-round loss to David Wheaton. The combination of managed to stay in the tournament with a 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over the Australian, Mark Woodforde.
Courier, the No1 player in the world, had lost in the third round of Wimbledon, the second round of Kitzbuhel and the third round of the Olympics after his French Open win. Asked if tennis is failing to give him much pleasure lately, Courier replied: 'That's a pretty good assessment. In this period of time, I'm not really enjoying tennis. Hopefully, that will come back in, let's say, the next five minutes.'
Courier and Wheaton are no strangers. They played each other frequently as juniors and the 44th-ranked Wheaton has won two of their three professional matches.