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Jim Courier

Raised In Florida

Courier had the benefit of working for responsive coaches. By age 11, he decided to forsake a promising Little League pitching career for tennis. He attended a tennis camp in Bardmoor, Florida, run by Harry Hopman, the successful coach of strong Australian Davis Cup teams in the 1950s and 1960s. Impressed by Courier's tenacity, Hopman convinced him to enroll for two years.

Growing up in Dade City, Florida, Courier was introduced to tennis by Emma Spencer, a great aunt who ran Dreamworld Tennis Club out of her home in Sanford. She was a former women's tennis coach at the University of Southern California. Courier inherited a strong arm from his father, an executive of a juice processing plant who had spent his college years pitching on a scholar-ship at Florida State University.

In 1986, Courier—a banger, not a finesse player—made good on Hopman's training and won the 14-and-under Orange Bowl championship, the World Series of junior tennis. That victory brought a invitation for Courier to train at the famed Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, a hothouse for budding American tennis stars such as Andre Agassi (the teacher's pet and at one time Courier's roommate). Under Bollettieri's tutelage, Courier went on to win junior championships in 1986 and 1987, turning pro in 1988 at the Via del Mar Challenger event.

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Famous Sports StarsTennisJim Courier Biography - Raised In Florida, Soars To No. 1, Dropoff In Play, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - Brief but Noteworthy Reign