17 Feb Haas Polishes Off Perfect Weekend
By STEVE DORSEY
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Tommy Haas put the finishing touches on a memorable weekend for the 40-year-old German when he held off a valiant effort from Jesse Levine to clinch the championship trophy for Team World at the ATP Champions Tour event that kicks off the World Tour’s Delray Beach Open.
Haas defeated Levine 6-3, 3-6, 10-5 in the final match of the three-day competition, handing Team World a 5-3 victory against Team Americas at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center.
Haas, who retired from the regular tour last March after a successful career in which he won 15 ATP World Tour titles, won all three of his singles matches here this weekend, but was extended to a Champions tiebreaker set on Saturday as well as Sunday.
Team Americas closed Team World’s lead to 4-3 earlier Sunday afternoon when Jan-Michael Gambill and Fernando Gonzalez won their doubles match against Wayne Ferreira and Tim Henman 6-4, 6-1, setting up a climatic final match between Haas and Levine to determine the team title. Had Levine won to tie the competition, the team winner would have been determined by a special tiebreaker involving number of sets and games lost. That scenario became unnecessary, however, when Haas delivered his third win of the weekend.
Following the on-court trophy presentations, Levine – who won his other two singles matches — said he remembered being on the losing end of Haas’ 500th career win in Vienna.
“I do remember that match in Vienna,” Haas said. “It’s always a pleasure playing Jesse.”
Haas likely will fondly remember his first Champions Tour experience in Delray Beach. He won all three of his matches, hoisted the team championship trophy and was inducted into the Delray Beach Open Walk of Fame on Saturday night, joining John McEnroe and the legendary Bryan brothers as recipients of that special recognition from the Baron family, which runs the annual tournament.
“It’s a pleasure for players like us to come out and play for all the fans, and we appreciate the support,” Haas said.