It's Courier, uncapped for semifinals Now, 'Mr. Nobody' can't avoid spotlight

July 02, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- Oh, no. Jim Courier is in danger of stepping into the spotlight.

It isn't easy for a 6-foot-1, red-headed man with a howitzer for a forehand to be ignored on his march to the Wimbledon semifinals. But Jim Courier has done it.

"I take my baseball cap off and I'm incognito," he said.

In fact, despite the familiar picture he presents on court -- blasting forehands and tugging on his baseball cap -- he is Wimbledon's most ignored man.

But cap or no cap, when he steps on Centre Court today against No. 2 seed Stefan Edberg for their men's semifinal match, his anonymity may vanish.

He hopes not, and it may help that Boris Becker has become the red-hot favorite to win his fourth Wimbledon title. Becker, the No. 4 seed, plays No. 1 seed Pete Sampras in the other semifinal.

No. 3 Courier, who already has won the Australian Open this year, has been drilling holes through the opposition for 10 days, dropping Ron Agenor, Jason Stoltenberg, Wayne Ferreira and Todd Martin.

Along the way, he has said, "I've simply been surprising myself."

The one time he stood out was when he got mad and swore at the chair umpire during his match with Stoltenberg and nearly got booted out of the All England Club for his audible obscenities.

"I wish I could take what I said back," Courier said. "It's the only regrettable thing I've done. I've worked hard the last three years to control my emotions."

"Guys like Andre [Agassi] -- and Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe before him -- thrived on controversy on the court. I don't thrive on that. When I explode and make a fool of myself on the court, my game goes south."

Being Mr. Nobody at Wimbledon has been the perfect scenario for Courier, who has flourished without any pressure.

"I've been able to be almost nonchalant," Courier said. "I've been kind of relaxed, and that's unusual for me. I think being ignored kind of agrees with me. People aren't taking me too seriously, and I'm not taking myself too seriously, either."

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