STRAIGHT TALK

COURIER SERVICES Thirty-three-year-old Jim Courier, who was ranked the number one tennis player in the world in 1992, will host the Grand-SlamJam tennis exibition in Austin April 29 and 30. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Hope Foundation, a cancer research organization.

I read that you're a musician.

If you call being a hobbyist a musician. I play drums and guitar—neither of them proficiently but both of them quite a lot.

Have you ever performed?

Oh, yeah. Johnny Mac and I played several times, including the first GrandSlamJam, in Austin, four years ago. We were onstage at Antone's, and I played guitar. It was fun.

What do you think of Andy Roddick and Roger Federer?

There are many tremendous athletes on the tour, but Roger is one of the most natural I've seen.

Do you think anybody has a chance against him?

Andy is our best shot. Roger on his best day right now is the best player in the world. If everybody plays their best tennis, Roger wins. But that doesn't happen very often. It's rare that people play their best simultaneously. It's going to be interesting. You never know. If Roger has an off day and Andy has his best day, Andy is going to be right there with Roger. But I would give Roger a slight edge over Andy right now.

Tennis coverage is catering more to youth culture. What do you think of that?

I think it's important to embrace young tennis fans. I don't think a broadcast skewed toward older viewers is the answer because, frankly, the older viewers are going to watch the show anyway. Now, there's an envelope you don't want to push; you don't want it to be trashy or cheesy. But I think if you're a producer, you need to open your eyes to where the kids are.

How difficult is it to keep a charity going with so much competition for donations?

All the causes are worthy. That's just the nature of soliciting funds for a cause. I have a deep, burning passion for the Hope Foundation. This is our fourth GrandSlamJam, and they've been a raging success, I'd say.

(See Austin: Sports.)

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