Jim Courier on Which Players He's Excited to Watch as the 2021 Miami Open Begins
The Tennis Channel commentator, who won the Miami Open men's singles final in 1991, tells PEOPLE what fans can expect at this year's tournament
Just over two years after they were last held, the Miami Open is back.
The tennis tournament's qualifying rounds kicked off on Monday, marking the Open's return after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The tournament always fields all the best players who are healthy and the pandemic hasn't changed that. The draw will be full of stars," four-time Grand Slam men's singles winner and Tennis Channel commentator Jim Courier tells PEOPLE.
Courier, 50, will be covering the 2021 Miami Open for the Tennis Channel, and is a past winner, himself. He took the men's singles title in Miami back in 1991.
Now, he's looking forward to watching some of tennis' biggest — and rising — stars take the court at Hard Rock Stadium.
"Some of the young players, like Naomi Osaka and Daniil Medvedev, are really taking flight and it will be fun to see if they can keep their recent form," Courier says.
Osaka, of course, just won the women's singles final at the 2021 Australian Open earlier this year. The 23-year-old has never made it to the final round in Miami. Meanwhile, Medvedev, 25, is looking to follow up his own final appearance in Australia. The Russian player ultimately fell to Novak Djokovic in that tournament.
Courier will also be keeping his eye on young women's player Coco Gauff. The 17-year-old American, he says, is "one to watch for."
"She is already in the top 40 in the world rankings and will be a significant force in women's tennis over the next 10 to 20 years," says Courier. "She is also from South Florida so I expect her to get some big crowd support."
The former athlete says the tournament usually "takes on the personality of Miami, with a laid back vibe."
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"The crowd [is] enjoying themselves as they watch the best tennis players at work. It's one of the highlights of the tennis season for the players," Courier says.
The Miami Open is open to a limited number of fans this year. Fans can find ticket availability at MiamiOpen.com, or catch all the action from home, live on Tennis Channel. Check your local listings for details.
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