The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s long-time annual U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit tennis tournament, will be held at The Boulevard Tennis Club through 2022, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced today.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation and Vero Beach’s premier tennis club signed a three-year agreement last week where The Boulevard will host the men’s professional event in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The 2020 event will be held April 26 – May 3 and will be a $15,000-level event on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour. The event benefits the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit organization the benefits at-risk children in Indian River County founded by Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and the current U.S. Davis Cup captain. As part of the agreement, The Boulevard will house and showcase the event’s perpetual trophy, the Rahaley Cup, named for the event founder Mike Rahaley, who passed away earlier this year. The Boulevard will also include the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation in its promotions, including television commercials seen throughout Indian River County.
“We are excited to enter into a multi-year agreement with The Boulevard, which is the epicenter for tennis in Vero Beach,” said Tom Fish, President-emeritus of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation and the father of Mardy Fish. “We are grateful to The Boulevard and its staff for their support of this Vero Beach sporting tradition that serves as our major fundraiser for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, which benefits at-risk children in Indian River County.”
The Boulevard has hosted the event eight times since 2010 and has seen such current ATP Tour standout players such as Frances Tiafoe, Denis Shapovalov and Kyle Edmund compete in the event there. A 48-player qualifying tournament will start Sunday, April 26 with main-draw play starting Tuesday, April 28 concluding with the singles final on Sunday, May 3.
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation currently supports over 2,400 children in conjunction with several other nonprofit organization as well as 15 elementary schools and six middle schools in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Some of the past competitors have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.
For more information on the event, including ticket and sponsor information, go to www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Sponsorships are available by contacting Treasurer/Executive Director Lynn Southerly at LSouth1072@gmail.com or co-tournament directors Tom Fish (Tfish@aol.com) and Randy Walker at (Rwalker@NewChapterMedia.com). Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships have an annual economic impact of approximately $500,000 per year on the Vero Beach local economy. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events entry-level events in the world.
Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan and the Kazakhstan Davis Cup team won the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships at the Boulevard beating Sekou Bangoura of the United States in the final. Sixteen-year-old Zach Svajda of San Diego, who advanced into the main draw of the 2019 event at The Boulevard via the qualifying rounds, jump-started an incredible summer of tennis in Vero Beach in 2019, winning the USTA National Boy’s 18s Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan and earned a main draw spot at the U.S. Open, becoming one of the youngest men ever to compete in the U.S. Championships. He lost in the first-round to Paolo Lorenzi of Italy in five sets after leading two sets to love.
The Boulevard Tennis Club, located in Central Vero Beach on Indian River Boulevard, is the fastest-growing tennis club in Vero Beach, featuring 13 clay tennis courts and world-class tennis instruction and programming for all levels of players. The club is also the home of the highly-regarded restaurant and bar Counter Culture, which is open to the public six days a week. For more information, go to www.BlvdTennisClub.com