Three South American tennis players who play Davis Cup for their countries highlight entries into the 2016 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships to be played April 22 to May 1 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Florida.
Juan Carlos Saez of Chile, Federico Zeballos of Bolivia and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador – all who are current members of their nation’s Davis Cup team – are among the 18 direct entries into the $10,000 U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit “Futures” event that has been played in Vero Beach consecutively since 1995.
Seven of the 18 direct entries into the Vero Beach field, in fact, are from South America, also including 2014 Wimbledon junior boys doubles champion Marcelo Zormann from Brazil, Federico Coria from Argentina, the younger brother of 2004 French Open singles finalist Guillermo Coria, and Alejandro Gomez of Colombia, one of the fastest servers in tennis history. Gomez hit the 41st-fastest recorded serve in tennis history last year in the ATP Tour event in Claro, Colombia when he hit a serve 141 miles per hour.
Among the leading European entries are 2009 French Open junior runner-up Gianni Mina of France, nick-named “Baby Monfils” as a comparison to his massively-talented and entertaining fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils. Mina has the distinction of having had the opportunity of playing “The King of Clay” Rafael Nadal in the first round of the 2010 French Open, losing 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Other Europeans in the field include the top-ranked player entered Robin Stanek, a 21-year-old from the Czech Republic, ranked a career-high No. 267, Peter Heller and Nico Matic of Germany and Pedro Martinez Portero, an 18-year-old from Valencia, Spain.
Four Americans received direct entries into the field, highlighted by former three-time All-American from the University of Michigan Evan King of Chicago as the leading U.S. entry. King is joined by Deiton Baughman, 19, of Carson, California, a U.S. Open main draw doubles participant in 2015, Evan Song of Henderson, Nevada, and former University of Illinois All-American Dennis Nevolo of Gurnee, Illinois.
The youngest entry is 16-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who won the U.S. Open junior doubles title last year and also led Canada to victory in the 2015 Junior Davis Cup competition.
Tickets for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation ($10 for qualifying rounds, $20 for the main draw, free for children age 18 and under, $100 for a tournament pass) are for sale now at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com and at the front gate at the event. All proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, U.S. Davis Cup hero and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games. Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,100 children in 15 elementary schools and six middle schools in Indian River County, Florida by providing 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.” Mardy Fish recently completed his ATP professional tennis career at the 2015 U.S. Open, highlighted by a career-high ranking of No. 7, six ATP singles titles, eight ATP doubles titles and an Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2004 Olympics. He reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and was a mainstay on the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2002 to 2012.
Some of the past competitors in Vero Beach 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 Australian Open semifinalist Milos Raonic among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.
The qualifying rounds of the event will be held April 22 – April 25 while the main draw of singles and doubles will be held April 26 – May 1. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures and by going to the website www.TennisVeroBeach.com