The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced it has taken over the management of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament – one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament – to be called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships – will now 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.
The event was managed for 20 years by Vero Beach tennis teaching professional Mike Rahaley, who made the annual Vero Beach stop one of the crown jewels on the USTA Pro Circuit. The 2016 tournament will be held April 22 through May 1 at The Boulevard tennis club.
“This announcement is all about the future of Vero Beach – to continue this important event and keep it in this community that is so passionate about tennis and to use the tournament to help raise funds for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation which serves as an investment in the future of our community through the kids,” said Tom Fish, Chairman of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation. “We salute Mike Rahaley for the amazing job he has done with this event that last 20 years and we look forward to continuing his legacy for years to come as the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.”
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.mffkids.org 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.
“We are so appreciative to the USTA and Mike Rahaley for allowing the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation to take over this tournament and keeping it in Vero Beach,” said Mardy Fish. “Vero Beach is one of the most enthusiastic and sophisticated tennis communities in the country and we are looking forward to seeing this event continue to grow in the years to come. Most importantly, we are excited that the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation can use this event as a promotional and fundraising platform to benefit children in Vero Beach, Indian River County and beyond.”
The annual USTA Vero Beach Futures has an 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 in the world on the “Futures” level of professional tennis tournaments.
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.
Tickets for the qualifying rounds of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships from April 22 – April 25 will cost $10, while tickets for the main draw of singles and doubles from April 26 – May 1 will be $20. Season tickets that include both the qualifying and main draw events cost $100. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures.