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Ivan Lendl’s Lefty “John McEnroe Double” Practice Partner To Be Honored In Vero Beach

Kriegler Brink, Ivan Lendl’s left-handed sparring partner in Vero Beach, Florida, is moving on from teaching tennis to pursue a job in finance and being honored at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships during its Pro-Am and Kick-Off Cocktail Party Monday, April 25 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach.

Brink, the assistant tennis pro at Quail Valley Club, recently announced that he will be moving to Dallas, Texas this month where he will pursue a job in finance, real estate or insurance. A popular participant at the annual USTA Vero Beach Futures event since 2011, Brink will not participate this year in the tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, but will play in the pro-am event as a “going away” party to help raise funds for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation.

Kriegler was known as the left-handed sparring partner for Hall of Fame tennis legend and Vero Beach resident Ivan Lendl, who frequently trained with the left-handed Kriegler in anticipation of matches with his left-handed rival John McEnroe in senior tennis events around the country, most notably their match at Madison Square Garden in 2011. Brink was a former No. 1 singles and doubles junior in South Africa and a standout player for Texas Christian University, where he finished his four-year career not losing a singles match in dual-match play his junior and senior years. He worked as an assistant pro at The Moorings Yacht & Tennis Club in Vero Beach from 2010 to 2012 before moving to work at Quail Valley. He played in the USTA Vero Beach Futures five times, with his best result coming in 2011 when he reached the singles semifinals in memorable fashion, defeating current world No. 149 Dennis Novikov in the first round and current and former top 300-ranked player Daniel Kosakowski in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion and Mexican Davis Cup team member Daniel Garza in the semifinals.

Brink listed his 2012 exhibition match with Lendl in Vero Beach as one of the best favorite memories in Vero Beach, writing in an email, “When Ivan Lendl was coaching Andy Murray, a couple days after they won Wimbledon together, I came up with the idea to ask my good friend Ivan if he will play an exhibition at Quail free of charge, to raise money for my permanent residency. I ran it through the leaders at Quail and they thought it was a great idea!  I called Ivan up to congratulate him on helping Andy win Wimbledon and asked him, he was happy to help any way he can! It was a member only event and the tickets were not cheap but when the members found out that the money is going to help me get my Green Card, if I remember correctly the tickets sold out within 2 days and had a big waitlist. It was the most fun night because it is always fun to hit tennis balls with Ivan.”

Pro-Am slots, where patrons can play doubles with Kriegler and ATP-ranked tennis pros from around t world competing in the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, are for sale for $150 per person (90 percent tax deductible). Entrants will get two hours of doubles tennis – playing with a rotation of competing pros – and will include cocktails and heavy appetizers. Entrants will also receive two tickets for any main draw session of the tournament (April 26-May 1) and a gift bag. The 90 percent tax deductible fee for non-players who just want to attend, watch and enjoy cocktails, appetizers and fun – and say good-bye and good luck to Kriegler – is $80 per person, and also includes one ticket for the main draw of the tournament. A 18-and-under kids ticket for the night will also be available for $40. To reserve a spot, email Randy Walker at [email protected]

“Kriegler has been a big part of the tennis community here for the last six years and our pro-am event will be like a going-away party for him to help raise funds for our Foundation, which is a very thoughtful gesture,” said Tom Fish, tournament director for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. “Kriegler is a tremendous young man with a bright future in the corporate world. Some company is going to be very lucky when they hire him. We will miss him in Vero Beach.”

Starting in 2016, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation is the new operator of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament in Vero Beach, one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, benefits 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.

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.

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 and by going to the website www.TennisVeroBeach.com

Sponsors and supporters of the 2016 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are as follows

 

Grand Slam Sponsors

SorensenRealEstate.com

Boston Barricade

Laser Spine Institute

George E. Warren Corp.

Indian River Medical Center

Syde Hurdus Foundation

PNC Bank

 

Backhand Sponsors

John’s Island Real Estate

Coastal Van Lines Storage

Indian River Press Journal / TCPalm.com

Barbara Ettinger

Dr. Larry Landsman

Dr. John Sarbak

Citrus Grillhouse

White Orchid Day Spa

Gene Simonsen

Michael & Kathleen Pierce

Center Court

Publix

 

Forehand Sponsors

Rosato Plastic Surgery Center

Kay C. Betancourt, DMD

Jeff & Rosanne Susi

Mello Financial

Jean Ueltschi

Sam & Susie Bell

Cravings

Sue Powell Rentals

William Barhorst

Peter Bernholz Family

Don & Linda Proctor

The Whole Person Project, Inc.

Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery

Ocean Drive Elite Physiques

Huryn Construction

Riverside Café

Barker Air Conditioning

Bill & Laurie Stewart

Steve McCloud / Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Coggin BMW of Ft. Pierce / Mercedes of Ft. Pierce

Twig Swim & Sportswear Shop

Osceola Bistro

 

Supporting Sponsors and Patrons

The Moorings Yacht & Country Club

New Leaf Designs

A Pampered Life / Disney Spa

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion

Robert Kowalczyk

Win Detergent

Calvetti & Company

NewChapterMedia.com

Steve Hardin

Aurelija Merrill

Carol Donnelly

Roy & Tish Wissel

Boast

Hutchinson’s Florist

Casey’s Restaurant

Chelsea’s Market

Tennis Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney

Publix

Sassy Boutique

Quail Valley Club

Bottle Shop

Sebastian Roadhouse Restaurant

Busy Bee

Twig

Veranda

Avanzare

Maison Beach Gifts

Center for Advanced Eye Care

Diamond Resorts International

Monreal London

Rock City Gardens

Quail Valley Club

Tina Simone Company

Pogues, Inc.

Kevin Healy, M.S., D.S.

Chiropractic Nutrition and Wellness

Treasure Coast Sports Commission

 

Andy Murray Begins Quest To Reach All Four Major Finals In Monte Carlo

 

The French Open is the only major tournament that British number one Andy Murray has not reached the final of and the Scot is in full swing to carve out the historical accomplishment. His first clay-court match of the pre-French Open swing came at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he Murray took on the qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Murray did not have things all his own way however, as after taking the first set in dominant fashion, Murray let his attention drop, eventually losing the second 6-4 before prevailing in three sets. Murray is now offered odds of 10/1 with Coral to claim the trophy in Monte Carlo come the end of the week.

With next month’s French Open on the horizon, Murray is looking to equal or better is effort of winning two trophies on the red dirt last year.

Having recently become a father for the first time with wife Kim, Murray certainly has a lot to juggle over the coming months. After the clay court season he will return to home territory to begin his preparations for another charge towards the Wimbledon title. The world number two will go into the tournament as one of the favourites usual, with bookmakers Coral giving odds of 7/2 for Murray to claim his second title in South West London. The odds on Murray winning Wimbledon this year of course take into account the form of Djokovic, who after claiming the season opening Australian Open, looks in ominous form.

Murray knows he will have to significantly up his game if he is to have any chance of adding to his two Grand Slam wins to date, with early tournament defeats to Grigor Dimitrov and Federico Delbonis in recent weeks a real cause for concern.

Andy Roddick Beats John McEnroe To Win PowerShares Series Title In St. Louis

Andy Roddick defeated John McEnroe 6-3 in the one-set final of the Champions Classic St. Louis Thursday at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, the third event on the 2016 PowerShares Series tennis circuit.

“St. Louis is a great stop for us,” said Roddick after his victory. “This has always been a great tennis town.”

The win was Roddick’s 12th career title on the PowerShares Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Roddick, 33, has won 12 of 15 career PowerShares Series events since he ended his ATP World Tour career at the 2012 U.S. Open. He dominated the PowerShares Series in 2015, winning a single-season record eight titles. In his debut year on the Series in 2014, he won two of the three tournaments he played. Last Saturday in Charleston, S.C., Roddick won his debut event of the 2016 season with a 6-1 final-round win over Andre Agassi.

Earlier Thursday night, Roddick beat in his former Davis Cup teammate James Blake 6-2 to advance to the final. McEnroe defeated Jim Courier 7-6 (5) in the other semifinal.

“It’s always a pleasure to play James and Johnny Mac is still playing well,” said Roddick. “It’s a blast for me to play these events.”

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

April 22                Memphis (Landers Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

April 23                Tulsa (BOK Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake + 2 Players TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world.  For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

Three South American Davis Cuppers Highlight Field For Mardy Fish Tennis In Vero Beach, Florida

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

American Teenagers Win Singles Wild Card Tournaments For Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tournament

 

Two American teenagers, Adam Ambrozy of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Pietro Rimondini of Boca Raton, Fla., were awarded main draw wild card entries into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Vero Beach, Fla., April 22-May 1, by virtue of winning wild card tournaments last weekend in Orlando and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., respectively. Both players will seek their first ATP World Tour ranking points later this month at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Ambrozy, 18, defeated former 13-time member of the Venezuelan Davis Cup team Jonathan Medina in an incredible 3 hour, 28-minute final 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2 Monday in the final of the wild card tournament at the Tennis Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney in Orlando. Ambrozy served for a straight-set victory at 6-5 in the second set, but faltered when trying to close out the title. He quickly lost the second-set tie-breaker 7-3 and was immediately broken in the opening game of the final set. After fighting off break points to go down a double-break in the final set, Ambrozy held serve en route to streaking to win the final six games of the match to close out the incredible victory. See the last two points of the match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP8741iARbo&feature=em-upload_owner Ambrozy, who will attend Columbia University in New York City in the Fall, will be playing in only his second “Futures” level professional tournament.

Rimondini, 17, defeated fellow American Christian Langmo 7-6 (7), 2-0, retire (rib injury) Sunday in the final of the wild card tournament at BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Rimondini, who has committed to play college tennis at Cornell starting next season, will be playing in his third career Futures event in Vero Beach.

In the doubles wild card tournament in Orlando, Igor Schattan and Antonio Balau, both 17 from the Montverde Academy in Monteverde, Fla., won a six-team competition that was reduced to one-set matches due to rain, beating Americans Jack Najjar and Joseph Sopko 6-4 in the Sunday final. The Brazilian team won the last four games of the match, winning a sudden-death. three-all game point to end the match.

Ticket and sponsorship opportunities – all that benefit the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation – are available for the event. For sponsorship opportunities, contact co-tournament director Tom Fish at [email protected]. Tickets are available for pre-sale at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com

Starting in 2016, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation is the new operator of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament in Vero Beach, one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, benefits 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.

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.

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 and at www.TennisVeroBeach.com

Milos Raonic Serving Woes Leads To One-Sided Loss To Novak Djokovic – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • Ana Ivanovic was given the 2nd quickest loss of her career as Karolina Pliskova beat her 6-2, 6-0 in the third round of Indian Wells in 49 minutes.
  • In the men’s singles final in Indian Wells, Milos Raonic managed to win only three of 30 points on his second serve, leading to a 6-2, 6-0 defeat.
  • Andy Murray was beaten by a left-handed player other than Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2011 as Federico Delbonis beat him in the third round in Indian Wells.
  • At one point in the John Isner-Kei Nishikori fourth round match at Indian Wells, Nishikori’s average first serve speed was 108 miles per hour, while Isner’s average second serve speed was 115 miles per hour.
  • On a negative note for Isner, each of his last three losses have been decided by third set tiebreaks. In each match, Isner held match point and did not face a break point.
  • Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nenad Zimonjic were able to saved eight match points in the semifinal win over the Bryan brothers in Indian Wells.
  • 16-year old Denis Shapovalov of Canada became the first player born in 1999 to win a match on the challenger level. This comes after Felix Auger Aliassime, also of Canada, became the first player born in 2000 to win a match on the challenger level last year. Shapovalov would also go on to become the first 16-year old to make a challenger semifinal since Stefan Kozlov made the semifinals at the Sacramento Challenger in 2014 as a 16-year old.

After Delray Beach Return, Juan Martin del Potro Faces Next Test In Indian Wells

Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Juan Martin del Potro made his return to tennis last month in Delray Beach, Florida after an 11-month absence due to recurring wrist problems. While he didn’t win the tournament, which nobody, not even himself, should have expected, he came out of the event with a very positive outlook and is eager to continue his progression towards playing full time on the ATP World Tour again.

In his post-match press conference after his loss to Sam Querrey in the semifinals of the ATP 250 event, del Potro was clearly disappointed, yet still exclaimed his satisfaction with the overall result he came up with this week. Beating a Top 30 player, a promising young American, and an inspired qualifier en route to the semifinals in Delray Beach were all impressive results for the Argentinian in his return event. While Denis Kudla and Jeremy Chardy didn’t play their best tennis in their matches against del Potro, it was still an impressive feat for him to knock out two Top 70 players in his first live match action since Miami in 2015.

In the loss to Querrey, the American was able to dominant his service games and crush the ball from anywhere on the court, forcing del Potro to move around and hit more backhands than he would have liked. The American only lost nine points on serve throughout the match and didn’t have to face a single break point, allowing him to relax on del Potro’s service games and apply pressure. The pressure built up at the latter stages of both sets, allowing Querrey to break at 5-5 in both sets, giving him the 7-5, 7-5 win. Querrey’s high level of play in the match can give del Potro some relief as it was arguably the best match that Querrey had played all week.

Despite the loss, Del Potro stated in his post-match press conference that he felt as if he had “won more than a tournament,” a sign that he is more than happy with where his game currently is. The 2009 US Open champion confirmed that he will be accepting a wild card to play in the masters level event in Indian Wells, and is well aware of what he needs to work on to improve his game before then.

The competition in Indian Wells surely will most likely be tougher than what del Potro came across in Delray Beach, and will possibly give a better test as to where he truly is with his game. While the entire tennis world is glad to have one of the best players in the world back on tour, no one is happier that del Potro is back on the court than del Potro himself, stating that he is “so glad to play tennis again.” After both his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, he expressed how tired he was, but his happiness could not be hidden behind his exhaustion.

Del Potro stated that he has “many positive things to take from” his experience in Delray Beach as he looks forward to continuing to take the next steps in his comeback.

Roberta Vinci Becomes Oldest Top 10 Debutant – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • The WTA event in Dubai this week was the first time that all eight seeds of a WTA or ATP event lost in their first matches.
  • The final in Rio de Janeiro between Guido Pella and Pablo Cuevas had the highest combined ranking of the two finalists in the history of ATP 500 level events. The final was also the first all-unseeded final since Valencia in 2011.
  • Roberta Vinci became the oldest player on the WTA to reach the Top 10 for the first time in their career. At 33 years and 4 days, Vinci leaps previous record holder Betty Stove who was 31 years and 100 days old when she cracked the Top 10 for the first time.
  • In Nick Kyrgios’ title run in Marseille, he became the first player aged 20 years old or younger to win consecutive matches against Top 10 players (Gasquet and Berdych) since Juan Martin Del Potro did so in the semifinals and finals of the 2009 US Open (Nadal and Federer).
  • Thiago Monteiro, a 21 year old Brazilian, made his ATP World Tour debut as a wild card in Rio de Janeiro, and became the first player ranked outside the Top 300 to beat a Top 10 player in his ATP debut since Corrado Borroni beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Rome in 1995.
  • In Rajeev Ram’s run to the final in Delray Beach, he beat Grigor Dimitrov along the way, increasing his unexpected head-to-head record against the Bulgarian to 4-0.
  • In John Isner’s loss to Pella in Rio de Janeiro, Isner hit the most aces in a best-of-three set match on clay that he has ever hit in his career, 31.
  • Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin won the doubles title in Delray Beach, beating Bob and Mike Bryan in the final. Marach and Martin saved six match points in the final, including coming back from 5-9 down in the match tiebreak.
  • Sander Groen played in the doubles event in Delray Beach this week. Groen has been in the ATP rankings for 27 consecutive years now, and helped Roger Federer win his first professional title, winning the doubles title in Segovia in 1999. Groen also holds the record for most partners played with throughout his career, as he has played with 172 different partners on the challenger circuit and World Tour level.
  • Marco Chiudinelli won the Wroclaw challenger this week, his first challenger title since 2009. In doing so, he won his 10th consecutive tiebreak.

Sam Querrey Beats Rajeev Ram In Delray Beach Final

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

In the first all-American final on the ATP tour since April of 2015, Sam Querrey defeated Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6 in the Delray Beach Open final. Playing in good conditions with a neutral crowd, Querrey proved to be the better player on the day, crushing his serve and simply playing at a more consistent level throughout the match.

The first set saw Ram jump out to a quick lead by breaking Querrey in the first game of the match. This was a surprise in itself as Querrey came from not facing a single break point in the semifinals against Juan Martin Del Potro, to being broken in the first game of the final. Querrey was not phased, though, as he managed to break right back in the next game to get back on serve. Aside from one game at 3-3 where Querrey was taken to deuce, the set was straightforward until Ram served at 4-5. After going up 40-15 in the game, Ram dropped four consecutive points as Querrey managed to break to win the set, 6-4.

The second set got off to a similar start as the first as Ram opened it up by breaking Querrey, this time at love. Ram was able to consolidate in his first service game of the set, but came across trouble serving at 2-1. Querrey managed to fight back from 40-30 to win three points in a row to get the break and level the set at 2-2. This time, both servers were able to see things through to the tiebreak with only a few hiccups along the way. Ram saved a break point at 2-3, while Querrey double faulted on consecutive points after going up 40-15 in his 5-5 service game. Both players were able to hold their nerve in those respective situations, though, sending the second set to a tiebreak.

Ram got off to a good start in the tiebreak, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and eventually holding a 5-2 lead. From there, Querrey managed to win three points in a row to get back on serve in the tiebreak, before saving a set point with an ace at 5-6. After the second change of ends with the score at 6-6, Querrey earned a match point and took advantage of it by hitting an impressive running forehand passing shot that just barely clipped the baseline to win the title.

Querrey and Ram both stated in their press conferences that they felt a little nervous throughout the match, mostly because of the fact they know each other so well. Querrey claimed that what got him through the match and to the title was simply the willingness to win, as he claimed that he had to resort to “ugly tennis” to get the win. Playing at a level below his best yet still managing to win a tournament gives Querrey loads of confidence as he heads into an important part of the season with the Indian Wells-Miami double coming up.

The title for Querrey is his eighth on the ATP World Tour, six of which have come on American soil, but his first since the summer of 2012. The win will cause Querrey’s ranking to jump to No. 43 in the world, the highest his ranking has been since September of 2015.

After a down season in 2015 in which Querrey lost in the first round of half the events he played in, he has been able to get off to a decent start this season, making the veteran American feel great about where his game is right now. The title in Delray Beach was preceded by a semifinal run in Memphis where he was only stopped by Kei Nishikori in a three-setter. Looking forward, Querrey has plenty of room for his ranking to improve in 2016 as he has very little to defend. Other than trying to defend two finals appearances, both of which will come before Wimbledon, he only has second round points to defend for the rest of the year, which Querrey is one bright side of “having a crappy year.”

For Ram, he is disappointed to have lost in the final, but making it that far was surely a pleasant surprise for him. Battling past Bernard Tomic in the first round, fighting back from a set and a break down in the quarterfinals against Benjamin Becker, and beating Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals will be enough for Ram to look back at this week as a huge positive, although he did state that “you never come into a tournament hoping to lose in the first round” when asked if he was pleased with his run this week.

Not only are the match results impressive for Ram, but he will also now jump to a new career high ranking of No. 60, blowing past his previous career high of No. 78. This run will give Ram the confidence needed to continue his success throughout the rest of the 2016 season as he will look to defend his title in Newport in the summer and attempt to finish in the Top 100 in back-to-back years for the first time in his career.

Ram stated that he feels as if he is currently playing the best tennis of his career and has high hopes for the rest of the 2016 season. His plan for the rest of the year is to see where he is ranked after Miami and schedule accordingly his events in Europe. He wants to be well rested for the grass court season and North American hard court swing in the summer, the time of the year in which he feels that he plays his best tennis.

After an event in which many people around the tennis world expected Kevin Anderson, Del Potro, and Dimitrov to have the best weeks, it is two Americans who come out on top and head into the rest of their seasons with confidence.

Taylor Fritz, Dominic Thiem Have Historic Weeks – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • Taylor Fritz’s run to the final in Memphis included numerous impressive stats. Fritz became the youngest American to make an ATP semifinal since Michael Chang made the Wembley semifinals in 1989. Fritz also joined an exclusive list of Americans who had reached a final while 18 years old, including Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Chang. Fritz also became the first 18 year old overall to reach an ATP final since Kei Nishikori, who beat Fritz in the final in Memphis, made the final in Delray Beach in 2008.
  • Dominic Thiem’s win over Rafael Nadal in Buenos Aires saw Thiem become only the third player to save match points in a win over Nadal on clay. The previous two were Nicolas Lapentti and David Ferrer.
  • The loss to Thiem moves Nadal’s record against Top 50 players in 2016 to 0-3, while his record against players outside the Top 50 is 6-0.
  • Only six active players on the WTA have been able to reach a Top 10 ranking at a younger age than Belinda Bencic. Those six are Martina Hingis, Nicole Vaidisova, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Caroline Wozniacki, with Vaidisova being the only one of that failed to reach a No. 1 world ranking. Bencic clinched a spot in the Top 10 this week with her run to the final in St. Petersburg.
  • Nishikori’s win in Memphis made it the fourth straight year that he has won the event. Nishikori joins Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Nadal as the only other active players with four-peats on the ATP World Tour.
  • During his title run in Rotterdam, Martin Klizan became the first player on the ATP to save match points in multiple matches en route to the final since Rajeev Ram did so in Newport in July of 2015.
  • Marco Cecchinato’s struggles on the ATP World Tour continue as he has now lost 11 straight tour level matches to start his career. This week in Buenos Aires, he was downed by Juan Monaco in straight sets.