Two Wimbledon titles. Two Olympic Gold Medals. How about two U.S. Opens for Andy Murray?
The Scotsman won his second Olympic Gold Medal in Rio de Janiero, Brazil beating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the gold medal match to become the first singles player in Olympic history to win two gold medals – and repeat as champion. The Olympic gold medal for Murray comes on the heels of him winning his second Wimbledon singles title in July.
He now heads to New York as a betting favorite for the U.S. Open, the site of his first major singles title in 2012.
Murray has won his last 18 singles matches – not losing since the French Open final to Novak Djokovic and since he rehired former coach Ivan Lendl, himself a three-time U.S. Open champion. It is his longest winning streak of his professional career.
After being the dominant force in men’s tennis for much of the last three years, Djokovic has shown chinks in his game after a surprising third-round loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon and an opening-round loss to del Potro at the Olympics. However, redemption is a motivator for the Serbian as he looks to win in New York for a third time.
The U.S. Open women’s singles event may also be a battle for the No. 1 ranking with Serena Williams seeking to hold off the challenge of world No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany. Williams had trouble with her health and her shoulder in her upset loss to Elina Svitolina in the third round at the Olympics that could hamper her in New York. Despite her upset loss to upstart Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the gold medal match in Rio, Kerber could counter-punch her win to a second major singles title of the year after her win over Williams in the Australian Open final in January. Garbine Muguruza of Spain, the French Open champion, may also contend in New York, but has struggled since achieving her new status in the tennis world order in Paris.
With the Olympics proving to be a physical and emotional drain for many athletes who competed, a dark horse could also emerge in either the men’s or women’s field and win a first major singles title. New top 10 stars Dominic Thiem of Austria and Milos Raonic of Canada, the Wimbledon finalist, may be fresh enough to make a mark at Flushing Meadows. Romania’s Simona Halep, who also skipped Rio, and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, a first-round loser at the Olympics, may also be ready to break through in New York. Madison Keys of the United States, who finished a painful fourth in Rio, is moving fast up the rankings and may be fueled by her disappointment in not winning a medal in Rio into Grand Slam success in New York.
by Kevin Craig
Angelique Kerber of Germany was able to prevent an all-Williams sister final from happening at Wimbledon as she defeated Venus Williams on Thursday, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the final.
“It’s just amazing…to beat Venus in the semis. It’s always tough. I’m so excited to be in the final here,” said Kerber. “I’m just happy to be playing my best and to be in my second grand slam final.”
The match got off to a very unexpected and topsy-turvy start as each of the first five games were breaks, as well as seven of the first eight. It was Kerber, though, who was able to get that crucial extra break and first hold of the match for 4-2, before eventually snatching the first set.
“I don’t know what was the problem. I think we both were returning very well at the beginning of the first set. I mean I was a little bit nervous when I go out there because I was trying to play my best tennis,” said Kerber.
The second set looked like it could be similar to the first as the German was able to break in the opening game, but that was that. The No. 4 seed felt little pressure from that point as she lost just five points in her five service games of the set, setting up a rematch of the 2016 Australian Open final in which she was able to defeat the 21-time major champion Serena Williams, who needed just 48 minutes to win her semifinal against Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 6-0.
“I know that she played long matches, in the first week especially. I was trying to move her. That was the plan,” said Kerber of her strategy against the 36-year old Venus, who made 10 more unforced errors than her opponent.
“I played against a lot of great opponents. I had a lot of tough matches. It’s not easy out there,” said Venus. “There is no such thing as impossible. It’s always possible. That’s what you feel as an athlete.”
Venus did manage to show signs of life halfway through the second set as she was able to fend off three break points while down 1-3 to hold before earning a 0-30 lead on Kerber’s serve in the next game. The German was too good though and managed to hold on, making her eager for another shot at arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time.
“I know she will go out and try everything to beat me right now,” said Kerber of her matchup with Serena which will take place on Saturday at Wimbledon.
by Kevin Craig
Jo -Wilfried Tsonga outlasted marathon man John Isner on Sunday at Wimbledon, coming back from two sets to love down to win 6-7(3), 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 19-17.
The Frenchman, who is the No. 12 seed in the event, not only battled back from a two sets deficit, but also saved a match point at 15-16 in the fifth set, making his win even more impressive.
“I’m happy to win today one more match. It’s good to be alive,” said Tsonga, the former No. 5 player in the world and 2008 Australian Open finalist.
Three of the four previous meetings between Isner and Tsonga were decided by final set tiebreaks, so this tight affair on Middle Sunday at Wimbledon was hardly unexpected.
When their match began on Saturday, Tsonga lost only two points on serve in the first set, but the latter proved to be costly. A double fault from the No. 12 seed in the tiebreak gave Isner the small opportunity he needed, and he capitalized.
A break for Isner, the only one he earned in the match, came midway through the second set, all but guaranteeing a two sets lead for the American. The big serve was too difficult to break through for Tsonga and he found himself shockingly down two sets to the No. 18 seed.
Before darkness set in on Saturday, Isner had a look to close out the match in straight sets in a third set tiebreak, but the Frenchman proved to be too good, finally able to win the bigger points, setting up a resumption of play on Sunday.
When the players returned to action on the first Middle Sunday that had seen play since 2004, it was Tsonga who took advantage of it being a new day, racing out to a 4-0 lead and winning the set in just 25 minutes.
“I was focused on the game and not really on the other things. But to be honest, once I said ‘maybe it’s going to be long like Nicolas,” said Tsonga of Isner’s epic battle with his compatriot Nicolas Mahut in 2010 that went 70-68 in the fifth set.
This fifth set between Isner and Tsonga didn’t go quite that far, but it did last over two hours and went as so many Isner matches have gone before as opportunities to break were few and far between. The American did fend off a break point in the 5-5 game before having a look at his first break chance of the set 21 games later at 15-16. Isner was unable to convert, though, leaving the door open for Tsonga.
After saving that match point, Tsonga, who hit 88 winners and 21 aces in the match, proceeded to hold at love in his next service game before breaking Isner on his second chance in the 17-17 game thanks to a forehand error. There was no mistake from the Frenchman in closing out the match, holding to 15 to set up a date with Richard Gasuqet in the round of 16 on Manic Monday.
“Hope I will have a good recovery from this one and tomorrow be fit to play,” said Tsonga of his match tomorrow with Gasquet. The two have played eight times with each player winning four.
“He’s a good friend, so of course it’s different to play against him…We know each other well, so it will be a tough match,” said Gasquet.
Both Frenchmen have had a lot of success at Wimbledon as Tsonga reached the quarterfinals in 2010 before having two consecutive semifinal appearances in 2011 and 2012, while Gasquet has also reached the semifinals twice, coming in 2007 and 2015.
by Kevin Craig
Roger Federer ended the Cinderella run of Marcus Willis on Wednesday at Wimbledon as the No. 3 player in the world defeated the No. 772 player in the world, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
Willis, the Brit who was extremely close to pulling the plug on his professional tennis career, decided to make a run at his dream one more time and was successful, winning a wild card tournament to earn entry into the qualifying tournament at Wimbledon, where he was able to beat three top-quality players, one of which was ranked inside the Top 100, to earn a spot in the main draw.
“This story is gold. I hope the press respects his situation. It’s easy now to use it, chew it up, and then throw it all away. He’s got a life and career after this,” said Federer of Willis’ story.
A match with Federer on Centre Court inspired Willis to confidently breeze through his first round match in straight sets, but the 17-time major champion was able to quickly stomp out any possibility of Willis’ run continuing, racing out to a quick one set advantage in less than half an hour.
Willis provided the crowd with something to cheer for early in the second set as he got on the scoreboard for the first time to get to 1-1. The 25-year old played Federer tight throughout the set, but was unable to create any chances on the serve of the Suisse, winning just four points in four return games. Because of the inability to create chances on the return, one poor service game from Willis at 2-3 was the turning point in the set, as Federer converted on his third break point of the game to grab a 4-2 lead, before eventually closing out the set.
The British crowd continued their massive support of Willis in the third set, and he did not disappoint. The Brit looked like he belonged on the biggest stage in tennis as he battled toe-to-toe with arguably the greatest player of all time, serving confidently and beginning to create chances on return. Willis saw just his second break point of the match at 3-2 in the third set, but it was staved off by the veteran, propelling him to break at love just three games later before closing out the straight sets win.
“It’s not easy for him to come out there and play a decent match. There’s a lot of pressure on him as well. I thought he handled it great,” said Federer, complimenting Willis’ performance.
Sure, Willis didn’t win the match, but he earned something so much more important than that. He won the respect of millions of tennis fans around the world, especially those in his own country, who surely hope that he will change his plans and continue his professional tennis career.
“It was all just a blur. It was amazing…I love every bit of it,” said Willis. “The whole experience was incredible.”
After the match had ended, Federer stayed by his chair, allowing Willis to be the one who walked out to the middle of the court to acknowledge the applauding fans giving him a standing ovation, something he may never be able to do on that big of a stage again.
“It was his moment. I wanted him to have a great time,” said Federer.
Federer will take on the winner of Dan Evans, another Brit, or Alex Dolgopolov in the third round.
by Kevin Craig
Juan Martin del Potro made a winning return to Wimbledon on Tuesday as he defeated Frenchman Stephane Robert, 6-1, 7-5, 6-0.
Del Potro was in complete control of the match from the get go, breaking Robert in four of his first five service games, and having a look at three break points in the one game that he did not break. That, combined with a few easy holds, allowed the Argentine to cakewalk to a first set win before having to battle in the second.
After splitting breaks in the first two games, there were almost no opportunities on return for either player until the 12th game in which del Potro, who lost just four points on his first serve throughout the match, was able to break and win the set.
That break was the first of four consecutive for the 27-year old as he only dropped one point on serve in the third set to bagel Robert and close out the match in comprehensive fashion.
“To be honest, I feel my forehands and serves are working well at the moment. But my confidence is not there yet,” said del Potro, who hit 20 forehand winners and zero on the backhand side.
While Robert may be ranked just No. 79 in the world, he has racked up impressive results in 2016, and the way that del Potro was able to dispatch the journeyman was a confidence boost for the former No. 4 player in the world, but he is still making sure to look at the bigger picture.
“This is my comeback after three years. I’m expecting to be better in the future, but for this year my challenge is to finish healthy and ready to make a good preparation for the next year.”
Del Potro, who last played at the All England Club in 2013 when he reached the semifinals of Wimbledon, has had to deal with a plethora of problems with his wrist that have required three separate operations, sidetracking what had the potential to be one of the greatest careers of all-time.
“I was close to quit tennis in the end of last year, but now…I’m enjoying tennis again. I’m starting to talk about tennis and no more about my wrist. That’s important,” said del Potro.
His appearance at Wimbledon this year is his first at a major since the 2014 Australian Open. Of course, his most notable result at a major is his US Open title in 2009 in which he beat Roger Federer in an epic five-setter, but he did have a great amount of success at the majors throughout his career before injuries hit, including two semifinal and five quarterfinal appearances, which allowed him to reach a career high ranking of No. 4 in 2010 and finish the season in the Top 5 twice.
Del Potro has already successfully come back from an issue with his wrist as he was sidelined in early 2010. He was unable to defend his US Open crown and fell to a year-end ranking of No. 257, before impressively climbing back to No. 11 in 2011, re-solidifying his position at the top of the game.
Unfortunately, injuries returned in early 2014, limiting del Potro’s play to just a few tournaments in recent years, and he is looking to make a second successful comeback.
“I’m working hard mentally because I have to deal with some pains and some frustrations,” said del Potro.
After playing just two tournaments in 2015, the Argentine has been able to play seven events coming into Wimbledon this year and has surprised himself with how much success he is having as he was able to reach the semifinals in Delray Beach and Stuttgart.
“This year is completely different for myself and I am enjoying tennis a lot,” said del Potro.
The 2009 US Open champ will take on the two-time major champ in Stan Wawrinka in his second round match in what is sure to be a blockbuster.
With the third Grand Slam of the tennis season getting underway in South West London this week, Wimbledon and the upcoming US Open provide Novak Djokovic with the opportunity to become the first man in the history of the men’s game to win a calendar Grand Slam. The Serbian world number one has achieved success at the Australian Open and French Open so far in 2016, and will be looking to write himself into the record books with further victories this summer.
Djokovic is seeded one for Wimbledon, and as he hunts for his fourth title on the grass in London, the Serbian still believes that there is room for improvement in his game. This will certainly be ominous news for his closest rivals, with bookmakers Coral offering Djokovic as the favourite over the next two weeks with tennis betting odds of 8/11 Of course, we cannot talk about Wimbledon without mentioning home favourite and 2013 winner Andy Murray. With another day, another Murray story makes the headlines, and the Scot heads to Wimbledon having achieved the perfect preparation with another title at Queens, under his new coach for the second time, Ivan Lendl. Murray is the 5/2 second favourite with Coral, with Roger Federer and Milos Raonic at 11/1 and 12/1 respectively to upset the world’s current top two.
Meanwhile, August sees the return to action of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, with the world’s best players battling it out under the lights in New York. Djokovic will be looking to defend his title from last year, and with it possibly achieve the calendar Grand Slam. As a result, Coral offer Djokovic tennis betting odds of 10/11, with Murray once again the second favourite at 4/1. With Rafa Nadal missing Wimbledon due to injury, the Spaniard will be hoping to recover in time to take part in New York, where he is currently 16/1 with Coral to win his third US Open title.
Having failed to win a Grand Slam title since 2012, Federer will be looking to hit back in the best way possible at critics who have written off the 34-year-old over recent years. The Swiss maestro certainly loves the grass of Wimbledon, and it will take a brave man to bet against the seven-time champion reaching the latter stages once again this year.
John Isner, James Blake, Stevie Johnson, Michael Russell Among Partners In New Gluten-Free Energy Bar “ArrowBar”
Top American tennis stars John Isner and Stevie Johnson, as well as former ATP Pros James Blake and Michael Russell, are among the partners in a newly-launched gluten free energy bar called “ArrowBar.”
The ArrowBar is a new gluten-free, all-natural, high performance energy bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, that provides a filling, 200-calorie boost of quick and long-lasting energy. The ArrowBar is now offered in two flavors – Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Honey Oat – and are available for purchase online at www.ArrowBar.com. Bars are available in boxes of 12 for $20.99.
Isner and Johnson are eating the ArrowBar while training and competing at Wimbledon this week. Isner is the top-ranked American player on the ATP World Tour, a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team since 2010, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and a Top 20 player since 2010. Johnson was a member of the 2015 U.S. Davis Cup team, a two-time NCAA singles champion and is expected to be nominated for the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Rio this summer.
“Many people know me as a pro tennis player but most don’t know that I am an avid golfer, basketball player and fisherman who loves to be active,” said Isner. “No matter what my days calls for, there’s one thing I always lean on to keep my energy level high – ArrowBar. I truly believe that anyone who is active and cares about what they put in their body will love the long lasting energy and great taste of ArrowBars.”
“The ArrowBar gives me the nutrients I need without comprising taste,” said Johnson. “There’s nothing better on the market than ArrowBar. When I am looking for the competitive edge I need, there is only one thing I reach for.”
Blake and Russell, who combined to play 31 years on the ATP World Tour, were instrumental in the initial creation of the bar. Russell, who played on the ATP World Tour until age 37, was known for his fitness and diet and personally provided consultation about the nutritional composition of the product, testing the bars in practice and competition at the end of his ATP career. Blake, the former U.S. Davis Cup star and former world No. 4, was also involved in the early testing of ArrowBar, also using the product while training and competing in the New York City Marathon in 2015.
“ArrowBar is the only nutrition bar designed for athletes by athletes – it tastes great, has all natural ingredients and is easy to digest, since it is Gluten-free,” said Russell, who said he tried every nutrition bar imaginable during his 17-year professional tennis career. “Whether I am deep in the fifth set, crushing a gym workout, or just looking for a nutritious, great tasting snack, ArrowBar provides the energy and nutrients my body needs.”
Said Blake, “I wish the ArrowBar had been developed sooner because I trust the process with which it is made. The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day. It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”
The ArrowBar name comes from founding partner Mark Arrowsmith, a former University of Miami tennis player who is now the Director of Tennis at the Eagle Landing Country Club in Orange Park, Florida just outside of Jacksonville where he also runs an annual $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Futures-level professional tennis tournament. Arrowsmith and two other University of Miami varsity athletes – tennis player Andrew Golub and baseball player Rob Goldberg – are the founding partners of the company. Golub was a four-year varsity tennis player for the Hurricanes – and voted captain of the team on two occasions – and now runs Golub Tennis, one of the most successful tennis academies in Florida, helping more than 120 players earn college scholarships. Goldberg, a varsity baseball player at Miami received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Law Degree in Coral Gables. He has worked in numerous projects in commercial real estate and advertising.
Said Arrowsmith, “As a former player and coach, I was always aware of the lack of options for athletes who wanted long lasting energy without chalky aftertastes or having to choke down something that didn’t taste good. While playing college tennis our options were very limited, and it seemed like the options hadn’t improved much since. That is why we set out to create an energy bar that simply does what it says; provide sustained energy while tasting great. I believe that anyone who demands results from their active lifestyle will love ArrowBars.
Said Golub, “From playing at a high collegiate level myself to talking to high level professional tennis players, I knew there was a need for a clean energy source during competition. The goal was to create a product that was easy to eat, that wouldn’t fall apart or melt in your bag and that wouldn’t be tough to digest and sticky on your hands. We accomplished all of those things with ArrowBar and kept the label extremely clean. As a team, we are all very proud to bring this bar to the market and we know this is a need for all active people”
Said Goldberg, “While I do not play competitive sports any longer, my health and staying active are both very important to me. I had always felt that I did not have a good option when it came to the nutrition bars on the market, whether it be prior to a workout or to just get through a long night at the office. When my friends told me five years ago that they noticed the same problem with the people they coach we all agreed that there must be a way to provide a better option, and with that ArrowBar was born. It has been a long road, but it is because we did not want to go to the public with anything less than what we believe to be the best that we can provide. We are very happy with the product that we have created and we know that everyone else will be as well. We couldn’t be happier to launch ArrowBar to the world.”
by Kevin Craig
Serena Williams was able to fight off a spirited attack from Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday at the French Open as she won their third round encounter, 6-4, 7-6(10).
Williams, who has been the No. 1 player in the world for the past 172 weeks, got the match started in a manner that most of her matches go, holding at love and forcing her opponent to stress in her first service game, winning the first six points of the match. Mladenovic, though, was able to fight for the hold and quickly turned the first set in her favor as she became the aggressor and was dominating the majority of the points, bringing the French crowd to life.
“I had not been playing my game. I was playing really defensive. It’s not me,” said Williams.
Mladenovic was able to take Williams to deuce in three of her last four service games in the set, having a look at four break points in that span.
Williams, being the fierce warrior that the tennis world has come to know, fought off all of that pressure and quickly applied it to Mladenovic as she served to stay in the first set at 4-5. Williams raced out to a 0-40 lead in the game, eventually converting on her third break point to close out the set with the only break of the match.
In the second set, Williams carried the momentum and played dominantly as she never fell behind in any of her service games. Playing so freely on her own serve, Williams continuously had looks to break Mladenovic’s serve, seeing nine in total in the set, but was unable to take advantage of any of them and was forced to play an epic tiebreak that lasted 19 minutes.
That tiebreak was put on hold for more than two and a half hours as a massive thunderstorm passed over Paris and delayed all play at Roland Garros. But once the rain had subsided and the courts were prepared for play again, the level of play from Williams and Mladenovic was just as high as it was before the rain came.
Mladenovic, the No. 26 seed, held leads at 3-0 and 5-2 in the tiebreak, but Williams was able to win four points in a row for a 6-5 lead and a match point. Mladenovic was able to save four match points, and had a set point of her own, but in the end, the 21-time major champion was too good and capitalized on her fifth match point to close out the two set win in over two and a half hours.
“I think she played well. I feel like I made a tremendous amount of errors, but I feel like she kind of forced me to,” said Williams, praising Mladenovic’s play.
Williams’ win sees her move into the fourth round of the French Open where only 16 women are left, and she will take on Elina Svitolina, the No. 18 seed.
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
Laser Spine Institute
George E. Warren Corp.
Indian River Medical Center
Syde Hurdus Foundation
John’s Island Real Estate
Coastal Van Lines Storage
Indian River Press Journal / TCPalm.com
Dr. Larry Landsman
Dr. John Sarbak
White Orchid Day Spa
Michael & Kathleen Pierce
Rosato Plastic Surgery Center
Kay C. Betancourt, DMD
Jeff & Rosanne Susi
Sam & Susie Bell
Sue Powell Rentals
Peter Bernholz Family
Don & Linda Proctor
The Whole Person Project, Inc.
Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery
Ocean Drive Elite Physiques
Barker Air Conditioning
Bill & Laurie Stewart
Steve McCloud / Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
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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.