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Unusual “Wild Card” Final For USTA Mardy Fish Futures Event Won By Army Men’s Tennis Coach’s Son

Karl Poling of West Point, N.Y., the 18-year-old son of U.S. Military Academy men’s tennis coach Jim Poling, earned a main draw wild card entry into the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships by winning an unusual final of the wild card tournament held at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona, Florida.

His final-round match against fellow 18-year-old Trent Bryde of Atlanta, Ga., was, however, not played at Lake Nona, but in Orange Park, Florida, just outside of Jacksonville.

Due to rain that washed out an entire day of play in the 40-player wild card event, Poling and Bryde had to play their semifinal and final-round matches on Thursday, April 12, jeopardizing their opportunity to play in the qualifying tournament at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Orange Park – 150 miles away – for which they had to personally register for on-site at the tournament desk by 6 pm that day. Tournament officials decided, in the best interest of the players and their competitive playing opportunities, to have them play the final later that night in Orange Park after signing in to play in the Orange Park qualifying event. Poling and Bryde then battled for nearly three hours before Poling emerged victorious 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Poling joins 17-year-old Matthew Segura of Apopka, Fla., the great nephew of International Tennis Hall of Famer Pancho Segura, as the winners of the two wild card tournaments for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. Segura won an 18-player wild card tournament at the Sea Oaks Tennis & Beach Club in Vero Beach last month, highlighted by appreciative daily crowds of approximately 500 fans. Both teenagers will be competing in the main draw of this $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event at Grand Harbor that starts Tuesday, April 24. The 128-player qualifying event in Vero Beach start Friday, April 20 at 8 am..

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. 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, the former top 10 tennis star and a U.S. Davis Cup standout.

Advance tickets for the April 20-29 event are available at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. 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.

Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera, a member of the Davis Cup team from Chile, is the top entry into this year’s event A 20-year-old from Santiago, Chile, Barrios Vera has been a member of the Chile’s Davis Cup team since 2017 and is currently ranked No. 414 in the ATP World Tour rankings. Other leading entries include Samuel Bensoussan of France, ranked No. 417 in the ATP World Tour rankings, Ricardo Rodriguez, the all-time leading Davis Cup singles player from Venezuela, former Northwestern University standout Strong Kirchheimer, Colombia’s Juan Benitez, who reached the quarterfinals in Vero Beach in 2016, losing an thrilling three-set match to Canadian sensation Denis Shapovalov, and Collins Johns of Maryland, whose ambidextrous groundstrokes fascinated fans in Vero Beach last year during his run to the round of 16 as a lucky-loser entrant.

Play at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships begins at Grand Harbor on Friday, April 20 at 8 am for the opening round of the 128-player qualifying tournament, which in 1998 featured future U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick playing his first ever professional matches. The qualifying rounds will continue Saturday, April 21, Sunday, April 22 and Monday, April 23. Eight players will advance from the qualifying rounds into the main draw. The 32-player singles and 16-team doubles main draw tournament will start on Tuesday, April 24. Special 7 pm night matches will be played Tuesday, April 24 through Friday, April 27, with special $10 night tickets being sold starting at 5 pm.

The featured night match on Tuesday, April 24 while feature Vero Beach native Robert Kowalczyk and “King of the Hill” tournament champion Michael Alford, a teaching pro at the Quail Valley Club, playing their first round doubles match at 7 pm as wild card entrants into the field.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com), the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and a U.S. Davis Cup standout.

Season tickets for all 10 days of the competition are available for $100. Daily buy-one-get-one free tickets for the qualifying rounds April 20-23 are for sale for $10, with daily tickets for the main draw sessions April 24-29 for sale for $20. A special night ticket is available for $10 after 5 pm for night sessions on Tuesday, April 24 – Friday, April 27 that includes a featured 7 pm night match. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Tickets are also sold at the front gate. 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 at the USTA Vero Beach Futures 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 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.

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

Take A Chance To Get Into A Pro Tournament In Doubles In Vero Beach, Florida

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced that for a second straight year it will be hosting a doubles wild card tournament at The Boulevard Club, an ad-hoc doubles “qualifying” tournament, for its $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships in Vero Beach, Fla.

The doubles tournament will start Saturday, April 21, the day after the first round of play in the event’s singles qualifying tournament, and will feature the “FAST4” scoring system, best two-out-of-three-set matches, first to four games, no-ad scoring, tie-breaker at 3-3 and a 10-point tie-breaker in lieu of a third set. The winner of the tournament will be awarded a main draw doubles wild card entry into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships that starts Tuesday, April 25.

The tournament is open to any and all competitors, but players who win the tournament must have an ITF IPIN number to participate in the main draw of the tournament.

Matches will be played at The Boulevard Tennis Club, located across the street from Grand Harbor, the host venue for the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. The entry fee is $60 per team. Players can sign up at www.TennisObservers.com or sign up with cash at the player sign-for the singles qualifying tournament on Thursday, April 19 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the tennis facility at the Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.

All entry fees for the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com)

For more information, contact Randy Walker at 917 770 0843 or [email protected]

Play at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships begins at Grand Harbor on Friday, April 20 at 8 am for the opening round of the 128-player qualifying tournament, which in 1998 featured future U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick playing his first ever professional matches. The qualifying rounds will continue Saturday, April 21, Sunday, April 22 and Monday, April 23. The 32-player singles and 16-team doubles main draw tournament will start on Tuesday, April 24. Special 7 pm night matches will be played Tuesday, April 24 through Friday, April 27, with special $10 night tickets being sold starting at 5 pm.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com), the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and a U.S. Davis Cup standout.

Advance tickets – and sponsorships – for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Season tickets for all 10 days of the competition are available for $100. Daily buy-one-get-one free tickets for the qualifying rounds April 20-23 are for sale for $10, with daily tickets for the main draw sessions April 24-29 for sale for $20. A special night ticket is available for $10 after 5 pm for night sessions on Tuesday, April 24 – Friday, April 27 that includes a featured 7 pm night match. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Tickets are also sold at the front gate. 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 at the USTA Vero Beach Futures 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 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.

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

Tommy Haas Dominates In Invesco Series Debut In Charleston, S.C.

Tommy Haas began his career on the Invesco Series circuit in rousing fashion Sunday morning, winning the QQQ Legends Charleston title defeating Andy Roddick 6-1 in the championship match at the Volvo Car Stadium,

The event was delayed until Sunday morning due to rain Saturday in Charleston and was played in cold and windy conditions with tournament play starting at 8 am with temperatures in the 40s.

“I grew up in Hamburg, Germany. These were like regular conditions for us to play outside on clay, cold and windy,” said Haas. “But it’s never that easy.”

Haas, who turned 40 on April 3, ended his career on the ATP World Tour last year. The former world No. 2 and silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games won his last career ATP match in Stuttgart, Germany last June on grass when he upset Roger Federer in the second round. Roddick, the winner of the year-long Invesco Series points title in 2015 and 2017, joked his displeasure of Haas joining the North American circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 by saying there should be a rule that players should not be eligible to play on the series if they had beaten Federer within the last year.

Haas advanced into the final by beating Michael Chang 6-2 in the opening 8 am semifinal Sunday, winning the first five games of his Invesco Series career. Roddick defeated last year’s Charleston runner-up Mark Philippoussis 6-3 in the other semifinal, avenging his loss to the Australian the previous year on the same court in the semifinals.

The Invesco Series continues next month at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows at Kohala Coast, Hawaii for the first-ever Invesco Series event in Hawaii.

Each QQQ Champions Series by Invesco event features special VIP experiences, including hit-with-the-pros opportunities and special back-stage access. All ticket, experience and event information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four PowerShares Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the 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. 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 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
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; invesco.com. Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.

“Being Serena” Documentary To Debut May 2

HBO Sports, acclaimed for its innovative programming, is teaming up again with IMG’s Original Content group for a five-part documentary series chronicling tennis icon Serena Williams at a pivotal moment in her personal and professional life. BEING SERENA debuts WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, followed by other new episodes subsequent Wednesdays at the same time.

The series will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO®, HBO On Demand® and partners’ streaming services.

BEING SERENA will provide viewers unprecedented access to Williams during her pregnancy, new motherhood and marriage, while documenting her journey back to supremacy on the court. Viewers will experience her life from every angle as the intimate first-person show delves into her landmark career, family life and expanding role as a businesswoman and investor in the worlds of tech, fashion, fitness and philanthropy.

“HBO is honored to work with Serena Williams on such a personal project,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “Even though she has been in the spotlight since her teenage years, Serena continues to capture the imagination. With our partners at IMG, we look forward to giving viewers a revealing, behind-the-scenes portrait of her life on and off the court.”

“Serena Williams is a force unlike any other,” said Mark Shapiro, Co-President of WME and IMG. “Her entire life is one of the hero’s journey, and it has been a privilege to work with her as she enters this next phase. HBO was an incredible partner in developing a unique look into Serena’s world, and we look forward to sharing this all-access story with the world in May.”

Serena Williams, 36, is one of the most dominant forces tennis has ever seen, with 39 Grand Slam titles, four Olympic Gold Medals and the most women’s singles match victories in Grand Slam history. Her supremacy on the court earned her Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year honors in 2015 and made her a four-time winner of the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, first in 2002 and most recently in 2015.

In Jan. 2017, Williams bested her sister Venus in the final match of the Australian Open, marking her seventh time winning that singles event. Four months after her historic victory, Williams revealed that she and her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, were expecting their first child, confirming she was eight weeks pregnant when she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title. On Sept. 1, Williams gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Williams and Ohanian wed soon after in a stunning ceremony before family and friends in New Orleans on Nov. 16.
Williams will return to the tennis circuit this spring to compete in her first Grand Slam event of the year at the French Open in late May.

For more than a decade, HBO Sports has been responsible for some of the most compelling unscripted sports programming, with a stylish and contemporary approach marked by unrestricted access. “Hard Knocks,” launched in 2001 in partnership with NFL Films, has won 15 Sports Emmy® Awards, and the groundbreaking all-access reality franchise “24/7” has earned 18 Sports Emmy® Awards.

BEING SERENA marks the third collaborative docu-series for HBO Sports and IMG. The first was 2016’s “Gonzaga: The March to Madness,” chronicling the Gonzaga men’s basketball team’s march to its 18th consecutive NCAA men’s basketball tournament berth, followed by 2017’s Primetime Emmy® nominee “UConn: The March to Madness,” spotlighting the powerhouse University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team as it sought a fifth consecutive national championship.

BEING SERENA is executive produced by Mark Shapiro, Will Staeger and Michael Antinoro. For HBO: executive producers Peter Nelson and Rick Bernstein; supervising producer, Bentley Weiner.

ABOUT IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.

USTA National Campus In Orlando To Host Wild Card Event For Mardy Fish USTA Pro Circuit Futures Event

The USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida, just outside of Orlando, will host the second of two wild card singles events for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, Monday, April 9 through Wednesday, April 11.

The winner of the event will be awarded a main draw singles wild card, or direct entry, into the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships USTA Pro Circuit “Futures” tournament to be played April 24-29 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach.

Entry fees, that benefit the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, are $65 for the wild card event and are open to all competitive players. More information can be found on TennisLink here: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=220023#&&s=1 The entry deadline is Wednesday, April 4.

Matches, played on clay courts, will be best-two-out-of-three sets and will be played in the late afternoon and early evening. Earlier this month, 17-year-old Matthew Segura of Apopka, Fla., won the first wild card singles tournament for the Mardy Fish Futures, defeating Jack Vance of Las Vegas, Nevada. In the final played at the Sea Oaks Tennis & Beach Club in Vero Beach.

A special doubles wild card tournament will also be held April 21-23 in Vero Beach at the same time as the singles qualifying tournament that starts April 20. The event is open to all players and entries for $60 per team and are being accepted now by emailing Randy Walker at [email protected]

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures 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, 2017 Australian Open star Tennys Sandgren and up-and-coming ATP star Denis Shapovalov 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.

Tournament tickets and sponsorships are now on sale and can be purchased at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com Tickets for the qualifying rounds from April 20 – April 23 cost $10, while tickets for the main draw of singles and doubles from April 24 – 29 are $20, with “night session” tickets starting at 5 pm from April 24-27 costing $10. Season tickets that include both the qualifying and main draw events cost $100. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Detailed sponsorship information can be obtained by emailing Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected]

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 1700 children grades KDG-8th 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. Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, collaborates with various community organizations, including Boys and Girls Club of Indian River County, Dasie Hope Bridgewater Center and LOTA Sports. Kids on Courts After School Tennis program is facilitated by LOTA Sports offering progressive tennis instruction from world class professionals. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends. Fish achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2011 and won 14 career ATP singles and doubles titles in his career. After retiring from the ATP World Tour in 2015, Fish now competes on the celebrity pro golf tour and the PowerShares Series legends tennis tour while serving as a coach for the USTA Player Development Program and a TV commentator for ESPN.

With Roger Federer Out Of The Miami Open, Who Is The Favorite?

After world No. 1 Roger Federer’ stunning opening round loss by the hands of No. 175-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis Australia, the men’s draw at the Miami Open is a virtual toss-up.

With Federer’s loss, it will mark the first time since 2010 and only the second time in 15 years that no member of the “Big 4” in tennis (Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) will win Indian Wells or Miami. With all the usual stars on the sidelines after losses (Federer, Djokovic) and injuries (Nadal, Murray and Stan Wawrinka), many new contenders will now look at the draw and feel more confident that they can snag one of the biggest titles in the tennis circuit.

Juan Martin del Potro is seen as the favorite now to win the title, despite being the No. 5 seed and with two players seeded higher than him still in the draw – No. 2 seed Marin Cilic and No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev. Del Potro and Cilic are the only two players in the field left who have won major titles, del Potro beating Federer in the final of the 2009 U.S. Open and Cilic also winning in New York in 2014. The Argentine always plays his most inspired tennis when in the presence of his vocal and enthusiastic Argentine fan base and there is not a lack of them in Miami. He will feel as though he is playing for his country in these friendly environs and it will help lift his game, just as it did for him at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where he had an incredible run to the final and in winning the Davis Cup for Argentina later that year. To boot, del Potro is on a high after winning two big titles in the last few weeks, the 500-level ATP event in Acapulco, Mexico and his first Masters Series title in Indian Wells, California, where he defeated Federer in a thrilling final.

The only thing that could trip up del Potro would be mental or physical fatigue from playing so many matches in such a short period of time.

Cilic is in del Potro’s half and will also challenge for the title. Cilic still has a hot hand from reaching two of the last three major finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 3 seed, was also in this half of the draw but lost to Jeremy Chardy of France. Dimitrov won his first Masters Series event in Cincinnati also on hard courts last August. He also won the year-end ATP World Tour Finals last November for the biggest win of his career, but has struggled since then.

In Federer’s vacated top half of the draw, the favorite to go through is probably Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed, who has already won two titles on the “Masters Series” level on the ATP Tour (just below the Grand Slams) last year in Rome (defeating Novak Djokovic in the final) and in Montreal (defeating Roger Federer in the final.

However, any number of contenders could also break through. Kevin Anderson, the No. 6 seed, is full of confidence after his run to the US Open final last September and could once again rise to seek more glory.

Tennis observers should keep a close eye on Denis Shapovalov and his Miami Open betting odds. The 18-year-old Canadian left-hander has jumped into the top 50 in the ATP rankings with his explosive game. If he is able to put together all of his amazing shot-making during a stretch of matches, he can beat anybody in the world and grab a title at any level.

USTA Plans Celebrations For 50th Anniversary of U.S. Open

The USTA announced a slate of special events and activities it has planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open. The U.S. National Championships became the US Open in 1968, as the event opened its doors to professional players for the first time. The USTA will activate programming across all its channels including publishing, retail, events, and digital programming to create broad-based offerings designed to celebrate the past and look to the future of America’s Grand Slam.

“This is a true milestone year for the USTA and the US Open,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “With the completion of our five-year transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, we are now positioned to celebrate our tremendous history, while being poised for future growth.”

One of the most visible initiatives is the introduction of a bold new logo for the event. The logo, created by renowned graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, is a streamlined and modernized version of the tournament’s iconic flaming ball logo, which was first introduced in 1997. This new logo was designed to create a visual identity for the tournament that will last far into the future.

The new logo will feature prominently in the US Open’s 2018 advertising campaign, “Built for Glory.” The new campaign, created by long-time US Open agency partner McGarryBowen, leverages the new visual identity along with creative elements inspired by the transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open since 1978. The campaign will begin to roll out on US Open digital and social channels and broadcast platforms, with an expanded multi-platform media plan set for the summer.

“The new logo is bold and energetic, and better captures and expresses the dynamism of the US Open,” said USTA Chief Marketing Officer Amy Choyne. “We have enjoyed 50 years of greatness and our new visual identity will better carry us forward for the next 50 years.”

50th Anniversary celebratory events will be integrated into all US Open activities in 2018. The second year of “The US Open Experience” will feature appearances by former champions and other special guests at a location to be determined in New York City on Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24. The USTA also plans to hold 50th Anniversary events, including special appearances, autograph sessions, and photo opportunities during “Fan Week” from August 21, through August 26.

A full line of products featuring the new logo will be available this spring and summer, and the USTA is also working with its licensees to create specific 50th Anniversary merchandise and products.

In addition, the USTA is working with the noted publisher of art and graphic books, Abrams Publishing, to create a 50th Anniversary book that captures the comprehensive history of the tournament and its champions.

Digitally, the USTA is producing a host of 50th Anniversary programming for its broadcast partners, websites and social channels. In conjunction with the introduction of the new logo, the USTA and long-time technology partner IBM will fully redesign USOpen.org to echo the innovative style of the new mark. Additionally, the USTA will create a 50th Anniversary docu-series featuring a number of 15-minute thematic episodes. Each episode will be themed to major accomplishments and innovations over the 50-year span of the tournament, including equal prize money for women and men, the introduction of technological innovations to the game, the elevation of the on-site fan experience, and other topics. A second series of vignettes, tied to the Built for Glory campaign, also will be produced and offered to US Open domestic and international broadcast partners. The fast-paced pieces will capture the entire US Open experience, from the top players, to celebrity chefs to great historic moments.

This year also marks the conclusion of the five-year strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium, a state-of-the-art, 14,000 seat stadium with a retractable roof will debut at the 2018 US Open. In addition to the new Louis Armstrong, the $600M transformation includes two new stadiums, a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, and completely redesigned grounds that have improved the US Open experience for players and fans alike.

The 2018 US Open begins on Monday, August 27 and runs through Monday, September 9. A full schedule of US Open 50th Anniversary events will be released this summer

Absent From Indian Wells and Miami, Rafael Nadal Targets Clay-Court Season

Much to his disappointment, Rafael Nadal will miss out on the Indian Wells and Miami Open tournaments due to injury. Nadal made the announcement on Friday, March 2nd, the day after he withdrew from his first match in the Mexican Open. After suffering an injury pre-match at Acapulco, Nadal said that he needed more time to recover. He will take a month off, missing at least two major tournaments. Apparently, the injury is in the same area as a previous injury that Nadal picked up at the Australian Open last year.

“The injury I suffered in Acapulco before starting the tournament is the same area as the one suffered in Melbourne,” said Nadal.

Nadal was leading by two sets to one against Cilic at the Australian Open in Melbourne. At the end of the third set, he fist-pumped the air and cried out in joy as he took the lead. Yet Nadal struggled to keep pace in the fourth set and went down 4-1 before calling a medical timeout and receiving treatment on the court. Defeated, Nadal retired in the final set, leaving the crowd wondering what had become of the then world number one.

The following day, Nadal’s team made an announcement that the tennis legend had a serious injury. An MRI scan showed a grade 1 strained iliopsoas, a muscle of the inner hip. Nadal missed the Davis Cup but was expected to make a triumphant return at the Mexican Open on February 24th. Though Nadal did make the trip to Mexico, he withdrew before his first match. Tennis may require the wits of poker, but it also requires a top physical form, and Rafael was not up to the job.

The Mexican Open was the 8th straight tournament that Rafael Nadal has pulled out. Last month, he lost out on his number one ranking to Roger Federer, who went ahead to win more matches and titles. Federer now sits ahead as the world number one, just 600 points ahead of Nadal. He will need to make the semifinals in the Indian Wells to maintain his lead.

Due to the hip injury at the Mexican Open, which seems related to his original injury at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will also miss the Indian Wells, which is now in progress, as well as the Miami Open. Both are hard-court Masters 1000 events, the highest tier below Grand Slams.

“I won’t be able to play in Miami or Indian Wells as I need to recover,” said the world number two.

Last year, Nadal lost out to Roger Federer in the fourth round at Indian Wells, and again to Federer in the final of the Miami Open. As it stands, there will be no highly anticipated rematches at this year’s events. Federer has expressed disappointment that Nadal won’t make the tournaments.

“Rafael Nadal deserves this place, he had an amazing season. I am disappointed that he is injured and that he is not here for the tournament,” said Federer at the Indian Wells.

The pair has played each other 34 times since 2004. Nadal was the winner in 23 of those meetings, though Federer has more Grand Slam titles and now holds the number one spot, at least until Nadal comes back from injury.

The Indian Wells started on Monday, March 5th. Federer won his rain-delayed first round while Novak Djokovic took an unexpected early exit. The Miami Open, however, starts on March 19th.

Nadal’s injuries and problems are a growing concern for fans and tennis experts. He suffered the same injury at the Mexican Open as he did at the Australian Open. Last time, Nadal received anti-inflammatory treatment and physiotherapy for the injury, and so it is assumed he will be undergoing similar treatment this time alongside a game or two of poker from what we hear.

Although much of Nadal’s focus will be on recovery right now, he is likely upset that the injury has slowed down his season already. After such a solid performance last year, Nadal would have wanted to carry on his form early this year. Aside from rest and physiotherapy, Nadal is known to be an avid poker player and has previously enjoyed games of poker at the Indian Wells as well as the usual tennis tournaments. He is also a known Texas Hold ‘Em player who is said to have an aggressive style.

Although no confirmation has been made as to when Rafael Nadal will be back in action, he is now preparing for the clay-court season, which begins in April. The Monte-Carlo Masters on April 14th may be the first tournament that we see Rafael back in action. Usually, this is the first date on his calendar for clay matches.

Nadal has also confirmed that he will be playing at the Queens pre-Wimbledon tournament, which he won 10 years ago in 2008 — one of Nadal’s best years to date, as he also won Wimbledon as well as the French Open. Unfortunately, the chances of seeing Nadal at the Miami Open are about as slim as the world ending via a solar flare, which according to the 888 Poker infographic is pretty much impossible.

As Rafael Nadal’s career progresses, the 31-year old, who has an impressive 16 Grand Slam titles to his name, may have to pick his tournaments more carefully and play fewer games to stay strong and win the competitions that he does play in. It’s an approach taken by rival Roger Federer, who now enjoys a lighter season. Nadal suffered a minor wrist injury in 2016, but this hip injury appears to be a recurring concern.

Many tennis stars of Nadal’s generation are starting to show signs of strain. Thirty-year-old Andy Murray had hip surgery earlier in the year, Djokovic has been affected by recent injuries and Stan Wawrinka will also miss the Indian Wells and Miami Open. Still, Nadal is one of the top tennis players in the world. Only last year, he won the French Open without losing a set! He should be able to take the top spot again when he gets back into his stride. Either that or he’ll have to find an alternative career as a poker player! I wonder if he’s any good at Omaha Hi-Lo.

Indian Wells Odds And Outrights

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is approaching the final rounds and finding value in the remaining matches and outrights is the name of the game for bettors.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer’s dream draw at Indian Wells continues: his path to the final involves a group of players he is 27-1 against. The only opponent on his side of the draw to ever record a win against him is Jeremy Chardy, his round of 16 opponent, who beat him on clay in 2014. Not surprisingly, Federer is a heavy favorite to win the tournament outright, currently listed at about 8/13, which reflects his dominant play in 2018 and the leisure walk of a draw he’s faced with. If you are thinking about a Federer wager, I would recommend visiting this top-list of offshore sportsbooks to find the best price, as the odds given previously are just the average.

In the final, itself, he’ll meet one of a group of players he is 10-50 against, and of those, his most likely opponent is Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro is a legitimate threat to Federer. He has beaten him three times in hardcourt finals and has a winning record in those circumstances. Federer would likely be the favorite still, as he’s unbeaten in 2018 and the best player of all time, but Del Potro won’t be a longshot by any means.

The women’s draw is a little more even. Venus Williams eliminated her sister, Serena, but is still a longshot to win the tournament at around 9/1. World #1 Simona Halep is unsurprisingly the betting favorite (at roughly 5/2). She made it through a nightmarish draw at the 2018 Australian Open, before falling in three sets to Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Halep’s draw from the quarterfinals is mostly favorable, likely facing Karolina Pliskova in the semis, against whom Halep is on a three-win streak and hasn’t lost since 2016. Pliskova’s opponent in the quarterfinals, Naomi Osaka, is something of a hot bet right now, with bettors seeing value in the 16/11 underdog.

As far as finding value in outright bets, it’s hard to go against Roger Federer, even as an odds-on favorite. If you’re feeling flighty, Del Potro at 4/1 is a reasonable option, considering both his decent record against Federer and his play in 2018. On the women’s side, Venus is worth a look at her longshot odds, as beating Serena is very promising and, as Halep herself has conceded, Serena probably should have been the 1-seed in the draw. Angelique Kerber at 11/4 doesn’t make a lot of sense given her record against Halep, and Pliskova has the toughest path the final.

Toronto’s Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre Will Host McEnroe, Courier, Haas, Blake at RPIA Championship

The Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto will host tennis legends John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas and James Blake on May 17 at the RPIA Championship, one of ten events on the 2018 PowerShares Series champions tennis circuit.

The PowerShares Series is the North American tennis circuit for champions tennis players over the age of 30. The series of one-night tournaments features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set final-round match.

This marks the second straight year Toronto has hosted the RPIA Championship after Mark Philippoussis defeated Andy Roddick in last year’s final at the Ricoh Coliseum.

The event starts at 7 pm and will kick off with Haas, the former world No. 2 and the silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games, taking on Blake, the former world No. 4 and member of the 2007 championship-winning U.S. Davis Cup team. McEnroe, the three-time Wimbledon and four-time U.S. Open champion, will then face Courier, the two-time French and Australian Open champion, followed by the singles final. For the fourth straight year on the PowerShares Series players will make their own line-calls with the assistance of electronic line-calling.

“Toronto is one of the world’s great sports towns and I’m looking forward to going back there to play,” said McEnroe. “I hope a lot of my Canadian fans can come out and watch.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, VIP packages and hit-with-the pros opportunities go to www.PowerSharesSeries.com

Local sponsors of the event are RPIA, Peerage Capital, Chestnut Park, Echelon Wealth Partners, Spin Master, MatchPoint Productions

The official charity of the event will be the Doug Philpott Inner-City Children’s Tennis Fund (http://philpottchildrenstennis.ca/). An “RPIA Kids Clinic” for Philpott Children’s Tennis will also be held with two competing players on the Mattamy Athletic Centre court from 5-6pm. “As title sponsor, we are pleased to be able to partner with the Philpott Children’s Tennis Fund to offer these children the unique opportunity to take part in a private clinic with some of the world’s top tennis players and encourage their love for the sport,“ said Richard Pilosof, CEO of RPIA.

The 2018 PowerShares Series will kick off on April 7 in Charleston, S.C. with ten events including events alongside ATP and WTA events in Charleston, S.C., Newport, R.I., Winston-Salem, N.C., and New Haven, Conn. The full 2018 PowerShares Series schedule, with player fields, is as follows:

2018 PowerShares Series Schedule:

April 7: Charleston, SC (Family Circle Tennis Center) – Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, Tommy Haas and Mark Philippoussis

May 5, 6: Kohala Coast, HI (Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows) – John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas and Mardy Fish

May 17: Toronto, ON (Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre) – John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas and James Blake

July 22: Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Lleyton Hewitt, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas and James Blake

August 19: Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Players TBA

August 23, 24: New Haven, CT (Yale University) – Players TBA

October 4: St. Louis, MO (Chaifetz Arena) – Players TBA

October 6: Houston, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) – Players TBA

October 21: Los Angeles, CA (Sherwood Country Club) – Players TBA

TBD: Denver, CO – Players TBA

Each PowerShares Series event also features special VIP experiences, including hit-with-the-pros opportunities and special back-stage access. All ticket, experience and event information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four PowerShares Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won PowerShares Series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the PowerShares Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, 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. 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.

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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 PowerShares by Invesco
PowerShares by Invesco is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its family of more than 140 domestic and international PowerShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs). PowerShares is the provider of PowerShares QQQ, one of the earliest and largest ETFs in the industry. QQQ trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market where innovation and technology expertise have created a world-recognized marketplace for the world’s biggest and best technology companies. PowerShares ETFs seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. PowerShares has US franchise assets exceeding $110 billion as of December 30, 2016. For more information, please visit us at powershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.