Quail Valley tennis teaching professional Chase Perez-Blanco and long-time Vero Beach resident Andrew Butz, the winner and runner-up respectively at the annual “King of the Hill” tennis competition that concluded Tuesday night, have been awarded a main draw doubles wild card into the 2020 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, to be held April 26 – May 3 at The Boulevard tennis club in Vero Beach.
Perez-Blanco and Butz were awarded the wild card by the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the operators of the Vero Beach $15,000 U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit and ITF World Tennis Tour event as part of an agreement with the 25-year “King of the Hill” (KOTH) competition and organizer Gigi Casapu to give a wild card entry into the professional event to the KOTH winner and runner-up.
Perez-Blanco and Butz will play their first-round doubles match against world-ranked ATP touring professionals on Tuesday, April 28 at 6:45 pm.
Perez-Blanco is a former University of Florida standout player who ranks No. 6 all-tie in Gator tennis history for most combined singles and doubles victories. Butz, also a former varsity player for the University of Florida, is a two-time Florida 1A state singles champion at Vero Beach’s St. Edwards school and reached the third round of the 2010 USTA Boys National Tennis Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Perez-Blanco and Butz competed last year in the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships and narrowly lost to the ATP-ranked doubles team of Paul Oosterbaan of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Andrew Watson of Great Britain in a thrilling a 6-2, 4-6 (10-8) decision played in front of a rowdy local crowd.
“The King of Hill” is the annual doubles competition featuring tennis professionals from the Vero Beach area who compete in round-robin competitions on Tuesday nights to the determine the “king” of the local tennis professional. Proceeds from “King of the Hill” benefit the Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is the USTA’s $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended entry-level professional events in the world.
Tournament tickets and sponsorships for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are now on sale and can be purchased at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Daily tickets for the April 26-May 3 are $20, with “night session” tickets starting at 5 pm from April 27 – May 2 costing $10. Season tickets for every session of the event are $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 Ttfish10s@aol.com, Randy Walker at RWalker@NewChapterMedia.com or Lynn Southerly at LSouth1072@aol.com. Proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting at-risk children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and the current U.S. Davis Cup captain.
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.com) currently supports over 2,400 children in conjunction with several other nonprofit organization as well as 15 elementary schools and six middle schools 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. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends. The Foundation’s story can also be seen in a video here: https://www.mardyfishchildrensfoundation.org/a-message-from-mardy/
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 and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,200 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and two after school centers 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. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.