The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s international men’s pro tennis tournament held annually since 1995, has been recognized by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for its excellence through its new Tournament Recognition Program.
The ITF recently launched a Tournament Recognition Program to reward tournaments who perform well under its evaluation programs. The 2023 edition of the tournament, held at the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club last April, was lauded for smooth operations and professionalism, as well as the positive feedback it received from players, coaches and administrators.
“I am delighted to announce that the M15 Vero Beach, FL was received extremely well by the players and adhered to all the administration and operational requirements,” wrote George Donnelly, head of operations for the ITF World Tennis Tour in the email recognizing the event. “In light of this the M15 Vero Beach, FL has been included on the Tournament Recognition Program and has been recognized as one of our leading events with respect to tournament standards of delivery. We are fortunate to have passionate and dedicated tournament organizers on the tour enhancing the tournament experience for players, support team members and officials.”
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships will receive a ‘Recognition Star’ displayed on the ITF website calendar, the event’s ITF tournament homepage and the tournament name will be added to the ITF World Tennis Tour’s Roll of Honor webpage.
The 2024 edition of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships will be held April 22-28 at the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club at the Timber Ridge Residential Community. Randy Walker and Tom Fish serve as co-tournament directors for the tournament. Lynn Southerly heads the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation as its executive director.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been held in Vero Beach since 1995 and, since 2016, has benefitted the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit 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.
To review the 2023 event, watch this video here: “Mardy Fish USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 ITF Futures 2023 Review Video” https://youtu.be/D42Y7d_JKeU?si=WzucMB-nx52_nt1Q via @YouTube
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, 2021 Wimbledon semifinalist Denis Shapovalov, 2022 U.S. Open semifinalist France Tiafoe, 2023 Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul and new rising star and 2023 U.S. Open semifinalist Ben Shelton. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Eight 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, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul.
Affectionately known as “Timber Ridge” to locals, the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club has been a staple in the community for over 30 years and has been owned and run since 2016 by James and Joseph van Deinse. The club boasts 14 Har-Tru tennis courts, a pickleball court, pool and clubhouse with fitness center and bar. The facility previously hosted a $25,000 women’s USTA Pro circuit event in 2014 that featured future major tournament champions Naomi Osaka and Sofia Kenin, future top 10 star Jennifer Brady and future major doubles champions Nicole Melichar, Laura Siegemund and Gaby Dabrowski. The club is also the original home of the “King of the Hill” tennis competition, hosting the first seven editions of Vero Beach’s popular doubles competition from 1996 to 2002. The Vero Beach Fitness & Tennis Club will be the third different venue to host the tournament after being held at Grand Harbor Club for 17 years from 1995 to 2009 and in 2017 and 2018 and at The Boulevard where it was held for 11 years from 2010 to 2016 and from 2019 to 2022.
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,400 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools, and several other community organizations 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.