By Randy Walker
You never know what you might find out while filling up your gas tank at Wawa in Vero Beach!
As I was filling by gas tank with unleaded at the Wawa on US-1, a yellow sports car pulled next to me. The car door opened and I heard a friendly voice call out ‘Hey Randy.”
It was James van Deinse, the co-owner and teaching pro at the Vero Beach Tennis and Fitness Club. We talked a bit about his success at “King of the Hill,” where he and brother Joseph are in the “Open Division” final to be played March 2, where the winner and runner-up get a wild card in the main draw of doubles at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in late April. We also talked about the annual singles Mardy Fish “Wild Card” event at Sea Oaks, which is held next week. James then dropped the big news on why he would not be playing in that event.
“I got a wild card into a Challenger in Mexico,” said James.
A Challenger is a pro event that is just below the ATP Tour event level, and always features top 150 players, and many times top 100 pros and familiar names that all have seen play big matches at Grand Slam tournaments. The event is Monterrey Challenger and Fernando Verdasco, the Davis Cup star for Spain and former Australian Open semifinalist is the defending champion. Former French Open finalist David Ferrer won the event in 2018.
“How did you get that?” I incredously asked about this amazing opportunity.
Van Deinse explained that Dani Garza, the former Mexican Davis Cup player who coaches in Vero Beach, knows the tournament director and put in a good word for him and a wild card entry in the main draw of singles was granted.
“Adrian Mannarino is playing” van Deinse exclaimed of the former top 25-ranked French player who has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three times and has won two ATP singles titles.
Van Deinse has played many prize money events in his career, as well as in the qualifying rounds of five ITF World Tennis Tour events on the $15,000-level. He played in the main draw of doubles at the 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships in 2017, losing in the first round alongside former Quail Valley teaching pro and University of Florida standout Michael Alford. Van Deinse has never held an ATP ranking in singles or doubles and his Universal Tennis (UTR) rating is 11.48. He recently posted one of the best results of his career, winning a local UTR event in Vero Beach, beating former top 400 player Michal Schmid in the Czech Republic in the final as you can read here: https://tennisverobeach.com/index.php/2022/12/19/james-van-deinse-beats-former-top-400-pro-to-win-utr-tournament-at-vero-beach-tennis-fitness-club/?fbclid=IwAR3oIE0-Jh__oe-RnMAgLROFip1wcNsjcnNo6qKHsfV3jLvvCiiXZuvSZr0
For more information on the Monterrey Challenger, click here: https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments/monterrey/7351/overview