Matthew Segura, the ambidextrous great nephew of Hall of Fame legend Pancho Segura, won the Sea Oaks Mardy Fish “Wild Card” Championships Friday with an overwhelming 6-0, 6-0 final-round decision over ATP-ranked Emmett Ward of Delray Beach, Florida. It marked the third straight year that Segura, a 19-year-old from Apopka, Florida, has won this specially-created tournament that awards the winner a main-draw singles wild card entry into the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships USTA Pro Circuit event April 26-May 3 at The Boulevard tennis club.
Segura said the final against Ward, played in front of a crowd of about 300 people, was one of the best matches he has played in his career.
“There are hardly any occasions where I win 6-0, 6-0,” Segura said. “I just played really well. I was in the zone.”
Earlier Friday in the semifinals, Segura was lucky to advance when he came back from a set down and saved a match point before edging 18-year-old Quinn Snyder of New Jersey 4-6, 7-5, (14-12) in a match decided by a 10-point match-tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. Ward, ranked No. 1892 in singles and No. 1829 in doubles by the ATP Tour, also advanced to the final in a decisive 10-point match-tiebreaker, beating former U.S. Open doubles and mixed doubles competitor Brian Battistone of Las Vegas 6-4, 4-6 (10-2).
Segura heaped high praise on the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation and the fans, membership and staff at Sea Oaks for the atmosphere at this specially-created event, calling it a “mini ATP event.”
“It’s amazing playing in front of all these amazing people,” said Segura. “I like it here. The crowd here is amazing and it also kind of feels like a mini ATP event.”
Segura won this title in 2018 defeating Jack Vance of Las Vegas in the final and in 2019 beating Perry Gregg of Chicago in the final. Segura will likely play his first match at the 2020 MFCF Tennis Championships on Wednesday, April 29 at The Boulevard.
Segura’s double-handed ambidextrous game is very similar to his great uncle Pancho, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who tutored his great nephew for 10 years before his death in 2017. Pancho’s knowledge, philosophy and coaching style was passed on to Matthew’s father Jeff, who continues to teach the “Segura style” to his son. The young Segura also has recently received tutoring from five-time U.S. Open champion Jimmy Connors, who himself was a pupil of Pancho Segura during his tennis career.
Segura is the first player to earn a wild card into the 2020 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s most important annual international sporting event played since 1995 and regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. The tournament’s second main draw wild card will be determined on Tuesday night in the final of the annual “King of the Hill” competition at The Moorings where Chase Perez-Blanco of the Quail Valley Club, James Van Deinse of the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club, Conner Pickering of The Boulevard tennis club and Vero Beach resident Andrew Butz will vie for the 2020 title. The winner and runner-up in this annual doubles event that determines to the “King of the Hill” among local tennis players will be awarded a main-draw doubles wild card entry into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships and will play their first-round match on Tuesday, April 28 at 6:45 pm at The Boulevard.
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.