Chase Perez-Blanco of Quail Valley, the winner of Vero Beach’s “King of the Hill” competition, and Slim Hamza of The Moorings Club, the “King of the Hill” runner-up, have officially been awarded a main draw doubles wild card into the 2022 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour USTA Pro Circuit event to be played April 25 – May 1 at The Boulevard.
Perez-Blanco and Hamza will play their opening round doubles match against ATP-ranked professionals as the feature night match on Tuesday, April 26.
“We are so happy to award a main draw doubles wild card to the ‘King of the Hill’ winner and runner-up, which has become a nice local Vero Beach tradition,” said Tom Fish, co-tournament director of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. “Chase has been a key figure in the Vero Beach tennis scene the last few years and Slim had been an exciting new addition to our community. Both played high-level and entertaining tennis at ‘King of the Hill’ and we are looking forward to seeing them compete against ranked professionals starting on Tuesday night at our official pro tour event.”
In 2019, Perez-Blanco and “King of the Hill” runner-up Andrew Butz came within two points of winning a first-round doubles match against ATP ranked players, losing to Andrew Watson of Great Britain and Paul Oosterbaan of Michigan 6-2, 4-6 (10-8)
Hamza has competed against such players as Jamie Murray and Ernests Gulbis and reached the doubles final at a $15,000 event in Tunisia in 2014.
For information on Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation tickets, including reserved seating, sponsorship seating and general admission, go to www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org or email Lynn Southerly at LSouth1072@gmail.com Daily tickets will be available for $40 ($30 paid in advance online). Season tickets will be $200 and reserved and sponsorship seating and packages are also available.
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. 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 the current U.S. Davis Cup captain.
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. 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.
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