Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships have, for a third year in a row, announced that the winner and runner-up of the 24th annual “King of the Hill” tennis tournament that starts Tuesday, January 15 at The Moorings Club in Vero Beach, Fla., will receive a main draw doubles wild card into its annual U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit event to be held April 29-May 5 at The Boulevard tennis club.

“The King of Hill” (KOTH) 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 $25,000 professional tennis tournament, part of the newly rebranded International Tennis Federation “World Tennis Tour,” played in Vero Beach since 1995. It 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 newly-named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

Many former KOTH champions and competitors have played in the Vero Beach USTA Futures, including four-time champion Robert Kowalczyk, the former USTA National Boy’s 18 Clay Court Champion, two-time champion Kriegler Brink, a singles semifinalist at the Vero Beach Futures in 2011, and 2016 and 2018 KOTH champion Mike Alford, a former standout at the University of Florida who played in doubles against current ATP World Tour superstar Denis Shapovalov in the 2016 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. Last year, Alford and Kowalczyk were defeated in the first round of the event by Irish Davis Cup player Julian Bradley and his American partner Isaiah Strode.

KOTH matches run every Tuesday starting at 6 pm from January 15 through February 26 at The Moorings Club. The wild card winner and runner-up team from KOTH will also be the featured 7 pm match on Tuesday, April 30 at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.

Advance tickets for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available at Admission for children 18 and under is free. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events in the world on the “Futures” level of professional tennis tournaments.

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 among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.