32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

Professional tennis tourney to return to Vero in October

STORY BY RAY MCNULTY (Week of September 10, 2020)

Vero Beach’s annual men’s professional tennis tournament, postponed this year because of the pandemic, has been rescheduled for Oct. 19-25, but organizers said last weekend they were unsure if this year’s event would be sanctioned, as usual, by the United States Tennis Association and International Tennis Foundation.

If not, organizers said the tournament still would be played at The Boulevard Tennis Club under the banner of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, but as a Universal Tennis Rating “open” event with no qualifying rounds and as many as 64 men competing for $10,000 in prize money.

The Universal Tennis Rating is a global rating system – separate from the men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour world rankings – that began sanctioning small, pro events in May, when the major tours were shut down by the pandemic.

“I expect to get a strong field, regardless of whether it’s a USTA Pro Circuit event or a UTR event,” Tournament Director Randy Walker said.

“Players ranked 150 and lower haven’t had many opportunities to play lately because of the virus, so they’re starved for tournament play and paychecks.”

Walker and other tournament organizers say they’re concerned they won’t have the resources to comply with the USTA’s strict pandemic protocols, which, in addition to requiring  masks worn on the premises, include processing participants’ health questionnaires, testing , daily body-temperature screenings and social distancing.

While the USTA would cover the Fish tournament’s $15,000 purse – organizers would need to put up all the prize money for a UTR event – Pro Circuit tournaments bring more expenses, including housing and paying USTA administrators and officials.

“The UTR guidelines are much simpler,” said Lynn Southerly, Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation executive director, adding that the tournament probably would need to limit spectator seating, particularly on The Boulevard’s clubhouse deck, and encourage use of the stadium court’s bleachers to abide by social-distancing recommendations.

“This tournament is our No. 1 fund-raiser,” she said of the event, usually played in late April and early May, “and we want as many people as we can safely accommodate to come out.”

Foundation President Tom Fish, a Central Beach resident and tennis director at Windsor, said the sponsors and box-seat holders have remained loyal to the tournament, which has been played annually in Vero Beach since 1995.

“They’ve all stuck with us,” he said. “We communicated with them when the tournament was postponed, and we told them we’d try again later in the year. Nobody has asked for their money back.

“So, we want to have the tournament, and we’re going to have a tournament – as long as the county doesn’t prohibit it because of the virus.”

After the USTA shut down all its tournaments in March, Walker began searching the Pro Circuit calendar for open dates in the fall.

He noticed an October vacancy, a week after a tournament in Tallahassee.

“I sent the USTA an email and asked if we could slide into that date, and they said yes,” Walker said. “Then we had to sit back and wait.

“We need to hear something soon,” Southerly said, “so that if we don’t have a Pro Circuit tournament, we can make the necessary arrangements and get everything set for a UTR event.”

Either way, the pandemic presents only one obstacle. The other is hurricane season.

“Don’t say that,” Fish said. “Don’t even think it.”