VERO BEACH, April 23, 2019 (Press Release)
Brian Battistone and Christian Vinck, two veteran tennis players, who have both played in the main draws of Grand Slam tournaments, are among the leading entries into the pre-qualifying event for the $25,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships that begins Wednesday at The Boulevard tennis club.
Battistone and Vinck are among 32 players competing for the right to earn a “wild card” entry into the qualifying rounds of the tournament, Vero Beach’s 25th annual professional tennis tournament that is a $25,000 event on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour and part of the U.S. Tennis Association’s competitive pathway. The qualifying tournament, which in previous years was played over four days featuring 128 players playing for eight main draw positions, was reduced this year by the ITF to 32 players competing over two days for eight main draw positions. This special pre-qualifying tournament was created by the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation in an effort to give more players competitive tournament opportunities and to help non-qualifying players earn entry into the qualifying tournament.
Battistone, 39, is a fan favorite around the country for his unique volleyball jump serve, his ambidexterous playing style and his double-handed tennis racquet. A native of Las Vegas, Battistone reached a career high ATP doubles ranking of No. 88 in 2010, the same year he competed in the main draw of doubles at the U.S. Open, partnering with Ryler deHeart, losing in the first round to eventual finalists Rohan Bopanna and Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi.
Vinck, 43, has played in the main draw of all four Grand Slam tournaments with his best result being a third-round showing at Wimbledon in 2000. In 1997, he famously defeated Andre Agassi in the final of the USTA Challenger in Agassi’s hometown of Las Vegas, during Agassi’s initial comeback from his ranking dropping to No. 141 in the world.
Vinck is the No. 2 seed in the event, followed by Battistone at No. 3. The top seed is 18-year-old Jan-Magnus Johnson of Naples, one of the top junior players in the United States.
Other notable entries include former Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation pupil Emilio Van Cotthem of Fort Pierce, Vero Beach Tennis Club owners James and Joseph Van Deinse, former Michigan State All-American J.P. Mullane, and Jack Vance, the runner-up at the 2017 Mardy Fish Main Draw Wild Card Championship at Sea Oaks.
The draws and schedule can be found on the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) website here: https://www.myutr.com/events/3744?t=2