Mardy Fish defeated good friend and former U.S. Davis Cup teammate James Blake 6-3 in the one-set championship match on Dec. 6, 2018 to win the Champions Challenge at the USTA National Campus, his fourth career title on the Invesco Series QQQ tennis circuit.
The tournament, played in front of a sold-out crowd at the hard court stadium at the USTA’s new state-of-the-art training center, concluded the 10-event North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. The win marked the second straight tournament where Fish defeated Blake in the final after beating him in Los Angeles at the Socal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club in October.
“I’m tired, my back hurts, and it’s really cold,” joked Fish of how he felt after the win over Blake on the 55-degree evening in Orlando.
Fish also won Invesco Series QQQ titles in 2017 in Newport, R.I. and in New Haven, Connecticut. The former world No. 7 and the silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games, Fish grew up just 90 minutes down the road from the USTA National Campus in Vero Beach, Fla., but now resides in Los Angeles. His parents Tom and Sally were in attendance Thursday to once again see their 36-year-old son win a tennis tournament.
“It’s great that I get to come down here and spend some time with them. It worked out great,” Fish said. “It’s obviously nice to sleep in your own childhood home’s bed a couple of times without anyone but them in the house. It’s interesting. You’re never really home with just them. You always have family and friends around. So It was nice to be home.”
Despite the loss, Blake concludes the 2018 Invesco Series QQQ as the year-long points champion for the first time. Blake, the former world No. 4, won titles this year in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
Blake advanced into the championship match by beating former world No. 1 and two-time French and Australian Open champion and Orlando resident Jim Courier 6-3. Fish beat former US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri 6-4 in the other semifinal. Ginepri was a late replacement for 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, who was forced to withdraw from the event with a right shoulder injury sustained earlier in the day.
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