Nats Grads Return to Center Court
When Mardy Fish and Robby Ginepri meet-- even in an Exhibition match-- it's hard to tell.
U.S. tennis professional Mardy Fish currently holds a slight edge over compatriot Robby Ginepri(57th) with his 48th place ranking on the ATP Tour, and Fish was selected to the U.S. Olympic team. But the two competitors also count each other as friends, and their camaraderie was on display Friday night during the National City / Rx Optical Professional Exhibition. Fish and Ginepri overpowered the number one seeded Boys 18 doubles team of Brendan Evans and Scott Oudsema 8-5 on a picture-perfect summer evening at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium.
"I've been wanting to return for this exhibition ever since my last visit," Fish admitted. He last played his final match in Kalamazoo in the 1999 Boys 18s singles final, a loss to Phillip King.
"(Kalamazoo) is just a great place," added Fish, who is leaving for Athens on Tuesday. "I have so many memories here."
Ginepri's memories are also fond, although he too lost to Phillip King in the 18s finals the following year. He won the doubles in 2000 and both the singles and doubles titles the previous year in the 16s division.
"My best memory of Kalamazoo, besides the titles, is the Blueberries and Cream," Ginepri said and both players received the Kalamazoo delicacy as a gift from the Pro Shop prior to the Exhibition match.
Before facing each other in a pro set, Fish and Ginepri each took on a handful of junior tennis players in the Prince "Beat the Pro" Challenge. Several of the youngsters must have thought the challenge was named "Injure the Pro" as they forced the pros to chase balls side to side on the court.
In the featured match, Fish proved himself worthy of the Olympic spot by downing Ginepri 8-5.
Sources: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office) & Matt