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Mardy & Jake: Two Friends With A Mission

Little did Mardy Fish and Jake Owen know as teenagers in Vero Beach that one day they would be both celebrities and philanthropists.

Country-western superstar, and Vero Beach native, Jake Owen performs at last year’s Fish/Owen event.

Country-western superstar, and Vero Beach native, Jake Owen performs at last year’s Fish/Owen event.

Many life-long friendships have begun at the Community Church Preschool, but perhaps none are as famous as that of Mardy Fish and Jake Owen. Imagine the two rough-and-tumble boys, champions of the playground, never knowing the brilliant future that lay ahead.

Four-year-old Mardy moved to Vero Beach from Minnesota in 1985, having already netted accolades for his tennis prowess (WCCO television in Minneapolis declared Mardy “the best 2-year-old tennis player in the world”).

Vero Beach native Jake Owen dreamed of a life playing professional golf, winning his first tournament at age 15. An injury, however, forced him off the course for an extended length of time. To stave off boredom, he taught himself to play the guitar. The rest is history.

After signing with RCA in 2006, Jake’s life became a whirlwind of television performances, award-winning albums and hit singles. His album Barefoot Blue Jeans Night currently holds the No. 16 position on Billboard’s Hot Country Album chart. Last month, he was named one of the sexiest men in America by People Magazine.

In addition to his own shows, Owen has toured with some of the biggest names in country music, including Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Sugarland and Carrie Underwood, and is presently joining Keith Urban on tour.

Mardy is now the top-ranked American in professional tennis, and currently ranked No. 8 in the world. Over the course of his career he has won six singles titles and eight doubles titles while defeating players such as Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.  He is having a career-best season this year, reaching the semifinals in Key Biscayne, the third round at the French Open, the Quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the finals in Los Angeles and Montreal, and winning the title in Atlanta for the second consecutive year and the U.S. Open Series.

Read the entire article in the December 2011 issue