Mr Mark Knowles was inducted into the Bahamas Sports Hall of Fame. This recognition is bestowed on our most decorated Bahamian tennis player! Let us take a look at Mark’s rich tennis biography:
MARK KNOWLES TENNIS EXTRAORDINAIRE
Synonymous with tennis in The Bahamas is the name, Mark Knowles. No other is more decorated in the sport of Bahamian tennis than Mark. At one point in his career in singles, Mark was ranked the World’s No. 96 on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). However, what he is famous for is his success in the doubles arena. During his journey, he partnered with Daniel Nestor, Mahesh Bhupathi, Brian MacPhie and Mardy Fish. He obtained tremendous results with Nestor winning the 2002 Australian Open, the 2004 U.S. Open, and the 2007 French Open. His men’s doubles success is no secret but some may not know that he also won the 2009 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Anna-Lena Grönefeld of Germany.
MARK THE CONTRIBUTOR
Mark Knowles’ contribution to Bahamian Tennis is legendary. Mark represented The Bahamas in singles and doubles in the prestigious Davis Cup for over 13 years. Five times he participated in the Olympics for The Bahamas and the highlight was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational held in Nassau, Bahamas has raised over $1,000,000 to date. In 2010 the event celebrated its 10th anniversary. The invitees over the years to this world-class event have included world-renowned Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, James Blake, Tommy Haas and The Bryan Brothers.
MARK THE PLAYER
Mark has proven stamina on the court. This was on display July 5, 2006, when Knowles participated in one of the longest matches in Wimbledon history The match lasted 6 hours and 9 minutes.
This stamina and longevity were consistent and in 2012 in San Jose Mark became the first men’s player aged 40 and over to win a tour-level doubles title since John McEnroe. Knowles partnered with Malisse to win this ATP World Tour 250 event. After this historic win, Knowles announced his retirement from professional tennis in September 2012. He certainly did tennis his way.
Mark had very fruitful partnerships over the years. He reached the Basel finals with James Blake. With Nestor, he won the 2007 Tennis Masters Cup (first tennis masters title) by defeating Simon Aspelin and Julian Knowles. Knowles also played with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2008 and 2009 where they earned the distinction of being one of the most successful teams on tour, qualifying for the season-ending championships in both years. During their time together Knowles and Bhupathi knocked out defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan in the Australian Open quarterfinals. They won this gripping match in a final set tiebreak. They lost to Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich. Season highlights for Mark comprised three titles, at Memphis, Dubai and Basel. His 50th career title was obtained with the victory in Basel.
At the 2009 Australian Open, Knowles and Bhupathi advanced to the finals before losing to the Bryans in three sets. Also in 2009, this duo went on to reach the US Open final. Mark was a true warrior, he played despite being hampered by a hand injury that required eight stitches on his dominant right hand. Mark and Mahesh won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 for the first time and won the Rogers Cup in Montreal. This winning combination closed out their partnership at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, losing in the semifinals to the Bryan Brothers.
Mark was the 2009 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles champion with Ana-Lena Groenefeld. Knowles was also a repeat champion in Memphis with Mardy Fish.
In 2010, Knowles partnership with Mardy Fish began. The two captured the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, In the finals they defeated Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek. The pair advanced to the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and also the third round of the US Open. Knowles finished the season on a high note and was a runner-up
at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Paris with Andy Ram. Knowles and Ram upset top-ranked Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the quarterfinals. This put the capstone on a very good year for Knowles.
Knowles partnered in 2011 with Michal Merinak. This duo made semifinal appearances in San Jose and Memphis and the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells’ BNP Paribas Open. At the French Open, Merinak went down with a back injury. At Wimbledon, Knowles teamed up with Lukasz Kubot but they fell in the first round. Knowles played his 10th season of World Team Tennis with the Sacramento Capitals and later partnered with Xavier Malisse at the Farmers Classic title at UCLA, his former college campus. The two-edged out Treat Conrad Huey and Somdev Devvarman. With this win, the Bahamian earned his 54th doubles title! In Washington Knowles and Malisse also reached the quarterfinals and the third round at the US Open
MARK – OFF THE COURT
This former World number 1 doubles tennis player and extraordinary Bahamian male athlete was born September 4, 1971, in beautiful Nassau, Bahamas. With the talent, he displayed at a young age Mark was awarded a scholarship to Nick Bollettieri‘s famed academy. He went on to play three seasons at UCLA.
Mark was elected as the Vice President of the ATP by his peers and was also selected to be on the ATP Drug Force Council. Mark Knowles was invited to participate in the 19th annual World Team Tennis Smash Hits charity event in Cleveland. This event was co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King. Mark was selected by John as a member of his team and went on to win the exhibition 19-18. The event raised over $500,000 for the various AIDS charities a very worthy cause.
Mark’s continues to contribute to the world of sports with his sportscaster work. He is knowledgeable and his influence and reach continue to be felt all around the world. “Mark was recently elected
as the Americas Player Representative on the ATP Board. In this position, Mark supports the Player’s views on matters at the Board level along with Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer etc.”
Mark Knowles Tennis Bahamas is threefold in the development of Bahamian tennis. There is an outreach program for financially challenged children and also an elite training program for talented Bahamian juniors between the ages of 6-17 yrs of age. The third component is bringing in foreign ATP professionals to train in the Bahamas enabling our juniors to hit and watch the best in the sport. During Covid-19, Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov and Kyle Edmund all trained at the Albany Tennis Centre and Denis went on to reach the quarter-finals of the 2020 U.S.Open. “
Knowles is married and has three children. A testament to his work ethic and dedication on the court is the influence of Mark’s parents.
This all-around Bahamian; athlete, philanthropist, sportscaster, son, dad, husband and patriot. These many facets all come together to make this legend of a man, Mark Knowles. He embodies the words dedication, hard work and talent. His legacy is solidified in history. He has paved the path for the young Bahamian tennis players and has left some really big tennis shoes to fill.
The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) congratulates Mark on this well-deserved honour. You have left an indelible mark on tennis history and continue to play a pivotal role in our country and the world.