A Fish Called Mardy

June 28, 2011

Suitcases still unpacked? Check. Still the No. 1 ranked American? Check. Still receiving interview requests? Check. Still wondering how to beat Nadal in the next round? Check.

Welcome to the second week of Wimbledon, Mardy. It's been a long time coming.

Mardy Fish, the No. 10 seed and the No. 1 American at the 2011 Wimbledon Championshps is riding a wave of success that has brought him to the second week of Wimbledon, as well as the quarterfinals for the first time in his career. It's a bit different from watching the second-week's matches from an airplane, or curled up on a couch at home. But I think he prefers it this way.

Fish has made it to the third round at Wimbledon on three occasions over the past eight years ('03, '06, and '09). His best result at a Grand Slam came at the 2007 Australian Open, where he lost to Roddick in the quarterfinals, then again at the 2008 US Open, where he lost to Nadal in the quarterfinals. A leaner, more mature, and a more focused Mardy Fish has changed that.

"I definitely have aspirations of going further than just making the fourth round," said Fish in his second-round, post-match press conference at Wimbledon. It's almost as if he knew then that his time had come.

Fish has only lost one set en route to the quarterfinals (a TB in the third round vs. Robin Haase). He just recently cruised past the 2010 Wimbledon finalist, Thomas Berdych in the fourth round. Fish's serve couldn't be better, having accrued 73 aces over the course of four matches.

"You know, I'm pretty comfortable with knowing how to play tennis now," said Fish. "I know my limitations better than ever, and also feel like I can play some pretty good tennis at times."

Fish also knows that the matches from here on out will only get tougher. Nadal, whom he hasn't beaten in five attempts, will be his opponent in the quarterfinals on Wednesday--albeit an injured Rafael Nadal (left foot). It would be difficult to see Rafa pull out of Wimbledon due to injury (or any reason for that matter), and it's not the way Fish would want to win against Nadal. But as they say, one man's misfortune is another man's gain.

Is it lonely at the top for the No. 1 American? According to Fish, the answer is yes. He misses his compatriots. "It's lonely. It doesn't feel great. And that's not the goal. You know, I want the guys here. So that's a bit of a bummer, I guess."

I'm guessing he'd feel a bit less lonely with a Wimbledon trophy to carry around.

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