FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Poor Mardy Fish.
Even though he is playing the best tennis of his life and comes in to the US Open as the highest ranked American, some just don’t take him as a serious threat in this tournament.
Just take this question for example after the No. 8 seed cruised today against Malek Jazuri, 6-2 6-2 6-4. Fish answered the question about being thankful about his draw.
To that one reporter responded: But you have to put yourself in that mindset, too. Sounds like you’re a new player in several respects. You have to come in thinking, I’m going to beat whoever’s out there.
Fish then gave this answer: “Look, we don’t make the draw. You can’t know who you’re going to come up with. I got lucky in the first two rounds. No doubt about it.
“Isner played Baghdatis in the first round. That guy’s really good. So his draw was tougher than mine, for sure. There’s no doubt about it. That’s the luck of the draw in that aspect.
“But, you know, you position yourself to get to a top 8 seed and you don’t have to play one of those guys until the quarters. That’s where the hard work pays off, I guess.”
Fish just needs to keep winning and the naysayers will eventually subside. Just last year, the 30 year-old was an annual second round loss at all grand slam events. But then he went to the fourth round of the Open and the new Mardy Fish was introduced to the world.
The hard work to move from journeyman to contender wasn’t easy and frankly a long time coming.
Fish’s knock was that he didn’t take care of himself and wasn’t in the type of shape to be a world class player. But then he did a workout regimen that excelled him to the higher echelons of the tennis world.
And it’s the type of advice he wants to give younger players like Jack Sock if he comes to him for advice.
“Take care of my body better,” he said. “I took that for granted, I think. Just health. It’s hard. I mean, look, you know, he’s a very talented player, a good player now. You know, you just hope they realize that they’re still a long ways away from where he wants to be. I’m sure of that.
“He’s a confident kid, for sure. You have to be. I certainly was at that age. But, you know, you got to channel that the right way, as well. You know, you got to have some fire, like he does, for sure, but you got to channel it the right way, too.
“I think the most important thing is to keep working hard and to keep ‑ it sounds stupid ‑ but to try to stay on the court as much as you can because you can’t take health for granted, because I certainly did.”
And now he moves on the early rounds of the Open with ease. Fish has a good chance to go to the Quarterfinals but then he will have to face the Dark Knight himself, Roger Federer.
“Obviously Novak has done what he’s done,” he said. “He’s head and shoulders the guy you really don’t want in your draw right now. I mean, those guys, they present so many problems, so many different problems, all four of them. And so, yes, you have to get through one of them. Maybe you don’t. It’s very lucky if you get to the semis. Obviously to win a tournament, you have to play two of those guys absolutely. You’re not going to win a tournament without playing two of those guys.”
But that will have to wait, as Fish will take on 34 ranked South African Kevin Anderson, who beat 29th seed Michael Llondra in straight sets today.