Re: the memphis belle er...fish!
Nice article about Todd and Mardy from the Memphis paper
Martin entering new phase in his life
Ex-player becomes coach to rising star Fish
By Phil Stukenborg
February 14, 2005
It's the third week in February.
The ATP Tour is making its annual stop in Memphis at The Racquet Club.
Todd Martin can't be far behind, can he?
Even though Martin retired last year after 15 years on the men's professional tour, he'll be in Memphis this week to watch the tournament through a different set of eyes, those of a coach. Martin is working with No. 6 seed Mardy Fish, a quarterfinalist in Memphis in 2003 and a semifinalist last year.
The Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, formerly the Kroger St. Jude, opens today at The Racquet Club with 32 players vying for the $128,000 first-place prize. The event, a $690,000 ATP tournament, runs through Sunday and has world No. 3 Andy Roddick as its top seed.
Martin, 34, became a fixture at The Racquet Club beginning in the early 1990s, rarely missing the tournament unless, say, a freak pickup basketball game injury intervened. From 1993 to '96 he was in every final, winning twice and finishing as runnerup twice. His losses in the finals came against former world No. 1s Jim Courier (in 1993) and Pete Sampras (in 1996).
Moving from player to coach so soon after retiring was not in Martin's grand scale plans. He'd expected to spend more time with his wife, Amy, and their 2-year-old son, Jackson Dale at their home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. But Martin said one of Fish's representatives called him with a proposal that he found intriguing.
''One of his advisers said he thought Mardy was prepared to make a greater commitment to his tennis and ... I was interested,'' Martin said. ''The player-development side is something I've always been interested in.
''I talked to Mardy the next day. We both said what was on our minds and I know that he answered all my questions the right way.''
Martin, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist and runnerup at the 1994 Australian and 1999 U.S. Opens, said he had spent his final few years on the tour ''working my hardest to mentor some of the younger guys.''
''It was, at least in part, selfishly to become a little more involved and aware of the different techniques in instruction and coaching,'' Martin said. ''But I wasn't at all prepared for that phone call and (especially) from Mardy. I felt I had made a greater impact on some other guys during the years.
''Mardy and I have had very different styles about going about our business until now. Mardy is becoming more disciplined and committed to his profession.''
Fish, who turned 23 in December, reached a career-high ranking of 17 last March. But he slipped to 37 by year's end, a fall caused partially by hip tendinitis that sidelined him for seven weeks in the spring.
Runnerup at the Olympics in Athens last summer, Fish said he wasn't too pleased with his year outside of what happened in Greece. So Fish, his father, Tom, who is a teaching professional in Vero Beach, Fla., and several of Fish's representatives talked about a new direction. It led to Martin.
''I felt like Todd was someone who played a lot like me,'' said Fish, whose lone title came in 2003 in Stockholm. ''He had the brains and the smarts on the court and that is something I can work on.
''I made the phone call knowing he had just unpacked his bags and had just had a kid. Todd's been great. He's come down to Tampa and I've gone up to Ponte Vedra.''
Fish, a Memphis semifinalist last year, said he made the call shortly after helping the U.S. to the Davis Cup final in Spain in early December. Fish said he had been impressed with Martin's willingness to help younger Americans on tour.
''I feel it's a perfect fit,'' Fish said. ''There are so many things he can add to my game mentally and strategically. This was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. I wanted to see what could happen.''
Memphis will be the first tournament Martin has watched Fish in person. Martin, who'll spend the early part of the week at The Racquet Club, said he expects to spend about 10 to 12 weeks traveling with Fish, but said Scott Humphries will also work with Fish and do the majority of the traveling.
''The role I'll play in Mardy's career will be similar to the one Jose Higeuras played in my career: a little bit more teaching and developing of skills rather than a daily maintenance of one's game. I guess, in short, I'm doing my best to make sure five years down the road Mardy is a better player.''
Martin said a ''day-in, day-out'' coach is more involved in ''getting a win today.''
''I'd be neglecting some of my duties if I wasn't involved in that, too,'' Martin said. ''But I'm more interested in seeing him improve over the course of time.''
One who believes Fish has made a wise decision is Martin's ex-coach Dean Goldfine, who is working with Roddick.
''Todd will make an unbelievable coach because he is such a natural teacher,'' Goldfine said.