Re: The "he's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! This time it's for real!!!!" Spring US Season thread!
holy crap is this something decent from tennis-x?????
Fish Begins Upstream Swim with Help from Little Fish
By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer
Finally recovered enough from his wrist injury to compete unhindered, American Mardy Fish is undertaking the slow climb back to his former Top 20 status, and will get some off-court help in 2006 from his little sister.
After cracking the Top 20 in 2004, reaching a career-high No. 17 on the ATP Rankings, Fish had an injury-marred nightmare year in 2005. The all-court American failed to reach a quarterfinal in 11 tournaments between two wrist surgeries last year, including a frustrating period where doctors told him the wrist has healing and he could play, but the pain on court told him otherwise.
"It took a while to get back, and once I got back I had reinjured it again. (The doctor) said it would get better and better which it didn't. It was kind of week by week and I was going from tournament to tournament and the pain was just too much to play. So finally I had the second surgery after the US Open and at least I had a timetable," said Fish, who missed the Australian swing this year and didn't make his debut until Delray Beach at the end of January. "It wasn't a very short timetable, it was a long process but at least I had something I could look forward to, because the first time I just didn't know when it was going to get better."
Fish has yet to post any big results in 2006, but an encouraging sign was a 7-6 third-set loss to pal Andy Roddick in Memphis.
"It's feeling real good, (the wrist is) pretty close to 100 percent and it definitely hasn't bothered me on the court at all," Fish said. "I don't have any restrictions at all on the court with that. I still try to do a lot of strengthening stuff with it away from matches and tournaments."
On April 7-9 the U.S. will take on Chile in the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on grasscourts, but Fish has taken himself out of the normally-intense singles competition for the No. 2 slot behind Roddick, choosing to focus on his climb back to the upper ranks.
"James (Blake) is playing well, Robby (Ginepri) is Top 20 in the world, it's on grass and Taylor (Dent) is a great grasscourt player as well," said the No. 294-ranked Fish. "It's my best surface, grass, but we have plenty of guys who could take care of business right now. I'm ranked 275 or something now and it's just going to take some time to get back. It's unlucky not to be able to take a protected ranking, because when I got hurt I was Top 35 in the world, now I'm trying to work my way into the Top 100."
One new support system Fish will have this year is younger sister Meredith, the former No. 23-ranked NAIA division player for Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., who left the school after her junior year to go to work for Steve Bellamy at The Tennis Channel in 2004.
"It was an opportunity I thought I couldn't pass up, I was in the department called Tennis Industry Relations and I got there right around the US Open," the 23-year-old former cheerleader said. "I started doing things for the parties and breakfasts and doing things for that, getting players there and stuff. I always wanted to do on-camera stuff and get into that work, but its tough to break over, especially when (The Tennis Channel is) so young. Now I want to do something different from the entertainment business now that I see how it works (laughing), but it's been great."
Popular with both staff and players, the blonde Fish dropped the sudden bombshell at The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas that she was leaving the network to move near her brother in Tampa. She plans to enroll in school at the University of South Florida where she'll entertain using her remaining year of athletic eligibility, and house-sit for her brother, James Blake and possibly other players who live in the area.
"I'm going to go to USF and look into playing a little tennis, I'm excited to move to Tampa, I've grown up with all those guys, of course most of them are gone all the time, but they need somebody to let the mailman in or whatever," Fish said. "We've all grown up together maybe 15 months apart so we've always been close, the group of friends, it will be fun to be back close to (Mardy). I'm really close to James and Thomas Blake and they've bought a house probably like two or three houses down, and they're never there and they need someone to keep them up."
The quick-witted younger Fish brought a blush from James Blake and laughter from those around at the ATP event in Las Vegas when, before leaving the media tent after an interview, Blake inquired as to the start time of a party that night, and Fish replied with comic timing, "Whenever you get there."
Fish says when her brother and other players are together in Tampa for the off-season or other times during the year, living near your friends is beneficial for both training and in social situations.
"On Thanksgiving, Mardy's stove was broken and we had to go back and forth to James' house to cook," Fish said. "Luckily he was not using his oven, he was in Connecticut."
Meredith also says a friend and new addition to the Top 50 rankings is considering moving near the boys in Tampa to train, but doesn't want to jinx the situation.
The idea for taking care of the players came from her mother, who runs a concierge service for homeowners on the wealthy East Coast of Florida.
"I also kind of got into it and started thinking about it more since my mom has a business in Vero Beach, Florida where she does that," Meredith said. "Vero Beach is a community where people have like their third houses, and she makes sure when they come home they have food in their house and everything clean. And I could do something like that for them, send their racquets from their house or pick up their girlfriends, or whatever it will be."
As her brother works to climb back into the elite upper ranks, one worry off his mind will be whether or not he left the stove on at home. With Blake too for that matter.
"Just helping them out with things they can't be there for, or making sure their pool doesn't turn green, or letting the UPS guy in their house," Fish said. "I think they're all so awesome that it would be fun to do, and easy on my end."