Article for the Fish Fans

01-18-2004, 12:41 AM
Glad to see him working so hard!!!!!! :yeah:
Fish Story Gets Better Each Year
Published: Jan 18, 2004

WESLEY CHAPEL - Someone at Saddlebrook Resort had to notice the young man sprinting and screaming.
``Big House!''

More sprinting.

``On the beach!''

Still going.

``My own chef!''

Mardy Fish, in the on-deck circle behind buddy Andy Roddick for American male tennis player of the moment, needed a way to survive another one of trainer Pat Etcheberry's muscle-crushing workouts. When the fire in his legs blazed too hot, Fish soothed himself by imagining the spoils of his suffering.

These include beach houses, cars, multiple-page spreads in Ocean Drive magazine and the ability to incite a stampede by walking into the mall.

Fish hasn't reached that level yet - except for the Ocean Drive spread, shot in November - but look at last year's rankings and see that the Tampa resident is ready to make the leap after rising 82 spots to finish last year ranked No. 20 in the ATP's Champions Race standings.

Better yet, look into Fish's ice-blue eyes and see a 22-year-old comfortable with the knowledge that he is poised to soar into his sport's highest echelon. His journey begins this week as the Australian Open begins in Melbourne. Fish, seeded No. 21, faces 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in the first round.

But when success, fame and fortune do find Fish, he expects to be the most normal successful, famous and wealthy person he knows. He still will appreciate the subtle genius of Chevy Chase in ``Fletch,'' and he still will cherish the family vacation photos he shows off on his Web site,

``I know that I'm lucky,'' said Fish, who trains at Saddlebrook in the offseason. ``I don't take it all for granted. I try not to, anyways. I try to stay as grounded as possible. My family helps me do that. My sister tells me I'm an idiot every day.''

That would be sister Meredith, a tennis player at Flagler College in St. Augustine. Father Tom, a tennis pro in Vero Beach, also helps. But Fish's rock is his mother, Sally.

``My mom doesn't really care what I do,'' Fish said. ``She's not that type of person. She just wants to come home and cook me dinner.''

Fish's dinner of choice is chicken and Rice-A-Roni, and Sally makes it better than anyone on the planet. Which is good, because as handy as Fish is with a racket, he's helpless with a spatula.

``He's still her baby,'' Tom Fish said of Mardy and his mother.

As Mardy Fish wins more - he claimed his first ATP singles title in Stockholm in October - Tom, Sally and Meredith will be joined by a growing legion of Fish fans. Fish knows this, just as he knows he'll have to face cameras and questions about everything from his dating life to his underwear preference.

Fish believes he's ready for all of that.

``It has to do a lot with your personality,'' he said. ``Some people are shy, and some people really like the cameras. I don't really mind it. It should be fun, and it should be exciting.''

Besides, he's put in the work. Etcheberry said Fish's mindset reminds him of Pete Sampras at the same point in his career.

``You have to entertain him,'' Etcheberry said. ``You have to keep him going.''

In the past few months, Fish has grown more serious about his off-the-court workouts. He saw dividends at the end of 2003, and he saw more in his future with every offseason sprint.

Big house. On the beach. His own chef.

They are all coming, and Fish knows it. So do the ones who love him.

``In his own way, he's been preparing for it for a long time,'' Tom Fish said. ``He's been quietly confident and comfortable. That quiet confidence makes him cool.''

J. Corwin
01-18-2004, 02:09 AM

My fave quote:
My sister tells me I'm an idiot every day.''

01-18-2004, 02:14 AM
There are so many pics of him and his sister on his site that I thought it was his girlfriend for a long time :o