The Final Farewell for Mardy Fish
For a man who earned his first ATP victory in Miami in 2000 to still be involved in top tier tennis in 2015 is impressive. For Mardy Fish it is a near miracle. Yet he prepares for his final adventure in Flushing Meadows with a fantastic career behind him.
As a young player he faced the likes of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Pete Sampras, defeating the former and losing to the latter. In the twilight days of his career he has faced the young burgeoning talent of the modern day, players such as Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic, bridging the gap between tennis generations. In the intervening years he has competed strongly against some of the best players in tennis history, scoring wins against Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and his close friend Andy Roddick. Fish’s head to head record of four-five against Murray in particular is evidence of how fine a player he was in his prime.
Yet Fish does not just have big name victories but also memorable titles to recall. He took the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Games. He also won six singles titles, five in his native United States, and one in Sweden. He also contested four Masters Finals, taking a set in each of his defeats against Roddick, Federer, and Djokovic (twice).
2004 also represented the year where he played a massive role in the US Davis Cup victory, playing in the quarters, semis, and the final against Spain, where he won the final dead rubber against Tommy Robredo. Fish would also prove to be a valuable doubles stand-in, partnering Mike Bryan to victory against Wawrinka/Federer in the first round of the 2012 Davis Cup.
He enjoyed a career high season in 2011, when he won in Atlanta. He also enjoyed his best run at Wimbledon, defeating 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, before a four set defeat to defending champion Nadal. These memorable performances, coupled with excellent displays at the US hardcourt Masters 1000s saw Fish attain a career best ranking of seven in August. He then qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London for the only time of his career in the eighth position.
Fish put up entertaining displays in a tough group including Federer, Nadal, and Jo Wilfried Tsonga, taking sets off both Federer and Nadal, but eventually succumbed in all three clashes. Fish ended 2011 with a season-end career high of eight.
Fish then played a good 2012 campaign but a serious heart condition began to take a toll on his professional and personal well being. Fish required surgery but played just six tournaments in 2013 and not at all in 2014, as he dealt with related health complications.
Despite his health issues, he has proven an invaluable source of wisdom to the latest generation of American stars, giving advice to the likes of Jack Sock, and even veterans such as John Isner. Fish may stay involved in the game post retirement, he acted as a commentator at the Washington Citi Open.
Yet he still has one tournament to navigate before the future begins, determined as he is to end his career on his terms. He played in Indian Wells, Atlanta, and Cincinnati, where he comfortably beat Viktor Troicki in straight sets, before falling to Andy Murray in two tight sets. His performance in Cincinnati offers encouragement that he may be able to put together one last run, though he faces a potentially tough second round encounter against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Fish represents the final American to retire, from singles, from the group that included Andy Roddick, and James Blake, a true ending of an era for American tennis. This US Open is not about seeing Mardy Fish in his prime, but a celebration of a true gentleman of the sport ending his career as he sees fit, not forced by other circumstances, at his home Grand Slam. There could be no more fitting finale and farewell to Mardy Fish.
Mardy Fish opens play on Grandstand against Marco Cecchinato at 11am Est. (4pm GMT).
Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington
The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.
Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.
Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.
“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”
With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.
Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.
Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.
Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.
A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.
“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”
The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.
“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”
As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.
Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms
The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.
The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe.
The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.
However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.
“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”
However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.
“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”
The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.
Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.
Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues.
The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.
The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.
“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”
The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:
Indian Wells – Third Round
Miami – First Round
Roland Garros – Fourth Round
Wimbledon – Final
San Jose – First Round
Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.
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