March 30, 2011 1 Comment
One year ago, entering Miami, he was ranked outside top-100 – coming back from another injury. In the next twelve months, he rode the best streak of his average career – claiming two titles, reaching a third Masters semifinal and setting new Career Highs. Today, Mardy Fish reached a whole new level on his 11-year career: by defeating world no.6 David Ferrer, the Edina-born 29-year old joins names such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick, becoming the best ranked player of the best country tennis ever saw.
In so many ways we could just put an asterisk beside Mardy’s name when talking about his accomplished. When talking about it, we could just open a verbal parenthesis and start enumerating dozens of attenuating’s to diminish him. But no. The asterisk should be replaced by a compliment, and, when talking about it, applause.
Because Mardy is not even close to the above players’ level. Such a heresy to compare him to men who ruled tennis world, won multiple Slams, Masters, were ranked above everyone else for at least some weeks, whose titles are enough to fulfill three pages.
But all the kudos to the guy who left the cold Minnesota and headed south, to Florida, where befriended the same man who he just overtook in the rankings. And if I had a nickel to beat, I’d say Andy Roddick is happy for his friend. Because Roddick knows what’s going on with him. And he also knows his old position is in good hands now.
Today, Mardy Fish earned it. He served, volleyed, and made the hard-working, never-ending David Ferrer down to the ground. And you can’t blame it on the crying baby. Ferrer lowered his head? Yes, he did. But that’s because Fish led him to.
Make no mistake: I’m not going to sell him as a genius, a perennial top-10, because he’s not. We all know about the situation of the American tennis and Roddick’s own. So what? Fish made it anyway.
He’s still one win away from the well-deserved top-10 (well, if Melzer is there… I think it’s fair). Thing is, this win will probably have to come against Djokovic, and in my opinion that’s just much more lil’ ole Mardy can handle. But he will have his chance at some other event. And I’m expecting him to take it, just like he did today.
And, for weirder that it may sound, let’s just praise the new no.1 American. Because it just doesn’t make any sense say that someone who beat Andy Murray three times in a 52-week spam, rose from no.101 to no.11, made 4 finals, winning two, and beat Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet, Andy Murray&Roddick (all were or had already been in the top-10) and put up a hell of a fight against Roger Federer in a final – and at a Masters event – didn’t deserve it. And I’m not even mentioning how he lost weight and recovered from several injuries at such an advanced (tennis) age.