While Wimbledon will dominate the tennis headlines in the coming weeks, former top-ten ATP performer Mardy Fish will quietly attempt a comeback at a far-less prestigious summer tournament, the BB&T Atlanta Open in late July-early August.
Fish has been mostly sidelined with an anxiety disorder since August of 2013, though he officially ended his 18-month absence from the game at Indian Wells in March.
Fish’s second comeback attempt is notable in itself for U.S. Tennis, but aiding him on this journey back to the top flight will be former world No. 1 and U.S. Open-champion, Andy Roddick.
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) June 15, 2015
Roddick will pair up with Fish for the doubles competition, while Fish will also be playing in the singles draw. When asked about returning to the court with Fish, Roddick was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying: “I wanted to play with my friend and kind of share in his comeback a little bit. I wasn’t a very good doubles player when I was actually good at tennis. Mardy is going to have to do the heavy lifting.”
After a loss in Key Biscayne in March 2012, Fish’s heart began to race uncontrollably and though the problems persisted, he was able to play in Wimbledon later that year. Fish later won a five-setter in the third round of the U.S. Open but had to withdraw from the tournament prior to his fourth-round match with Roger Federer.
While Fish’s ultimate goal is to return to the U.S. Open this summer, he still doesn’t have a complete handle on his situation: “Unfortunately I can only look to Atlanta, just with how things have gone in the past few years. Still sort of fighting the battle of the anxiety disorder, trying to get a firm grip on how I feel after matches.”
Going back to the U.S. Open would be a poetic overture for Fish: “Obviously, it’s no secret, I’d love to go back to the US Open, where sort of it all came crashing down for me in 2012, and sort of conquer that place. And by ‘conquer,’ I mean just get back out on the court there. I have a lot of demons from that place.”
The odds of Fish regaining his career-best No. 7 ranking (2011) seem like a longshot, but taking this step in Atlanta will have to feel like an accomplishment for the 33-year old. For Roddick, who retired from tennis in 2012, this will likely be a one-off.
U.S. Tennis has been in a freefall since Roddick and Fish have been absent from the game. Perhaps the return of this tandem to the court in Atlanta will signal an American resurgence in the gentleman’s game.