In addition to being the number one-ranked player in the United States, Mardy Fish is currently number one in the Olympus U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge men's standings, having reached the finals of the first two events: Winning in Atlanta and with a runner-up finish Sunday in Los Angeles. The following is an excerpt from a recent Olympus U.S. Open Series conference call with Mardy Fish that New York Tennis Magazine participated in:
You have had a really good 2011 so far. What are your thoughts on your year, and what are your goals for the rest of the summer heading into the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open itself?
Thank you. Yeah, it's been a good year. It's been a pretty consistent year for me basically starting in Memphis, when I started feeling better from the thyroid condition that I had. I was feeling pretty crappy in Australia and
wasn't really sure why, and figured out why obviously after that.
This is the first time you're going into the U.S. Open as the top-ranked American. Can you tell us a little bit about how that feels, and if you're feeling a little bit more pressure from this?
It's definitely the only time that I've been ranked number one. I don't necessarily feel like I'll be the top American. I will maybe be ranked the highest. But it feels strange to say that considering Andy [Roddick] has been the number one player—and I've said it all along—the number one player throughout our generation or my generation that I've played. And James Blake has always been a guy who has played extremely well over the years as well and has taken on sort of the blunt of the pressure and stuff.
I've gone under the radar pretty comfortably and haven't had to answer too many critics. I had my reasons why, and that I could have worked a little bit harder or could have changed some things around earlier in my career than I have now. So, with being the top American comes a little bit of extra pressure, but it's good pressure. It's certainly a position you want to be in. Again, it's new for me. It's not a place that I feel extremely comfortable in. Like I said, I feel like there have been other guys that have had great careers, way better careers than I have had throughout the years.
You have a bit of an ambitious schedule with the U.S. Open Series. Everything on the schedule except for Washington?
Yeah, everything is good. Obviously I look forward to these next three and then the U.S. Open. Winston-Salem is a place that I spent a lot of time throughout the years, and I was super-excited when they added that one to the schedule. You know, we jumped right at it. I remember calling my agent almost immediately after I heard that Winston-Salem was going to be on the schedule and said, I want to play there. So I'm really excited to get there. You know, we spent a lot of a time at Roaring Gap, which is just up the mountain from there, in the summers and stuff. My dad used to work there in the summers every year when I was growing up. That's where I learned to play golf there. We still go there all the time.
You often credit your weight loss and conditioning as the key factors in the turnaround in your career. Frankly, I hear in your voice such a high level of confidence that wasn't there in the early years. Do you credit other factors, changing strategy, changing coach, technique, et cetera, to also add in the mix of your success lately?
Yeah, I think it started witthe weight loss. It started with changing my discipline and changing my outlook on the game and how I took it from a week-to-week basis and a month-to-month basis. I changed, sort of changed the reasons why I played. You know, found better reasons to enjoy being on the court and enjoy being on the practice court. But it all kind of started from the weight loss and the discipline that it took to do that. Then the confidence just comes, you know, you hope it's not arrogance. You hope it's just confidence on the court and sort of speaking
about your game. That comes from winning matches.
It's been secret that it's been a goal of mine to get in the top 10. It's just not a fluke to get there. You have to win a lot matches against a lot of good players to get there consistently. So that should give you a lot of confidence. That should give anybody a lot of confidence who gets there.