American Mardy Fish is on a career-best winning streak and playing the best tennis of his life.
2010 has been a microcosm of Mardy Fish's up-and-down career. He was out of the top 100 in the world rankings earlier this year but has jumped up to number 35, thanks to an 11-match winning streak and earning the title at his last two tournaments.
"Yeah, I mean this is the longest match winning streak I've had. You know, I just sort of want to – desperate to keep it going," he said.
It is no surprise that the 28-year-old Fish became a tennis professional. He was born in Edina, Minnesota, but moved to Vero Beach, Florida when he was four years old. His father Tom taught tennis professionally while Mardy was growing in Vero Beach, and Fish says his father was the reason he started playing.
"I always wanted to be a professional athlete and really did not necessarily care which sport. But he kind of pushed me towards tennis," he says, "luckily saw something that I certainly didn't and a lot of other people didn't. And I have him to obviously thank for everything."
Fish underwent knee surgery last year, but in some ways it turned out to be good luck. During his recovery, he was able to lose more than 14 kilograms. It has made a real difference in the way he moves on the court.
"I feel like a completely different player, feel like a completely different person on and off the court," he said. "I feel healthy; I feel good about how much work I put in and how hard it was to do it. Mentally, you would be surprised at how good you feel when, you know, you can play a match in Atlanta where it is literally 150 degrees (65 degrees Celsius) on the court and you can still last and outlast the guys."
One thing that has not changed is the way Mardy Fish feels about representing the United States in Davis Cup tennis.
"In an individual sport that is the ultimate team thing we have. And to root for the guys and play for your country is one of the best things we have going in our sport," he states. "And it is something that I love to do; I have never turned it down and will never turn down in my career."
Mardy Fish turns 29 next month (September 12), so he is older than most players reaching the top of his game. But he says getting older has its advantages.
"You only get better; you only get more and more experience," he says, "so, you know, I'm much more mature like you said; I'm much more experienced now and I'm enjoying it now more than ever."
Fish is good friends with fellow-Americans Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey, as well as many other players. But Mardy told VOA Sports that friendships are forgotten when they are on the court.
"You know, we have a bunch of friends out here so you come up against those guys quite often. You put it aside as best you can," he explains, "there's nothing else you can do. I mean, they want to win just as badly as you do, so just play the match and you'll be friends after the match."
With the hard court season in swing, Mardy Fish is preparing for the next Grand Slam – the U.S. Open in New York. And while he will not be one of the favorites to win the event, if he keeps up his current level of play, you can never tell.