Fish sees US hope despite Slam drought
Date published :
05 Aug 2011 - 23:00:03
US No. 1 Mardy Fish sees hope for the first Grand Slam singles victory by an American man since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open despite a stranglehold by today's European stars on the top prizes in tennis.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion from Serbia, No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain and Swiss No. 3 Roger Federer have between them won 25 of the past 26 Grand Slam men's singles crowns.
"It's as tough now as it has ever been for one of the guys outside that top group to win a Slam," Fish said Friday.
"The top three or four guys now are playing a lot better than everyone else. A lot of guys in the top 20, top 15, can beat one of them on any given day. It is going to take beating two or three of the top guys to win a Slam."
When it comes to ending the American men's Grand Slam drought, eighth-ranked Fish has some faith in himself and his compatriots.
"I certainly think it can happen," he said.
Fish would love to be the one to make it happen, but he has only a 41-34 career Slam mark and has never gone past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam, cracking the last eight only this year at Wimbledon plus the 2007 Australian Open and 2008 US Open.
"I'd still like to make it past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam and the US Open would be a perfect one for that," Fish said.
For the moment, Fish sees defending champion Nadal as the man to beat, noting, "Nadal is someone who changed his game to play in New York" and citing 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, who broke the top-three Slam lock.
"Del Potro is healthy again. Andy (Roddick) is a tough out there. (Djokovic) hasn't shown that guys can beat him (but) I don't think he's going to go 85-1 the rest of the year. It will be exciting.
"I'll certainly be in the mix. I feel like I can beat anybody in the tournament on that surface."
Fish, 29, went five sets in two of his first three US Open matches last year and sees improving that as a key to finding a spot in a Slam final four.
"You sort of run out of gas expending energy there," Fish said. "You have got to have some luck on your side. If you don't dilly dally around it should help."
A bone bruise on his right heel suffered last week in the Los Angeles final kept Fish from playing this week at Washington but he expects to play at Montreal and Cincinnati before the US Open.
"Every time I plant down on the right side of my heel it's painful," he said. "It needs a couple weeks of rest and rehabilitation to 100 percent go away. It definitely helps to have a week off going into two big events."
Fish moved past Andy Roddick, now ranked 12th, last April to become the vanguard of US tennis, although he gives a nod to Roddick as he holds the spot.
"For 12 years of my career, Andy Roddick has been ranked ahead of me and just a few months of me being ranked higher it's not going to catapult me over him as far as our careers are concerned or who is the alpha male of our generation."
Fish, who has set a major goal of reaching the eight-man season-ending Masters Cup, has not won off US soil since taking his first title in 2003 at Stockholm.