Fish banks on rapid reply in Dubai
Originally published on: 25/02/12 16:19
Mardy Fish has not had the best of starts to the year, but the 30-year-old American is hoping to end his recent run of moderate results at next week’s men’s tournament at the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
Fish, who is making his first appearance in Dubai, has made a slow start to 2012. The world No.8 lost to Alejandro Falla in the second round of the Australian Open, beat Stanislas Wawrinka in a five-set Davis Cup marathon earlier this month but then suffered one of the worst defeats of his career when he was beaten in Marseille by Albano Olivetti, a French qualifier ranked No.388 in the world who was playing in the main draw of an ATP event for the first time. The big-serving Olivetti hit 23 aces and Fish admitted he had been taken by surprise by an opponent he had never seen play before.
Although he is in a tough section of the draw in Dubai, Fish has a winnable first match against Germany’s Andreas Beck. The winner will play Richard Gasquet or Mikhail Youzhny, with Roger Federer likely to lie in wait in the quarter-finals.
“The courts here are quick, which is good for me,” Fish said at the draw ceremony. “We don’t have too many quick courts on the ATP tour any more, so I’m excited.”
Having qualified for last year’s season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Fish knows he has his work cut out to keep his place among the men’s elite. The American reached three semi-finals in the first three months of last year and is therefore in danger of dropping down the rankings if his form does not pick up soon.
Dubai has a reputation as a player-friendly tournament and Fish has already been impressed. “We had a great welcome,” he said. “We arrived at about 12.30 or 1am and we had four guys waiting there to help us with our bags.”