Mardy Fish tells ESPN’s Prim Sripipat that he hit rock bottom at the U.S. Open last year when he was forced to withdraw from the tournament before his fourth-round match against Roger Federer due to health complications stemming from his heart issues. Though he had thought about retiring in the two months after, Fish now says his focus is on getting back into match shape and back on the ATP Tour.
“It’s not part of the discussion anymore,” Fish said when asked about retirement. “Now I’m at a stage where I need to get on the court as much as I can and get into the most comfortable situation as I can.
“We really saw what rock-bottom feels like and that was at the U.S. Open last year. We’re getting it back and getting it under control and just getting my normal life back first and foremost and then we can worry about the tennis from there.”
Fish has played just three matches in two tournaments since the U.S. Open, losing in the third round at Indian Wells and the first round of the Savannah Challenger last week. He’s reportedly planning to skip the European clay-court season with the goal of returning on grass in June at the AEGON Championships in London.
“I’m feeling better and better,” he said. “It’s been a long process for sure. It’s been about eight, nine months since the U.S. Open, dealing with some of the issues and confidence and getting into match shape and things like that.”
Fish said he hasn’t given too much thought as to what he might do when his playing career is over, but he believes he’ll still be involved in tennis.
“I envision myself staying somewhat within the sport,” he said. “I think I have a lot to offer as far as tennis knowledge and things like that. So whether it’d be coaching or whether it be some form of commentating, maybe with ESPN, you never know.”
Off the court, Fish made news when along with friend Andy Roddick. They became the first ATP players to join Athlete Ally, an organization set on ending homophobia in sports.
“It’s something that has to be done,” he said. “With Jason [Collins] coming out and being a friend of his and trying to support him, it’s something where hopefully we can get to a stage where an athlete coming out in a team sport is not a big deal anymore.”
Asked whether the ATP was ready for an active player to come out, Fish cautioned that he couldn’t speak for everyone in the locker room.
“I can only speak for myself personally,” he said. “I would be totally fine with it. I don’t view someone with their sexual orientation as different. I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. I would maybe even be more curious than anything else, just bringing that person closer and letting him know that I personally support him coming out and him trying to be who he is and not hiding behind anything.”