The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 10, 2013

Fish ready to return

(Continued)

NORMAN —

He didn’t play again until Indian Wells in early March near his Los Angeles home, beating Bobby Reynolds in three sets in his first match back. Afterward, he talked about fighting “some demons.”

“For the first three months after the U.S. Open, I had retired and non-retired in my head almost every week,” he said that day. “And there was awhile where I was done.”

Fish lost to a top-10 player, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the next round in two tiebreakers. He originally planned to play Key Biscayne later that month but wound up skipping it.

Since then, his only tournament was a lower-tier Challenger event in Savannah, Ga., in late April, when he lost his first match to 103rd-ranked Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in three sets. He described those forays as tests of where he stood in his comeback.

“Every move we’ve made has been very calculated,” Fish said.

He has recently returned to the court with his World TeamTennis squad in Sacramento. He plans to enter the Atlanta Open, which starts July 22, then play in Washington a week later.

“I’ve turned the corner and been able to train as hard as I possibly can the last three months,” Fish said.

Skipping Wimbledon was tough; he’s always felt comfortable on those grass courts. And then it was frustrating to see all the upsets that might have given him a clear path to the late rounds.

But the Minnesota native wouldn’t have had his full support system behind him in England.

“It was too far away, too soon,” he said.

Fish, who reached a career-high No. 7 in 2011, tries not to worry about a ranking that has fallen to 61st in the world. He hopes his return will boost the floundering contingent of American men, none of whom reached the third round at Wimbledon.

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