Tennis fans said goodbye to professional player Mardy Fish as he walked off the Louis Armstrong court on Wednesday, losing to No. 18 Feliciano Lopez in a 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 second round match. According to ESPN, he almost pulled it off, but it was not to be. He had announced earlier that the 2015 US Open would be his last tournament that he would be a part of, and he received a standing ovation for his efforts, and for his entire career, as he limped off the court.
The fifth set had Fish grasping at his legs as they cramped up during play. His body seemed to protest as he not only struggled against his opponent, but also against himself.
“I certainly felt like that was, you know, my opportunity, big-time opportunity to really capitalize. But, you know, once that had sort of [come] and gone, I knew I was sort of in trouble because of, you know, the way my legs felt. I tried as hard as I could to hydrate as best I could. I did everything I could.”
The fourth set was his major shot to shut Lopez out and move on to the third round. He was serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth, but he lost that opportunity. Mardy had three double faults that led to his opponent taking full advantage of it. Even after Lopez claimed the victory, he ended up letting Mardy Fish celebrate his last applause from the fans who have appreciated and respected his career in tennis.
Fish has had a solid 15 years of tennis, with a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and six career titles. He seemed to be at the top of his game until his life changed when he started having severe anxiety attacks. This condition eventually led him to pull out of his match against Roger Federer at the 2012 U.S. Open.
In a personal post that he wrote for the Players’ Tribune, Mardy explained the awful dread he experiences that has kept him constantly feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
“Through it all, I just kept having these … thoughts. This anxiety. I became consumed by this exhausting, confusing dread. And the attacks just kept … getting … worse.”
He is now helping and encouraging others who are suffering from the same thing. He wrote the blog in an effort to raise awareness and to tell people that addressing their mental health issues is a sign of strength, not weakness. Mardy Fish has certainly proven that, even if he didn’t make it into the third round of the US Open. He sums up exactly how he felt after he played his last tennis tournament.
“I’m very comfortable knowing how hard I have worked in the later stages of my career. I accomplished everything that I set out to this summer, and I’m happy about that.”
Mardy Fish said that he leaves his tennis career behind with many great memories and special friendships that he has formed. Fans also have their memories of this tennis vet that has given all that he had in an amazing farewell match.
[Photo courtesy of Clive Brunskill / Getty Images]