On September 3, Mardy Fish withdrew from his match with Roger Federer. The statement issued through the USTA stated that Fish withdrew for "precautionary" reasons and that he expressed hope that he would resume playing in the fall. Although there were no details regarding his health, there has been a lot of speculation. In the spring, Fish was out of tennis for two months, dealing with an irregular heartbeat. To correct this problem, he had a cardiac catheter ablation procedure done to his heart.
Always gracious, Roger Federer wished Fish well and conducted interviews before taking time out. After a very active and successful year, Federer could not be luckier to be in this situation. Olympic years tend to be more wearing on professional tennis players as they usually take that period of time off. As Federer participated all the way through to the gold medal match, he did not have any time off to rest. To have this extra time off and to let his body rest could give Federer that little bit of edge that could lead him to the U.S. Open Championship record.
Before we can discuss winning the championship, on September 5, Roger Federer will play perennial spoiler, Tomáš Berdych in the U.S. Open quarterfinals. Although Federer has had a lot of success against Berdych, we all can recall his stunning loss to Berdych, in 2010, at Wimbledon. Federer already has his game plan. "I will have to continue to serve well and dictate the points." Although this is easier said than done, this year, Federer has managed to have luck on his side.
On the other hand, Berdych has played well, but in this tournament, has not yet played spoiler. In the 2012 U.S. Open, he has albeit handily beat four different opponents, but there were no surprises. If he wants to surprise, he needs to beat Federer. His match against Nicolás Almagro started out pretty even, but soon, Berdych began to dominate the Spaniard. He will need a bit more than this to beat Federer. "I probably need to have something more than 100 percent," was his only comment on playing the number one ranked Federer. With both players taking the other so seriously, this quarterfinal has the makings of a classic.
As I contemplate the quarterfinals, we have to also ponder if Mardy Fish has also determined that it is time to retire. If he is expressing hope that he will be back in the fall, I have to wonder if Fish is seriously considering if it is worth his health to continue to play professional tennis. Andy Roddick is saying his farewells, sadly, perhaps Mardy Fish has as well.
Georgia Makitalo is a lifelong tennis fan whose biggest thrill was attending to the U.S. Open in 2001.
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