WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (APRIL 7, 2011) – The Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University has announced Mardy Fish – the top ranked American tennis player in the world – as the first player signed to play in the inaugural tournament. Fish is one of several young American tennis players who rose to prominence at the beginning of the 21st century.
He was the Olympic silver medalist in singles at the 2004 Athens games. The 29-year-old Fish had a resurgent year in 2010, winning two of his five career singles titles and two of his seven doubles titles. He is currently ranked No. 11 in the ATP World Tour Rankings and is the highest ranked American male in the world. Fish reached the semi finals at the Sony Ericsson Open last week, vaulting past Andy Roddick who has held that post for more than four years.
"We’re thrilled that Mardy will be coming to Winston-Salem in August. He’s sure to be among the fan favorites at the Winston-Salem Open," said tournament director Bill Oakes. "Mardy’s career has been on the upswing for the past year or so, culminating with his recent ranking as the top American male tennis player in the world. The commitment of a champion like Mardy will help attract additional world-class players to Winston-Salem."
Information about purchasing tickets to the Winston-Salem Open will be available in about two weeks, with volunteer information to follow shortly after that.
Fish turned professional in 2000 at the age of 18. He spent his first few years as a pro playing in the Challenger and Futures circuits, the minor leagues of tennis. He earned his first title on the ATP Tour in 2002 playing doubles in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas, with Andy Roddick. Fish has won five tournaments on the main ATP Tour and has reached the final of three Masters Series events: Cincinnati in 2003 and 2010 and Indian Wells in 2008. His best result at a Grand Slam tournament has been reaching the quarter final stage at the 2007 Australian Open and the 2008 US Open.
Fish has a very similar playing style to compatriot Andy Roddick. Fish, like Roddick, possesses a huge first serve, which often wins him free points. Fish used to rely on going for big forehands and outright winners to win points in rallies. In 2010, he dropped over 30 pounds, from 203 to 170. As a result, Fish became more fit, which enabled him to improve his speed around the court.