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Florida Tennis: Beginner Event in Winter Springs; Fish New American No. 1

March 31, 2011 12:43 PM
Florida's Fish Ascends to No. 1-ranked American, Surpassing Roddick

Mardy Fish's Wednesday win over David Ferrer to gain the semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami will have him leap ahead of American compatriot Andy Roddick when the new ATP Rankings come out on Monday.
Mardy Fish (photo: John Moreno/USTA Florida)
The 29-year-old Floridian's hardcourt results in 2011 combined with Roddick suffering various injuries and illnesses have put Fish in the top U.S. spot for the first time.

"You just kind of feel like coming through with Andy and the career that he's put together, you really feel like it would probably be pretty tough to still feel like I was the No. 1 American," Fish said. "His career put on my career, he could put it on top of mine 15 times. He's won so many more matches, so many more tournaments, so many more Davis Cup matches.

Fish's coach David Nainkin tells ESPN that the career turning point for the American was 2009 when he had knee surgery and decided to afterwards lose the extra weight he had carried for much of his career and to get in top shape. His fitness level showed earlier this week in Miami when he outlasted former US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro in a long three-setter.

"Sometimes guys late in their careers start figuring it out," Nainkin said. "Mardy changed his eating habits and his approach to fitness, changed his whole outlook to give himself a full shot. With his new fitness level he's able to play defensive tennis now. He can pick and choose his opportunities to come in, so it's high-percentage tennis, and he can still be aggressive."

Roddick lost his opening match and is expected to fall to No. 14 in the ATP Rankings.

Fish will play No. 2-seeded Novak Djokovic on Friday in the semifinals.

Free Play Day for Beginner Tennis Players at Tuscawilla C.C. in Winter Springs, Fla.

In its series of free play days for beginner/advanced-beginner tennis players, USTA Florida will host a F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast in Winter Springs, Fla., at the Tuscawilla Country Club on April 9, 2011, from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

The F.L. Tennis Blast features round robin play, a hit for prizes, door prize drawings, info on local play opportunities and more.

Tennis Blast logo-GREEN--2.5-BLASTThe event is free and open to all players 18 years of age or older. Participants can also receive a special gift by "checking in" at the event using the Foursquare application on their mobile device or at foursquare.com between 11-11:30 a.m.

"This will be a huge opportunity for players to get their feet wet and begin to compete at their level," said USTA Florida Central Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Shelly Licorish. "We are doing the leg work for first timers and helping them to pair up and team up with friends and players of equal ability. USTA Florida is creating a fun environment for new comers to the sport to help them stay in the game."

USTA League is the country's largest recreational tennis league, helping more than 325,000 players nationwide get on the court, have a good time, and step up their game. The League is organized as competitive team match play, with teams made up of a minimum of 5-8 players depending upon division. Teams and matches are set up according to NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) ratings, so teammates and opponents are at the same skill level, with leagues ranging from the 2.5 beginner level up to 5.0 advanced and Open divisions. The competition is exciting, the atmosphere is social, and since players compete on teams they have a built-in cheering section.

For more information or to register, contact area USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Shelly Licorish at licorish@florida.usta.com.






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