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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday July 22, 2015

 
Mardy Fish

It hasn't been an ideal three years, but American Mardy Fish's last three events could be the most meaningful and inspiring of his career.

Photo Source: Harry How/Getty

33-year-old American Mardy Fish announced his plans to retire after the 2015 U.S. Open on Twitter on Wednesday.


The former world No. 7 last played at this year’s BNP Paribas Open, losing in a third-set tiebreaker to Ryan Harrison.

It was his first tour-level match since 2013. The talented American has been on a long, winding journey for the last four years, reaching to the top of the game then spiraling down to the bottom before slowly picking himself off of the canvas.

Fish lost significant weight in 2011, got into the best shape of his life, and earned his first career Top 10 year-end finish. But in 2012, after suffering from a dangerously elevated heartrate, he underwent heart surgery for an arrhythmia repair in May. Fish returned later in the year and had very good results, but was plagued by anxiety related to his heart problem. He eventually pulled out of his round of 16 match against Roger Federer at the 2012 U.S. Open and has only played ten tour-level matches in the time since.

''Obviously, it's no secret, I'd love to go back to the US Open, where sort of it all came crashing down for me in 2012, and sort of conquer that place,'' Fish said last month in a press conference to promote his appearance in Atlanta. ''And by `conquer,' I mean just get back out on the court there. I have a lot of demons from that place.''

Fish intends to play singles at Atlanta and Cincinnati, and he’s already announced plans to team with Andy Roddick for the doubles draw in Atlanta.

Today the U.S. Open announced the Fish would be entering its main singles draw with his protected ranking. Though not much is expected in terms of results, Fish’s victory will be going out on his own terms, in front of his American fans, with his body and mind in the best shape it has been in since his health problems started.

More important, Fish hopes to be a beacon of light for the millions of people who similarly suffer from anxiety issues (approximately 1.5 percent of all Americans aged 18 or over suffer from anxiety to some degree). Before he took the court at Indian Wells this year, he told tennis journalist Doug Robson the following in a New York Times article: “There are millions and millions of people that struggle from it. It can be beaten. It can be conquered. I’m going to try and show people that it’s possible at the highest level.”

Despite his loss at Indian Wells, Fish’s return to tennis this March was a great success. His final song this summer promises to be even better.

 

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