Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Archive for mardy fish

Fish v Nadal as it happened

Wimbledon first round result:

M Fish (US) lost to v R NADAL (Spa) 2

3-6 6-7 3-6

By Tom Fordyce


Fish 3-6 Nadal
There you go – there was no danger at all of Nadal blowing that service game, and last year’s runner-up is through to the second round. Good battling from Mardy, but he never really threatened.

Fish 3-5 Nadal
Mardy crumbles at last, double-faulting on break point after Hawk-Eye robs him of a key point he thought was his. Rafa’s uncle and coach Toni is chattering excitedly in the VIP box, wrapped in a large white towel like a prize-fighter.

Fish 3-4 Nadal
It takes Fish about four minutes to hold serve; Nadal about 40 seconds. Nadal uses the changeover to tie up a new bandana, but there can’t have been much sweat on that last one.

Fish 3-3 Nadal
Fish holds, but he’s now coming under enormous pressure from Nadal. Twice he hangs on at break point with the aid of that booming first serve, and scrambles to safety when Nadal goes wide with an attempted winner.

Fish 2-3 Nadal
Fish has swapped his white towelling headband for a black one, and he’s a man transformed – setting up his first break point of the entire match with a chunky forehand. A mis-hit volley after a nervy 15-shot rally costs him the chance, but it looks like he’s about to take another as he pounds Nadal on the baseline – only for Nadal to swipe a desperate forehand onto the outer edge of the line. Fish can’t believe it, and lets the remaining points slip by in a flash.

Fish 2-2 Nadal
Mardy has never come from two sets down in his pro career. And he’s facing the fittest man on tour. Try taking the positives out of that lot.

Fish 1-2 Nadal
Nadal comes up with an ace of his own – only his second of the match – to nudge in front. Jumpers and woolly hats being pulled on in the crowd.

“P Diddy will be here at Wimbledon on Friday.” Andrew Castle, BBC TV

Fish 1-1 Nadal
Mardy gets on the board again by leaning on that meaty serve. 14 aces and counting now.

“Maybe that’s Fish’s best chance – if Nadal gets stung by a bee.” John McEnroe

Fish 0-1 Nadal
Bright sunshine on Centre Court as Nadal carries on as he left off in the tie-break. Mardy’s still fighting, but his body language has changed since the second set. Before, it was saying, “Hell, why not?” Now it’s, “Heck, I probably won’t.”


Fish 6-7 Nadal
A roar from Nadal and fist-pump to match as Fish’s forehand goes long at 6-4, and the second set is his. Hard to see how Mardy can turn this one around now, and his big shoulders slump as he trudges folornly back to his chair.

Fish 6-6 Nadal
Mardy dreams of the break for approximately half a second, before Nadal effortlessly turns on the style and whips forehand after forehand past his hopeful wafts. Tie-break it is…

“I love it when Nadal goes down almost on one knee to play those backhands – awesome.” John McEnroe, BBC TV

Fish 6-5 Nadal
Nadal thumps a forehand past Fish’s despairing lunge to go to break point, and all around await the inevitable – only for Mardy to grit his teeth and come up with a lovely drop-shot to draw level. Mr and Mrs Henman Snr are back in the crowd, and they’re not even sitting in the Royal Box. True tennis fans, those two.

Fish 5-5 Nadal
Poor old Mardy – every time he serves he has to fight like a cornered hound to get his nose in front, and then Nadal strolls up and holds with barely a bead of sweat darkenening his shirt. There’s a dark-haired woman in the crowd asleep on her husband’s shoulder. Despite the fact that she’s smiling slightly, she still looks like the witch from Chorton and the Wheelies – the one who lived in a tea-pot. Terrifying character.

Fish 5-4 Nadal
When Nadal races to 0-30 on the Mardy serve, you fear for the worst – but the Fish’s 12th ace of the match hauls him back. The watching Todd Martin, who looks spookily like an aged version of James Van Der Beek from loathsome teen serial Dawson’s Creek, allows himself a thin-lipped smile.

Fish 4-4 Nadal
Fish makes two basic errors, drilling a backhand into the net and spooning a forehand the same way. Nadal’s won 84% of points on his serve, and Fish couldn’t engineer a break point at the moment if there were three of him on court.

Fish 4-3 Nadal
Fish is having to battle for every single point on his serve, but he’s happy to do so – he’s got no interest in taking the stoogish role that Nadal’s gathering army of female fans want him to play.

“Credit to Fish for digging down a little here.” John McEnroe, BBC TV

Fish 3-3 Nadal
Nadal batters his 11th forehand winner past a still-chipper Mardy, who seems to have accepted that he’ll be out-classed for large parts of this match but is battling on regardless. Hats off, sir.

Fish 3-2 Nadal
Nadal has two bites at a break-point cherry, but nets an easy backhand and then a straightforward forehand to widespread disbelief.

Fish 2-2 Nadal
Nadal’s serve is so much better than even this time last year. It’s a few mph slower than Fish’s, but it kicks like Basil Boli and has twice the pace. Fish can’t get close to a break point.

Fish 2-1 Nadal
A duplicate of the first game in the set, with Fish using his crashing first serve to build the point. Centre Court gradually filling up here again, with early evening picnics being consumed in several quarters.

Fish 1-1 Nadal
Nadal hasn’t given Fish a sliver of a chance on his serve. Mardy looks remarkably upbeat, but it’s got to be getting to him.

Fish 1-0 Nadal
That’s more like it from Mardy – big first serves and the accuracy on the groundstrokes to match. He once lived for a year with Andy Roddick’s family, you know. Not quite sure what the arrangement was, but with all that tennis to talk about, I’m sure he wasn’t a Fish out of water. Ouch.


Fish 3-6 Nadal
Comfortable hold for Rafa, and the first set is his. Mardy yells out what is known in these parts as an audible obsenity, but the umpire takes pity on him and lets it ride.

Fish 3-5 Nadal
The best game of the match so far, as Fish barrels in a succession of eye-watering serves, only for Nadal to match him step-for-step with a showcase of brutal forehands. Fish nicks ahead with a serve that would have made Boris B happy.

Fish 2-5 Nadal
Nadal tears into his service game, giving Mardy not even a sniff of the break-back. Fish has lost his last six matches, and this doesn’t look like the day his life’s going to turn around.

Fish 2-4 Nadal
Fish looks like he’s cruising at 40-15, only for Nadal to conjure up a trademark forehand ripper cross-court to pour the pressure back on. Fish then flaps, double-faulting to hand the break over on a plate.

“That was the last thing Fish wanted.” John McEnroe, BBC TV

Fish 2-3 Nadal
Impressive again from Nadal, who plays a remarkable forehand pass while mid-air after slipping on the turf.

Fish 2-2 Nadal
Fish hasn’t won a single match since March, but he holds again with the aid of a solid volley. I wasn’t insinuating that Lenska and Kent were together – just that they left the Royal Box at the same time.

Fish 1-2 Nadal
Grey clouds overhead, and the atmosphere is flatter than a steamrollered pancake. Nadal gets his serve kicking and Fish has no answer. A man who looks very much like Leslie Nielsen is watching on from the Royal Box, wearing a bright blue blazer identical to the one worn by his ladyfriend beside him. Rula Lenska was here for Tim’s match, but she disappeared off with the Duke of Kent.

Fish 1-1 Nadal
Good hold from Mardy, who comes under pressure immediately from the scurrying Mallorcan maestro. He’s being watched by his coach Todd Martin, who looks austere in a slate-grey rain jacket and neat v-neck sweater.

Fish 0-1 Nadal
With Centre Court having emptied within seconds of Henman completing his epic win, Rafa kicks off with the easiest of service games to love, watched by a smattering of fans.

Story from BBC SPORT: