Mardy Fish Biography And Detailed Game Analysis

At number 7 in the world, Mardy Fish is the number ranked American Tennis Player as of August 2011. He has always been talented but after losing about 30 pounds he is playing the best Tennis of his career at the age of 29!

Mardy Fish in 2011: Big Serves,
Solid Baseline Tennis, And Good Movement!

Biography

Fish was born in 1981 in Edina, Minnesota. His dad is a tennis teacher and Mardy was already on the court hitting balls at the age of 2!

His career highlights so far include 6 titles on the ATP Tour, four Masters Series finals reached, an Olympic Silver Medal in 2004, and reaching the Top10 for the first time in 2011!

Mardy often practices with Andy Roddick and he actually lived with the Roddick family for one year during high school!

Game Analysis

Mardy is an offensive player with a huge serve!

Technical

Mardy has phenomenal technique on his serve, his backhand, and his volleys. His forehand is a little bit weaker.

Forehand

Throughout his career, the forehand has been Mardy Fish’s weakest shot.

Fortunately for him it has improved lately and now it is not the big liability anymore that it used to be. This shows again that you can improve your strokes no matter how long you have been playing in a certain way!

Mardy tends to lack spin and height over the net on his forehand. He often does not get the tip of the racket low enough to allow him to generate natural topspin. His former coach, Kelly Jones, told me that they used to practice a lot with a higher net to force Mardy to hit with more spin. I agree and think that this is a great way for him to practice his forehand!

Mardy Fish Practicing Forehands And Backhands

In the beginning of this video you can see some of those forehand errors that used to be so typical for Mardy. He doesn’t get the tip of his racket low enough and therefore doesn’t have enough arc on the shot.

The video is from 2009 and it seems like Mardy has been able to get this problem under control since then. In 2011 I have seen very few of those kinds of forehand errors. Only sometimes in difficult situations does this habit show up again!


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Backhand

Mardy has a superb backhand! I think it is one of the best two-handers on the men’s tour.

The Mardy Fish Backhand:
Great Body Positions Around Contact!

Mardy Fish Backhand

(Photo by Getty Images)

In this picture we can see that Mardy has great grips on his two-handers and also displays all of the important key body positions around contact!

He is using his arms as a lever and lifts from the shoulder. His eyes are fixated on the contact point and his upper body is facing roughly to the left net post. These are all commonalities for great two-handers!

To learn more about the key body positions for great tennis strokes visit the Tennis Video Instruction page on this website!

Slice

Mardy hits a good slice backhand. He can use it on defensive and he often uses it as a transitional shot in order to come to the net.

He does not put too much underspin on it and his balls tend to stay low and penetrate through the court. Overall a very good slice backhand!

Volleys

Mardy is one of the few players on tour that can actually play very well at the net!

He does not hesitate to close in, his volleys are hit with conviction, and he rarely misses anything easy up at the net.

His mechanics are solid on forehand and backhand volleys.

Mardy practicing Serve-And-Volley
Check Out Those Firm Volleys!

As you can see in this video, Mardy’s volleys are hit relatively flat and they really penetrate the court. Volleying this way is essential against the top players today because these guys defend so well. Any volley that sits up a little bit because of too much underspin will most likely result in the net player getting passed!

Serve

Mardy Fish also has one of the best serves on the men’s tour! He has a beautiful motion and can dominate entire matches with his serve!

Mardy’s Serve:
Great Stroke Mechanics!

Mardy Fish @ US Open

So what makes his serve so good ? There are several factors at work here.

First and foremost he has a very fluid motion. His arm action is continuous, slowly and gradually increasing speed before full acceleration happens right before contact!

He also gets into all of the key body positions that great servers have in common!

The Key Body Positions Are In Place!

Mardy Fish Serve

(Photo by Getty Images)

On this photo we can see a toss that is well out into the court. His upper body is in an upright position on a rather straight line as he comes to the ball. This is sometimes called the “Powerline”.

But what is even more interesting is the position of his hitting arm in this photo. We can see that his arm is externally rotated quite a bit, which results in a good pre-stretch of the muscles that will later rotate forward or internally. Also we can see that his racket is in a position to move up to contact along the right side of his body, which is essential for proper pronation of the forearm later!

Pronation and internal rotation are the two biggest power sources for the serve!

Overall a great service motion!

Tactical

Mardy has become a very versatile player. He plays offensive Tennis from the baseline, mixes in serve-and-volley, and is also on the lookout to come forward during rallies whenever possible.

What makes the big difference for him these days is that he can hang in tough during those long baseline rallies. This also makes his serve-and-volleying and his great transition game more effective!

Before losing 30 pounds and revamping his tennis game, Mardy used to try and finish points a lot quicker because he had trouble staying in long rallies with the top players. This has changed because of better movement and a more consistent forehand.

Overall I really like Mardy’s game from a tactical standpoint!

It fits his capabilities very well. At times I would like to see him come forward even a little bit more than he already does.

I believe that the way Mardy Fish plays could be the model for world-class hard court Tennis in the future. The game is always evolving and being able to serve-and-volley occasionally, and also transitioning forward during rallies is certainly an advantage on hard courts.

Therefore, I believe it is only a matter of time until the other top players realize this and start working on these abilities as well!

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Physical

Physical fitness used to be Mardy Fish’s big weakness!

His movement around the court just wasn’t very good, which made it really tough for him to stay in long rallies. After a knee surgery in 2009, Mardy changed his diet and according to many sources on the Internet Fish went from about 200 pounds body weight to 170 pounds, making him 30 pounds lighter!

He also committed to a tougher physical training program once he was back training and it certainly shows in his movement around the court!

I recently watched a match that he won against Rafael Nadal and I was very amazed to see how well he covered the court! At this point I would consider Mardy a very fit player on the tour. His movement is not as good as Djokovic’s or Nadal’s, but his movement is definitely not a weakness anymore at this point!

Check Out Mardy’s Improved Movement!

Mental

I never considered Mardy Fish a very tough competitor. He seemed to be one of those guys that was either playing well or not playing well. During his good matches you could see some flashes of genius but he could also loose matches where it seemed like he wasn’t putting up a huge fight.

Things have also changed in this regard though! The interesting part here is that I believe Mardy’s improved fitness is the main reason why he is better mentally now! I speak about this connecting quite often: If you are physically in great shape it will help your mental toughness a lot and if you are not in great shape it is almost impossible to be mentally tough on the tennis court!

Ranking

With his improved forehand I see Mardy Fish as strongest on the technical side. His serve, his backhand, and his skills at the net make him a unique player on the tour! His tactics also match his technical skills well. I am not sure if he already has the mental belief to beat the top guys late in a Grand Slam, which is why I ranked him last on the mental side of the game.

1. Technical
2. Tactical
3. Physical
4. Mental

Coaching Recommendation

Mardy Fish has improved his game a lot, which has resulted in a Top10 ranking. But of course there are always things to improve upon.

As mentioned above, I think he still needs to develop the belief and the confidence that he can beat the top guys late in a Grand Slam in a five set match!

This is something that will probably grow as he puts himself in those kinds of situations more often but it could also be improved with a mental coach.

Mardy is quite fit at this point but it will have to be seen whether his fitness is good enough to play lots of tough best of five matches in a row. He certainly needs to keep his focus on this aspect of the game.

From a tactical standpoint I think he could be a little bit more aggressive even when playing on hard courts. The other guys are not used to seeing someone transition to the net with conviction; or someone that serve and volleys frequently to keep them honest on returns!

So much for the Mardy Fish Biography and Analysis!

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