Mardy Fish handed first-round loss to Dudi Sela in Atlanta
ATLANTA (AP) The first stop of Mardy Fish's farewell tour ended quickly with a 6-4, 6-4 first-round loss to Dudi Sela in the Atlanta Open on Tuesday night.
Fish said it was a success just to play only his second competitive match of the year. He recently announced he will retire after the U.S. Open, and he also disclosed details of his battles with anxiety disorder.
Fish, who won the Atlanta tournament in 2010 and 2011, also will play doubles this week with his friend Andy Roddick, who is taking a break from his retirement.
Roddick even tried to provide an assist to his buddy during the singles match. When Fish's shoes and socks were soaked with sweat, he asked his trainer to find more socks. Roddick, sitting nearby, took off his socks and offered them to Fish.
''They were on his feet,'' said Fish, shaking his head. ''I threw them away.''
The tournament rust was obvious for Fish, who said it was ''very difficult'' to return from the long layoff.
Asked if there were positives from the match, he said ''That I have two more tournaments left.
''If I'm going to play like that, it's going to be pretty tough. It's just it's nice to finish on my own terms. The sport, my job, was taken from me so abruptly that it took me a long time to get my life back.''
Fish also plans to play in Cincinnati before the U.S. Open.
He said he has ''come a long, long way'' and said ''I'm in a good place, a really good place.''
Roddick said Monday he can see a change since Fish announced his retirement plans.
''It's almost a weight has been lifted off his shoulders a little bit,'' Roddick said.
Sela lost to John Isner in the 2014 Atlanta final. Isner, the two-time defending champion, will play his first match on Thursday.
Ryan Harrison, a semifinalist in 2011 and 2013, lost to qualifier Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Among seeded players, No. 5 Marcos Baghdatis swept Austin Karjicek 6-4, 6-0; No. 6 Steve Johnson beat Lukas Lecko 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-2; and No. 8 Benjamin Becker defeated German Michael Berrer, who retired after losing the first set 7-5.
Frances Tiafoe, the 17-year-old American who lost to Roddick in an exhibition on Monday night, lost to Australian Sam Groth 7-6 (3), 6-4.
The tournament's first seed to lose came in doubles. Colin Fleming and Gilles Muller beat No. 2 seed Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock 6-4, 4-6, 10-6.