Mardy Fish has made vast improvements in his game, particularly with his fitness, and all the hrd work has paid off. Fish is now entering the ATP World Tour Finals and will face Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in Group B.

2011 was seen the 29-year-old American rise through the rankings to earn his place amongst the world top 8. Starting the year ranked number 17 the year started slowly losing in the second round in both of his Australian events. He lost in the second round in Brisbane to Radek Stepanek and could not get past Tommy Robredo at the Australian Open. He did however come from two sets to love down to Victor Hanescu in the first round in Melbourne.

Back at home in the US Fish had a much better time at it. He made the semi finals of Memphis, losing in three sets to Milos Raonic and backed up that performance with another semi finals appearance in Delray Beach where Juan Martin del Potro proved too strong.

Raonic defeated Fish for the second time in a month when the two meet in the second round of Indian Wells before making the semi finals in Miami. Fish lost to Novak Djokovic in the semis after defeating then world number six David Ferrer in the quarters.

His Miami result saw him replace former housemate Andy Roddick as the number one ranked American. Typical with most Americans Fish struggled on the European clay losing to compatriot John Isner in the first round in Madrid and to Marin Cilic in the third round in Rome.

Gilles Simon proved too strong on the clay at Roland Garros with Fish going down to the Frenchman in the third round but it was still enough for the American to enter the top 10 for the first time. However Fish responded at Wimbledon losing to then world number one Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals having defeated Tomas Berdych in the fourth round.

Following Wimbledon Fish lost both his singles ties against Spain in the Davis Cup before securing his only title for the season in Atlanta where he defeated Isner in the final. Fish continued to play well in the North America reaching the final in Los Angeles, suffering a shock loss to Ernests Gulbis, and the final of the Masters event in Canada where he forced world number one Novak Djokovic in the final.

The Montreal final appearance saw his ranking move to a career high number seven heading into Cincinnati where he made the semi finals losing to eventual champion Andy Murray after defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarters.

High on confidence heading into the US Open Fish did not drop a set in this first three matches before he was stopped in the fourth round by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga going down to the Frenchman in five sets.

Fish returned to tennis in Tokyo and won through to the semi finals, losing to Nadal, but since that event in early October he has only won one match. He lost his first match in Shanghai to Bernard Tomic, only lasted one game against James Blake in Basel before suffering a hamstring injury. In Paris trying to ensure his qualification for London, Fish eased to victory over Florian Mayer before retiring to Juan Monaco.

The American comes into the event ranked eight in the world but faces a tough task to end out of the round robin stage. He has a 1-7 record against Nadal though that victory did come this year, a 1-6 record against Federer with his only victory coming in 2008 and an 0-1 record against Tsonga. Both of his victories were recorded in America but no matter what happens throughout the next week 2011 will go down as a great year.

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About Courtney Rees

Sports media graduate working in online news. This is becoming my sporting outlet

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