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Heart problem not to blame for Fish's absence

Mardy Fish high fives Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo after winning his opening round match.
by Helen Gilbert
Wednesday 27 June 2012

Mardy Fish prompted concern when he failed to appear for a post match press conference yesterday because he was feeling unwell. But the No.10 seed today confirmed that stomach troubles were the reason behind his no-show and not his recent heart problem.

The American, who defeated Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(1) in his first competitive match since undergoing a medical procedure for an irregular heartbeat last month, has only ever missed one other press conference in 12 years and his  absence raised fears for his health.

But the 30-year-old revealed that he had in fact been taking a large number of painkillers to help with an arm problem, which may have trigged abdomen trouble. “I had a pretty bad stomach thing yesterday. It was probably better for me to try to get home and lie down. It’s tough to lie down in the locker room with tons of guys, so that was it. Luckily, or fortunately, it wasn’t anything heart related.”

The 2011 quarter-finalist also admitted he found the British climate somewhat close during his opening round match. “It seemed hotter than it has been this week leading up to the tournament...I didn’t anticipate it being that warm. You can’t really train for it when it’s 62 [degrees] and cloudy every day before it.”

Fish suffered a health scare back in March following his defeat to Juan Monaco in Miami and he was taken to hospital in the early hours of the morning when his heart rate increased to three times its normal resting rate. Doctors have since given him the all-clear to play but the American, who was still sleeping with a heart rate monitor around the time of the French Open, admits the fear is always at the back of his mind.

“The toughest part is...getting your confidence back. When I don’t feel well right now I sort of automatically go to the struggles that I have had in the past couple of months and that hopefully will change over time,” Fish said.

“It’s gotten better. But again in the past few months I have stayed home every day. I have felt comfortable. This is sort of out of my element as far as the past couple of months has been, so naturally I don’t think I’ll feel as comfortable. You know, I’m not sleeping in my own bed and things like that. The hardest part is just trusting that everything is fine, because it is, and everything structurally is fine.”

Fish acknowledged that there were certain points of the match that left him feeling “pretty winded” but pointed out that his fitness, understandably, was not at the same level as last year. He is just merely grateful to be back on court playing at Wimbledon, a surface that is tailored to his game.

“This surface is by far the best for me to come back on. The more you go, the more in shape you get, the more fit you get and more confident you get,” he added.

Fish now faces British wild card James Ward in the second round.

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