Although we were all informed that the current top-ranking American player Mardy Fish withdrew from the French Open with fatigue, it turns out that his reasons for withdrawing were a lot more serious than that. Fish was actually suffering with a form of arrhythmia – a condition which causes irregular heartbeat – and needed to undergo heart surgery last Wednesday to help treat it.
With the problem initially starting back in February, just before Fish played a Davis Cup match against Stanislas Wawrinka, episodes began occurring more frequently leading up to a severe 30-minute episode following his quarter-finals loss to Juan Monaco in the Sony Ericsson Open. Speaking about the incident to reporters at USA Today, the American top seed told how he awoke with his heart beating three times faster than what would be normal for an athlete of his calibre at rest: “I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest….I was completely panicking. I thought I was going to die”
Needless to say Fish was admitted into hospital that night, and pulled out of the US Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal bout against France the following week. Despite the initial public diagnosis being fatigue, doctors took a while to pinpoint the problem and it was another small episode that led them to finally making their diagnosis.
Fish is positive that the surgery has corrected the problem and is keen to move on with getting his tennis career back on track for the rest of the season – “I want to stress that I’m good now, I’m fine, they’ve fixed the problem…..This is still a very fun time for me. I don’t want to sit on my ass while I’m 10 in the world.”
Even after a surgical procedure that would send most people to their sick beds for a while, Fish proves that he still has a heart of a true professional and will certainly be aiming to make a return in time for the Wimbledon Championships this summer.