When the ATP asked on Twitter to Tweet describe a great tennis story in four words, the USA Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish had no doubts, mentioning his victory over Roger Federer. Roger and Mardy had the opportunity to play against each other nine times, with the Swiss scoring eight triumphs, five of those in straight sets.
It all started at Wimbledon 2003 when Federer grabbed a 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory, dominating in sets he won to stay on the course towards the first Major crown. In Madrid that year, Fish fought well on an indoor court in set number two before losing 6-3, 7-6, propelling Federer into the quarters after an hour and 32 minutes.
In 2004, Roger needed 71 minutes to dismiss Mardy 6-4, 6-1 in Indian Wells, delivering another absolute triumph in Halle in June, requiring less than an hour to seal the deal and lift the title. The Swiss proved to be too strong in Indian Wells 2005 as well, delivering a 6-3, 6-3 win against the rival who was yet to find his best tennis against the world’s leading figure of men’s tennis.
Their next clash came three years later in the desert and Mardy was ready to turn the tide and beat Roger for the first and only time. The American produced one of his best matches ever to notch a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 64 minutes, losing 13 points in nine service games and repelling the only break chance he offered to Roger to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
Standing miles from his usual performance against Fish, Federer struggled on both the first and second serve, never finding the rhythm and suffering three breaks to propel the home player into the final against Novak Djokovic.
In 2010, Federer and Fish met in the final in Cincinnati and made it a memorable one, with the Swiss prevailing 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 after a titanic battle, getting back on the winning course against the American and earning two more wins at the ATP Finals 2011 and Cincinnati 2012 to close the head-to-head meetings with eight victories and one defeat.
They were supposed to play in the fourth round of the US Open that year as well but Fish had to withdraw due to “precautionary measures” on doctor’s advice, finishing career at the same event three years later.