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Fish's Dad Living a Dream

June 26, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England — Tom Fish had one word to describe his Wimbledon experience.

Well, two, actually.

"So surreal," he said.

Fish was standing on the balcony below the players' restaurant not long after his son, Mardy, landed in the third round at Wimbledon with an emphatic performance. Fish served 16 aces and defeated Jan-Michael Gambill, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1, in 1 hour 24 minutes in the second round Wednesday, and next will face fourth-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland.

Tom Fish had been coming to Wimbledon for the last seven years with his Vero Beach tennis club, of which he is the tennis director.

"All of a sudden, we get to watch Mardy play here, who would have thought?" he said. "He feels like he belongs. I'll be getting excited, and he's like, 'Calm down, we're going to be doing this for a long time.' "

Grass suits Fish's natural attacking instincts; he reached his second ATP final Saturday in Nottingham, losing to the big-serving Greg Rusedski.

He has come quite a way since losing his temper at the Australian Open against Wayne Ferreira of South Africa in January.

Fish was eating a postmatch sandwich on the balcony with his support team, and joked about the Melbourne experience.

"I'll never slap the umpire's chair again," he said. "It's all a learning experience."

Amazingly, he escaped a fine that day.

"On the news the next morning it was, 'The Fish Was Caught and Let Go,' " Fish said. "That's how I knew."


The biggest upset on the women's side came when Shinobu Asagoe of Japan beat No. 9-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 0-6, 6-4, 12-10, in 2 hours 46 minutes. Asagoe, 26, had reached the third round of a Grand Slam only once, at the 2000 U.S. Open.

This result was hardly a surprise, though.

Hantuchova, a quarterfinalist here last year, has struggled of late and drew massive tabloid attention last week in Eastbourne because of her thin appearance. She was clad in a white, asymmetrical draped dress and it almost looked like a drape hanging on a rail.

There are few signs of the buoyant youngster who won Indian Wells in 2002, defeating Martina Hingis in the final. She was in tears after the second-round loss, in which she had three match points, ducking her head and holding back tears in a TV interview. She had looked as if she might break down on the court.


Rafael Nadal became the youngest player to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker in 1984. Nadal, who turned 17 on June 3, defeated British wild card Lee Childs, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, and next will play No. 12-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand.


Wimbledon Glance

A look at what happened Wednesday on the third day at Wimbledon:

* Seeded winners (top 16) -- Men: No. 4 Roger Federer; No. 5 Andy Roddick; No. 8 Sjeng Schalken; No. 9 Rainer Schuettler; No. 12 Paradorn Srichaphan. Women: No. 2 Kim Clijsters; No. 4 Venus Williams; No. 5 Lindsay Davenport; No. 7 Chanda Rubin; No. 13 Ai Sugiyama; No. 16 Vera Zvonareva.

* Seeded losers (top 16) -- Men: No. 15 Arnaud Clement by Justin Gimelstob; No. 16 Mikhail Youzhny by Feliciano Lopez. Women: No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova by Shinobu Asagoe; No. 12 Magdalena Maleeva by Paola Suarez.

* Today's top matches -- Michael Llodra, France, vs. Tim Henman (10), Britain; Justine Henin-Hardenne (3), Belgium, vs. Flavia Pennetta, Italy; Lars Burgsmuller, Germany, vs. Andre Agassi (2); Serena Williams (1) vs. Els Callens, Belgium.

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