Fish felled by new giant on Le block


Originally published on: 28/02/12 10:45

You can’t miss him coming down the street, but chances are you probably won’t have heard of him.

At 6’8”, 20-year-old Albano Olivetti made sure Mardy Fish wouldn’t forget his name in a hurry after beating the American in three sets for the biggest victory of his fledgling career at the Open 13 in Marseille.

The French qualifier held a set and a 3-1 advantage when the world No.8 rallied back to force a decider, but he denied Fish’s hopes of a comeback by blasting to a 3-0 lead in the decider to hold out for a 6-3 3-6 6-3 triumph and defy his ranking of No.338.

“That’s just a number next to his name right now,” said Fish. “He won’t be there for very long if he continues to play like that.

“The first time that I’ve ever seen him hit was when we warmed up for the match. Sometimes that happens and you have to adjust. His style of play is hard to adjust to.”

A right-hander who trains in Paris, Olivetti is similar to fellow giants of the game Ivo Karlovic and John Isner in that he says he would be a basketball pro were he not a tennis player. As it is, the Haguenau native makes sure to utilise his greatest asset on the tennis court.

“He puts pressure on you with his serve and that’s what big servers do,” said Fish. “He probably has one of the hardest serves I’ve ever played against. He hit me with a serve and I almost hurt my left wrist.

“I had a rough time with his serve, for sure. When he’s down 15-40, he can come back with not only his first serve but his second serve – it’s almost just as good.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.