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Fish targets top 10 finish in 2011

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Originally published on: 13/12/10 14:51

Mardy Fish is looking to back-up a fantastic 2010 by breaking into the top 10 for the first time next year.

The American rose from world No.55 to finish the year at a career-high world No.16 after winning titles in Newport and Atlanta. He also reached the final at Queens and produced a career-best run at the Cincinnati Masters, defeating Andy Murray and Andy Roddick en route to the final.

“I have very high expectations, higher than I’ve ever had,” said Fish. “I’m healthy, fit, confident. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic to aim for the top 10.”

Despite a fourth round appearance at the US Open, Fish failed to produce at the Grand Slams, something which – added to a solid start to the season – will be key to helping him reach his goal.

“I don’t have many (rankings) points to defend the first half of the year,” said Fish. “The first three Grand Slams, I didn’t get past the second round.

“So if I can be more consistent through the first part of the year, win some matches on the clay, do something more at Wimbledon, I should be able to get there.”

Fish, who turned pro in 2000, reached No.17 in the world in 2004 but battles with injury hampered his progress. But after losing weight and undergoing surgery on his troublesome knee in September, he’s in the best shape of his career.

“To be honest, I expected to have a good year,” said Fish, who turned 29 last week. “I knew the work I was putting in. The diet, the training, the motivation I had — it was different from anything I had ever done before.

“I had a new body, new speed, a new fitness that let me move quicker and play longer. I was able to get to balls I wasn’t able to get to before, so I had to figure out how to hit those shots, what to do with the ball, how to turn defence into offence.”

With his good friend Roddick opting out of the Davis Cup action this season, Fish stepped into his shoes and with it produced what he considers to be the best performance of his career.

Facing a tricky task against Columbia in Bogota, Fish won both his rubbers in five sets and helped John Isner to win the doubles to seal the tie and keep his nation in the World Group for next year.

Davis Cup team mate Mike Bryan has also backed Fish to accomplish his goal in 2011.

“Now he’s working as hard as anyone on tour,” said Bryan. “His training is on a whole other level, on the same level as a Roger Federer or a Rafa Nadal. He can beat anyone in the world. If he stays healthy, he’ll get into the top 10.”

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