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Frustrated Fish falls to fine Falla

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Originally published on: 18/01/12 08:18

Defeat to Alejandro Falla in the second round of the Australian Open was tough on Mardy Fish two-fold.  

First, the world No.8 took the unfortunate tag of becoming the first top 10 seed to crash out of the tournament and second, he had to watch while his Colombian opponent took several timeouts for cramping in the third set, yet still had enough in his locker to see out a 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(6) victory. 

“Third set was obviously pretty important knowing he’s struggling I guess, but maybe not, maybe it was a ploy,” suggested a frustrated Fish afterwards. “Didn’t seem like he was having much trouble during the point. So it was a good tactic on his part.” 

Left-handed Falla, 28, is best known for taking Roger Federer to five sets in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010 but he also made the third round at Melbourne that same year and, this time out, displayed enough to make him a worthy winner over Fish.  

“He was up two sets to love against Roger at Wimbledon. The guy can play,” conceded Fish of the world No.71. But even so, the 30-year-old admitted his belief that Falla had stretched the boundaries of what is acceptable on court by asking for regular treatment in the third set. 

“I was under the impression that you can’t get treatment for cramps. I guess you can,” said Fish. “I guess you can in the changeovers, and then you can only do it twice. I thought he was out there four or five times, but I guess he wasn’t. I just assumed you can’t get treatment for cramps anymore.

“I mean, for someone who in the latter stages of their career prides themselves for fitness, I don’t enjoy that at all.  I have a hard time calling the trainer, period, for anything.”

Fish was ultimately disappointed that, following a career-best year that saw him rise to No.7 in the world and qualify for the year-end World Tour Finals, he had suffered such a premature exit.

Regardless, the 2007 quarter-finalist vowed to move on from Melbourne Park with chin firmly up.

“I don’t have that many years left so I’m not going to waste my time thinking that I’m not very good right now,” he finished.

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