WATCH—Mardy Fish to be named U.S. Davis Cup captain:
After a 3-2 loss to host Croatia in the 2018 Davis Cup semifinals, Jim Courier decided to step down from his position as captain of the U.S. team. Courier had been in charge for eight years, guiding the Americans to a 10-8 record in World Group play and twice leading the team to the semifinals of the century-old international competition.
The four-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1, who was also a member of two Davis Cup winning-teams, will now focus on his broadcasting career with Tennis Channel, among other interests in and out of the sport.
Earlier this week, the 48-year-old told reporters that the next U.S. captain should be “someone who is a little bit closer in age to the players.”
The USTA believes it has found its new Davis Cup leader, someone who fits with Courier’s suggested criteria, in 37-year-old Mardy Fish.
Fish is a former world No. 7 who won six career titles on the ATP tour. He turned pro in 2000 and retired in 2015, when anxiety forced him out of the game, and he played for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2002 to 2012.
Fish was also an excellent doubles player, winning eight titles throughout his 15-year career. His experience in both disciplines should help him find success in his new role.
“Mardy is a terrific choice to be the new captain,” Courier said on Wednesday, when the formal announcement was made by the USTA. “His unbridled passion for the job and qualifications are excellent. He has the backing of the current players, is an experienced Davis Cup player in singles and doubles and has spent time working with the USTA player development team in Carson as a coach. That skill set should serve him very well in leading the team.”
Fish also comes with the knowledge of what it takes to win in international competition. He helped the U.S. Davis Cup team reach the final back in 2004, and also won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.
The American has also stayed close to the game since retiring. In addition to coaching stints with the USTA, Fish has assisted Jack Sock—a likely Davis Cup competitor—and did some work as a broadcaster for ESPN.
Now, he’ll return to the sport in a new role, in a new version of Davis Cup, looking to help his country win its first title since 2007.
“It’s been something that is a dream job for me, something that I won’t take for granted, and am completely honored,” Fish said on Wednesday. “It’s just incredibly special to even be mentioned as a possible candidate.
“To be the Davis Cup captain, the next Davis Cup captain, I’m incredibly humbled. I can’t even express how excited I am, how excited I am that the players have supported the decision. The friendships I’ve made throughout the years, relationships of all the players, not just the top players, is very special.”
Members of the USTA felt strongly that Fish’s Davis Cup experience would make him a good fit for the position. But they also noted that he is a good role model for children, citing his work with Net Generation in the process.
“As a former player, I know Mardy will inspire our players to succeed for years to come,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Patrick Galbraith.
“Mardy really cares about every kid that picks up a racquet,” added USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. He also said that the USTA saw an opportunity to really expand the role of the captain, and that Mardy will provide a “year-round presence”.
During the announcement, Fish expressed that he didn’t always get the most out of himself as a player, but he has learned from his mistakes. At the same time, he insisted that he is 100 percent committed to using his past to help get every ounce out of his players.
“I’ve answered the call every time [former captains Patrick McEnroe] and Him had asked me to play,” said Fish, “whether it was a practice partner or an actual player on the team. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get started, to start sort of integrating the future players with the current players.
“We’ve got a really fun and exciting time in U.S. tennis right now.”
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