Mardy Fish confirmed on Sunday that he withdrew from the 2012 French Open not because of his initial report of “fatigue” but rather a serious heart condition that required surgery.
Speaking from his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, Fish told USA Today Sports in a phone interview that he feared for his life:
“It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. [I]t has been so scary,” Fish said of the misfiring electrical pulses that caused him to jolt up in the middle of the night with extreme palpitations and which doctors described as a form of arrhythmia. It started afflicting him in February.
“During days, I’m totally fine,” he said. “I can track it and work out fine. But every time I would go to bed my mind would start racing. Is this going to happen tonight? Is this going to be another night like that? It was super hard to go to sleep.”
According to the report, Fish had heart surgery on May 23, undergoing a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation, which means he had faulty wiring in his heart corrected. Four days later he came clean about the reason for withdrawing from all of the matches, but there was some speculation in the tennis community as to why Fish was suddenly withdrawing.
He had last played in Houston against Michael Russell, no. 136 in the ATP, but pulled out of Madrid, Rome and then finally announcing his intent to withdraw from the French Open. Andy Roddick called out recently retired Ivan Ljubicic on May 12 for criticizing Americans for pulling out of European clay tournaments.