Mardy Fish won his second match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, neither played on the main stadium court. (Getty Images)
Is Mardy Fish the Rodney Dangerfield of American tennis? He gets no respect.
Through four matches at two of the biggest tournaments in America, the American No. 1 has yet to be given an opportunity to play on the main show courts. In Indian Wells, both of Fish's matches were put on secondary courts, and Miami has followed suit, scheduling him on the grandstand court for both his second- and third-round matches. The slight hasn't gone unnoticed.
"It shouldn’t matter, but I want to play the big matches on the big courts," Fish told the Miami Herald.
“I’ve worked very hard to put myself where I am: in the top 10, the top American in an American event -- two American events -- and I haven’t played on stadium court,” he said. “I don’t want to play on the grandstand. I want to play on the stadium."
Fish has a point. As the top-ranked American he deserves the rewards of his hard work, and increased exposure (to benefit himself and his sponsors) is one of them. Then again, Fish might have gotten his stadium-court assignment if he didn't lose to Matthew Ebden in the third round of Indian Wells, and with his 6-4, 6-3 win over Kevin Anderson on Monday, he may still get to take the big stage in Miami.
Interestingly, while Fish sees it as a slight, Andy Roddick hinted that he wouldn't mind playing the smaller courts, especially given his level of play lately. When asked whether he'd like to play on the smaller courts, Roddick acknowledged the benefit and the burden of always being "The Center Court Guy."
"I can't take all the benefits from the last 10 years and what it's given me for being out there and then shy away from it when things aren't going perfectly," Roddick said last week in Indian Wells. "It's always fun to play on the smaller courts just because I guess I equate it to a [musician] going back and playing ‑‑ you know, if he's gone on a world tour and he comes back and plays some bar or pub somewhere, it's probably fun for him.
"But I know how it always works, and I don't think it's fair of me to take all the good things that come along with being that guy and then complaining about it when I'm not playing like that guy."
Of course, sometimes you end up on the stadium not because you're "That Guy," but because you're the poor soul who's been drawn to play "That Guy." Roddick will take the stadium on Monday night for the 24th installment of Roddick vs. Roger Federer, as the two battle in the third round. Roddick's last victory against Federer came in Miami in 2008 -- the Swiss leads the series 21-2 -- and though the 29-year-old American has struggled all year with injury, he looked darn solid against Gilles Muller in the second round. He moved well and was actually hitting through the ball, which was a welcome change.