Court to Court
Mardy Fish took to the courts early this morning but for a different kind of practice. This time he wasn’t working on his serve, honing his footwork or practicing his volley. Instead, he was polishing his jump shot with Atlanta Hawks center, Zaza Pachulia. At 6’11”, Pachulia seemed to tower over the mini basketball court set up on East District Street for the special event at Atlantic Station. Yet, he was all smiles as he competed against Fish in a quick game of “H-O-R-SE”. Fish, who used to play High School basketball with Andy Roddick at Boca Raton Prep, isn’t too unfamiliar with the basketball court. A talented athlete, Fish still has the form and touch to swish a three-pointer. It was no surprise then that the simple game turned into a spirited shoot off between the two athletes. Balls were flying and nets were swooshing as the two desperatly tried to outshoot the other. When time was called, however, Pachulia was declared the winner having nailed just a few more of his shots than Fish.
Following the contest, Fish took Pachulia to Stadium Court where the American could show off his professional skills. Against a backdrop of the Atlanta Skyline, Fish showcased his volley, slice and massive serve to the giant across the net. Back on his domain, the hard courts on which he dominates through much of the summer, Fish was unrivaled. Yet, he took the time to help the basketball star develop his tennis touch, teaching him proper technique and groundstrokes. Though the two players had a good laugh going from court to court this morning, fans won’t be seeing Fish on the Hawk’s court or Pachulia on the ATP World Tour any time soon!
Receiving a bye in the first round, two-time champion Fish is slated to begin his second BB&T Atlanta Open title defense at Atlantic Station later this week. Today’s first round of main draw play features, among others, the matchup between former USC standout Steve Johnson and Atlanta resident Donald Young, wild card Brian Baker vs Igor Kunitsyn and Kevin Anderson vs. Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.
Order of Play-Monday, July 16:
STADIUM COURT start 1:00 pm
Qualifying - R Berankis (LTU) vs [WC] K King (USA) or R De Voest (RSA) - Qualifying Final
Not Before 4:00 PM
[WC] J Sock (USA) vs  A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] S Johnson (USA) vs D Young (USA)
I Kunitsyn (RUS) vs [WC] B Baker (USA)
GRANDSTAND COURT start 1:00 pm
Qualifying - S Bubka (UKR) or C Gard (ROU) vs O Sajous (HAI) or T Smyczek (USA) - Qualifying Final
Not Before 4:00 PM
G Muller (LUX) vs M Matosevic (AUS)
P Lorenzi (ITA) vs  K Anderson (RSA)
P Capdeville (CHI) vs N Mahut (FRA)
COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
Qualifying - R Bemelmans (BEL) vs O Charroin (FRA) or R Hocevar (BRA) - Qualifying Final
Qualifying - R Mello (BRA) or [WC] M Ndimande (ZIM) vs L Margaroli (SUI) or A Kuznetsov (USA) - Qualifying Final
X Malisse (BEL) / M Russell (USA) vs J Fruttero (USA) / D Tursunov (RUS)
O Charroin (FRA) / A Shamasdin (CAN) vs  J Delgado (GBR) / K Skupski (GBR)