Mardy Fish leads strong field for 2011 Legg Mason Tennis Classic


American Mardy Fish, ranked ninth in the world and shown during his third-round victory at Wimbledon over Robin Haase, heads a field for the July 30-Aug. 7 Legg Mason Tennis Classic that includes 10 players ranked in the top 30. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)

American Mardy Fish shouldn’t find Washington’s Legg Mason Tennis Classic quite as lonesome as Wimbledon’s second week is apt to be.

The sole American man to advance to Wimbledon’s round of 16, Fish will lead a strong contingent of countrymen into Washington’s annual hard-court classic July 30-Aug. 7 at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Northwest Washington.

Tournament officials on Saturday unveiled the full list of commitments for the tournament — 38 players in all — leaving 10 spots in the 48-player field to be awarded through wild-card entries (four) and qualifying rounds (six).

The tournament will feature 10 of the world’s top 30 players, with Fish, ranked No. 9, leading the bunch.

He’ll be joined by American Andy Roddick, a three-time Legg Mason champion who was ushered out of Wimbledon in the third round Friday by Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

Other Americans in the draw are the hard-serving John Isner, a 2007 Legg Mason finalist; Californian Sam Querrey; the tournament’s 2002 champion, James Blake; and 23-year-old Ryan Sweeting of Houston.

Also returning are fan favorites Marcos Baghdatis, a 2010 Legg Mason finalist who pushed world No. 2 Novak Djokovic to four sets Saturday at Wimbledon; and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, who won the Legg Mason in 2004.

Argentina’s David Nalbandian, who won the tournament as a wild card last summer, will return to defend his title.

Among the other top-20 players scheduled to compete are Jurgen Melzer of Austria (11th in the world) and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki (No. 12).

Fish, 29, has been playing the best tennis of his career since losing 30 pounds last year following a radical overhaul of his diet and fitness regimen. This season he has reached the semifinals at Memphis, Delray Beach and the ATP World Tour 1000 at Miami.

On Saturday he secured a spot in Wimbledon’s fourth round when his opponent, Robin Haase of the Netherlands, withdrew 2 hours 34 minutes into their match with Fish leading, 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, 1-1.

Washington’s Legg Mason Tennis Classic, an ATP World Tour 500 event, is part of the 10-tournament U.S. Open series that leads into the U.S. Open. Ticket information is available at (202) 721-9500, Ticketmaster outlets or at LeggMasonTennisClassic.com.

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.

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