LONDON — Mardy Fish made a winning return to tennis on Tuesday following his operation to treat a frightening heart condition, but immediately felt unwell after coming off court.
The world number 12 beat Spain's Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 7-6 (7/1) in a first round clash and looked comfortable moving around the court.
But afterwards, the US number two felt too ill to attend an obligatory press conference.
"He is feeling unwell," said an ATP tour spokesman, who added it should be "nothing worrying" and Fish had pledged to return on Wednesday, his day off, to speak to media.
Fish had postponed his press conference for half an hour to see if he felt any better but, in the end, decided to cancel.
Tuesday's match was his first tournament appearance since April, when, as the top seed, he fell at the first hurdle in Houston.
He had a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation in Los Angeles on May 23 to correct faulty wiring in his heart.
Fish said the arrhythmia had made it hard for him to sleep and his heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest.
Fish is the top American left in the draw after world number 10 John Isner was knocked out on Monday.
During his two-hour, 37-minute match on the Court 12 show court against Ramirez-Hidalgo, the world number 82, Fish sent down 24 aces and hit 61 winners.
He was at ease in the third set tie-break, sealing his victory with a cross-court return of serve for his first win since Miami in March.
Fish plays either British wildcard James Ward, or another Spaniard, world number 36 Pablo Andujar, in the second round.
Spanish number 10 Ramirez-Hidalgo was the oldest player in the men's singles at 34 years and six months. He has never won a match on grass and has won just one tour-level match this year.
Fish, by contrast, is a comfortable performer on the surface, has a grass court title to his name (Newport 2010) and only six other men competing here have won more singles matches on grass than him.
Last year, Fish equalled his best Grand Slam result by reaching the quarter-finals, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
Meanwhile, his fellow American Brian Baker, 27, who lost six years of his career to an assortment of injuries, won his first-ever match at Wimbledon, beating Portugal's Rui Machado 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-0.
His marathon ordeal saw him leave the tour completely and become a student and an assistant coach at a university in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I had two left hip surgeries, one right hip surgery, elbow reconstruction, and then a sports hernia surgery," said the world number 126.
"I still have one more year to complete my degree.
"But I never gave up the hope that I would be able to come back. I was always confident in my abilities that if I was ever able to stay healthy that I would have success," the qualifier said.
"I think it's cool, what I've been able to do, and it's been a lot of fun. I'm enjoying the moment."
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