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An Interview With: John Isner

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Q. He got you into a tiebreaker there a couple of times. How did you feel like it went for you?

JOHN ISNER: No, I feel like I played well today. You know, I guess when you play someone who doesn't have that much experience, especially on a big court, it can kind of happen one of two ways. At the beginning of the match he could come out and be really nervous and not play well and miss a lot, or he could play pretty well. That's what I thought he did in the first set. I stuck with it. I played a great second set. You know, I wish the third set would have been easier. I had a lot of chances. So if there's one disappointing thing from today it's not converting on those chances, especially in the third set. I had some in the first set, as well. But all in all, I'm happy with it in straight sets. You know, moving on.

Q. I know you were on Ashe today, but it's the 50th year for Louis Armstrong stadium. Can you give me your thoughts on it and memories or what you think of the stadium?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I love that stadium. I don't know exactly what it is, but I have a pretty good record on that court. I love playing on Louis Armstrong. It's always a great atmosphere, and fans support the Americans very well there. I didn't know it was the 50th anniversary of that court.

Q. It wasn't always a tennis stadium.

JOHN ISNER: Gotcha. That's true. No, it's an amazing court. I really enjoy playing there.

Q. How much were you able to keep track of the other American men today? Were you able to keep an eye on them, just American men going forward in the tournament?

JOHN ISNER: No, not too big of an eye on that. For Jack, I know it's got to be very disappointing to be hurt, you know. When you're playing in a one on one sport like this and you get hurt, you're on an island out there. It's so tough. I'm sure the last thing you want to do is retire, but he had no choice. I hate to see that for Jack. He's such a good guy and a good friend of mine. I really do believe he has an incredible future. Sam won in five sets, but I wasn't paying that much attention because I was focused on my match. I saw that he won when I was on a changeover in my match.

Q. Your thoughts of you and the other Americans going forward? I know everyone asks this story every year, but can you guys make a run?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I believe so. I guess not off to a great start. Two lost yesterday and two have not advanced so far today. But two have. I mean, I think Sam is very good. He's way better than his ranking, that's for sure. I don't know where he is in the draw or whatever, but, you know, he's capable of doing very big things.

Q. How do you see American men's tennis in general?

JOHN ISNER: You know, it's not the greatest it's been, but really I just -- I don't know.

Q. What's missing?

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't know what's missing. I don't focus on that. I just focus on myself. It's not my concern.

Q. Are the courts still fast to you? That's what the other players have talked about.

JOHN ISNER: You know, I practiced -- I didn't hit on Ashe before my match today. I thought Ashe was a little fast. When I practiced on Armstrong I thought that was a little slower. I don't know. I think Ashe was probably a little bit on the faster side, but it's good. It's fine.

Q. If you were asked to be commissioner for a day to run the sport and you could change any rule in tennis you like or add a new rule, what would you like to make a change about in terms of the rules of the game?

JOHN ISNER: Oh, the rules of the game. Well, I'd go a tiebreaker in all fifth sets of slams. I like it here. That's for certain.

Q. Can you elaborate on that?

JOHN ISNER: What do you mean?

Q. Why?

JOHN ISNER: For me, it would be good. Simple as that.

Q. You have played I guess young Americans a lot through the summer. I mean, is that weird or unsettling for you? I know it's someone you'd like to see doing well if you weren't playing them.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, for sure. In Marcos' case, I didn't know him very well. He's a very nice kid. It's tough playing another American, especially at the US Open, because, you know, one of us is going to go home. But also, you know, I'm playing -- it's going to happen a lot in the future when I'm playing guys that are younger than me that are American. It's a lot of pressure for me, I guess, because I'm expected to win that match. But at the same time it's good. It's good competition. You know, just like I said, it's tough to play in America. If you're going to play an American at a big tournament, you want it to be further along in the draw.

Q. Do you feel like you carry a lot of the burden for the state of American tennis? Some people sort of judge it based off of how you do.

JOHN ISNER: I mean, maybe people judge it that way. I don't look at it that way. I try not to, you know, focus on some of the negative things that people say about American tennis. I know I get the brunt of it a lot, because, you know, like I said, if I win and play well it's because I have a big serve and I can hit my forehand pretty well and that's it. But if I lose, it's only because that's all I can do. So, I mean, sometimes I feel like I can't win no matter what.

Q. You have, you know, a lot of things to be happy with. Two tournaments this year; ranked 13 in the world. Your thought on the way you're playing and your position going into this fortnight?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, no, I feel good. Physically I feel pretty healthy right now, which is key. You know, I had a bit of a setback last week. Unfortunately I had to pull out, but I think it was the right thing for me to do. You know, my season has been pretty solid. I have been very consistent the last four years. Very consistent. Haven't quite necessarily broken through, but I have played at a very high level, that's for sure. And this is the last slam. I feel like I'm playing well. Anything can happen, you know. But I'm going to take it one match at a time, as cliché as that is. I know what I'm capable of, but it's up to me to get, you know, playing well and advance in this tournament.

Q. I understand the one match at a time, and we hear it all the time and I know it's honest, but can you help but have maybe loftier expectations, especially coming in now when you have played a bunch of these and you are playing well?

JOHN ISNER: No, I really didn't set any goals for myself. I do what I can do and compete as best as I can and see what happens. Doesn't mean I don't believe, because I certainly do. But just focus on myself and, you know, just take it as it goes and see what happens.

Q. When you got hurt at Winston-Salem, what went through your mind about the possible effect on your ability to play here, and how did things progress since then to where you're feeling so good now?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, you know, I got hurt playing -- not hurt. You know, what happened was when I was playing a match -- and I didn't feel it at all. It was towards the end of the match. I didn't feel it at all, which I thought was a very good thing. But later that night my ankle got a little swollen. But I actually consider myself very fortunate. I saw the replay. It looked bad, but it wasn't necessarily as bad as it looked. Certainly it was hurting a little bit, but, you know, I had a good feeling that I was going to be able to come here and compete, and that's been the case. So I'm happy with that.

Q. What doubts, if any, did you have as you practiced for this tournament? And in your match, how did you resolve those doubts as you played?

JOHN ISNER: Well, I didn't really have too many doubts. You know, you can't have any doubts in your mind. It hasn't been bothering me to the point where I thought it was going to be, you know, very bothersome on the match court. Now that I got my first match out of the way, I really don't believe it's an issue at all. Just, you know, I don't have to worry about that. Just focus on my game and nothing else.

Q. Do you ever think about how maybe because you went to college and had success that way some young American men have gone the same path?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's cool to see. You know, I just played a college guy. A guy like Steve went to four years, just like I did. He's arguably the best college player ever. You can argue that. He did so well at USC. So it's encouraging to see. You know, the way the men's game is now, you don't have any 18, 19 year olds doing really great things on the tour. So as far as the men's game is, it takes a little bit more time to develop. I think college is a good way to do that.

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