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An Interview With: John Isner

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q. How do you think you solve a problem like Kohlschreiber in the third round?

JOHN ISNER: Well, I mean, I wouldn't really call it a problem. I have beaten him more times than he's beaten me overall. But he's beaten me here. No matter where I play him I know the match is going to be tough because he's an extremely good player. Very good. I thought, you know, our matches the last two years have been pretty high quality. I remember last year I wasn't disappointed with how I played. You know, he just played better than me. Simple as that. In a few days' time I'm just gonna have to try to be better than him.

Q. Anything you can take from the last two matches that you remember that might help this year?

JOHN ISNER: Not right now. Haven't thought about it. I'll have, you know, some time to go over maybe some things that I didn't do as well in the last two matches here and some things he did well. Maybe I can take it away tactically-wise and I'll be able to, you know, have some time and think about that. But, no, I'm very excited. It's going to be another fun match.

Q. Seems like a situation where you could go over a game tape pretty easily. Do you ever do that?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, you could. I'm not a big game tape guy myself, but my coach, I know he watches that and then he relays it to me. But certainly, given that the -- it's a weird situation. We have played three years in a row in the third round at this event. It's bizarre. Check the archives. Ask Sharko or something when the last time that's happened. But I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Talk a little bit about today.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah. Really the conditions were, as far as weather goes, perfect, you know. Wasn't humid like it was yesterday. Wasn't hot. It was a bit windy, which made it tough. Really the match turned at that 4-All game in the second set. You know, I finally was able to break through, and I kind of broke the match wide open. You know, I did what I have done a lot of times, you know, winning a tiebreaker in the first set. It was crucial. It was very close. I won that and it gave me some momentum. I was able to take it in straight sets after that.

Q. I think you have won 36 tiebreakers. I think that's a number that sticks in my head. That's the best stat in that department, but I'm sure you're not living to make that stat. Do you find it impressive nonetheless?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I guess. It's not something I -- you know, I was asked the other day. I don't work on tiebreakers. I may have a little bit of an advantage with my serve. Always for the most part I feel like I serve extremely well in those situations. But, you know, if that, you know, continues to come up in this tournament and my next match, I'll certainly be confident.

Q. What did you think of his sleeve? He had an American flag.

JOHN ISNER: Oh, yeah. You know, Bolelli has like the British flag on his.

Q. He has both. He has American and British.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah. I don't know what that is. Maybe he was trying to get some crowd support (smiling). Luckily they stayed on my side.

Q. Sam won today. You know, over the last couple of years his ranking has fluctuated a little bit. You guys know each other pretty well. What do you think he was sort of struggling with in that time?

JOHN ISNER: You know, I think just confidence in general. End of last year he got hurt. He got hurt in Asia while I was over there with him. He was actually playing very well there and he hurt his, you know, stomach muscle. Then he had to pull out the rest of the year. You know, the tournaments after the US Open you don't really hear too much about, but they are very big tournaments. That set him back a little bit. But, you know, any seasons and tournaments and really careers can sort of turn on the slightest, smallest things. Maybe he hasn't had that much stuff sort of go his way. Some bad luck. Lost some tough matches and his confidence dipped a little bit. But it's very encouraging to see him playing better now. You know, the way he played today I saw a little bit of it. That's the way that -- when he was top 20 in the world, that that's the way he was playing. So he certainly has it in him, and it's great to see him playing well. I know he may play Novak in the next round. If he can play like that, it will be a good match.

Q. How have you stayed so consistent in that time? You said like things can change quickly. I mean, you have stayed pretty solid.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, you know, I don't know. It's hard to really pinpoint it. You know, my ranking's been pretty much in this little pocket for quite some time, which I'm proud of. But, you know, also a little bit -- not disappointing that I haven't gotten higher. I have been very consistent. I don't know what it is. You know, I have just been doing the same things and focusing on, you know, what I can control. That's what I do off the court so I can make a lot of good decisions off the court and take care of my body. From that, everything takes care of itself.

Q. You mentioned to the crowd today that I'm going to need you in that next match and everything. How much does the crowd actually help in a match situation?

JOHN ISNER: Oh, it helps a lot. It really does. Especially here. You know, this crowd is -- this is arguably the most exciting tournament in the world. The fans are into it. It's New York City. They love their sports. This tournament is a spectacle. So many fans are here. If I can, my next match, play in front of a big crowd and have them on my side, just like I had it last year and the year before, it helps a lot. Even though I wasn't able to pull out those matches. But I'm going to need them for sure.

Q. Really not clear right now who the second-best American is behind you, especially for Davis Cup coming up. How would you pick that? Donald? Steve? Sam? Jack? They have had highs and lows recently. How would you go about making that choice?

JOHN ISNER: Well, I hope for one that I'm on the team. I think I'm pretty safe. You know, I don't know. He certainly has a tough decision, you know. Those four guys you mentioned, as far as the rankings go, they are very close. You know, Donald, Jack, and Steve, sort of had, I guess you could say disappointing results here, especially with Jack and Steve. It's just such tough luck, you know. But, you know, you have Sam playing well and he's played Davis Cup before. I don't know. I know captain, he's looking over everything. He'll make the right decision. It's a tough one, though.

Q. Have you ever thought of a scenario where you don't bring both Bryans? You have another spot for a singles guy?

JOHN ISNER: I know we did that in Colombia few years ago, three years ago, in this same relegation match. I think maybe like Bob was having a kid or something, so maybe one couldn't come. So therefore, we brought four singles players or something like that. You know, I don't think so. It's only a gamble as far as health goes. If something pops up, then it can be a bit tricky because you can't really bring anyone else in. But as far as they go, as far as they go for the doubles point, they're about as sure as it gets. Like bringing in Rivera in the ninth inning. Those guys are so solid.

Q. Especially this time of the year as the top ranked American, does it ever get tiring being asked a lot of questions about the state of American tennis?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah (smiling). No, it does. I mean, that's for you guys to ask and certainly rightfully so. I can see why you all -- some of the press wants to ask that question. You know, I get asked it quite a lot. I have said also a lot that, you know, I just focus on myself. I'm not worried about that, really, about the whole state of American tennis. I'm just doing what I can do as best as I can. Simple as that.

Q. Obviously it's not your favorite topic, but do you have a sense why the women are doing better than the men in American tennis? There are 12 women and only three guys.

JOHN ISNER: Oh, that's a lot. I don't know. Maybe there's more parity in the women's side. I know the U.S. women have got a lot of young players coming up that are very good. I don't think the men are really that far behind. Maybe on paper they are, but we have some good players, as well.

Q. There is a 15-year-old girl made the second round here. You played college tennis. Do you think she should be able to keep her prize money when she's only 15 and keep college status?

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't.

Q. You like the current rules.

JOHN ISNER: If I was her, I'd move into the nicest suite in New York City. You can expense it. I'm serious. It is what it is. You know, you don't want to -- you have to cover her expenses. But, no, I think if you accept money or if she wants to turn pro after this, yeah, she can do that and accept the money. But right now, I don't think, you know, if she wants to keep her amateur status and option to go to college, even though it is I guess it is a good, decent amount of money, I don't think she should be allowed to.

Q. What about paying college athletes...

JOHN ISNER: Not really the biggest fan of that, actually. It opens up a lot of issues, I think. I mean, I can see it from the -- I can see it from the football side, actually, because that's what brings in the majority of the revenue. But then, you know, with other sports, nonrevenue sports, it just opens up a box that, I don't know, would be very difficult to deal with.

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