Sunday, July 8, 2018

John Isner Wimbledon third round press conference

John Isner Wimbledon third round press conference
John Isner Wimbledon third round press conference

John Isner speaks to the media after his third round 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Radu Albot

Q. This is your first time in the second week of Wimbledon.

Q. Does that feel like a long time coming for you?
JOHN ISNER: It does, considering I have lost a lot of close third-round matches. Cilic comes to mind. Tsonga, as well. So very satisfied right now to be in the second week and also have two days off. That's nice.

I will certainly enjoy tomorrow. I don't get to work. Just sit on the couch all day. But no pressure at all, sleep well tonight, will enjoy tomorrow. Get back to work really hard on Sunday, be ready for Monday.

Q. What improvements have you made in your game that have helped you do this well at Wimbledon this year?
JOHN ISNER: Well, that's a good question. I made a decision not to play any warmup events prior to Wimbledon. I think the most important thing I do is keep taking care of my body and make sure I'm physically fresh, more importantly mentally fresh.

So I came into this tournament very eager and wanting to do well and gave myself five, six days of practice on these courts to get acclimated to them and get used to the conditions.

So right from the get-go on Monday I felt like I was in a pretty good spot. Although I hadn't played since the French Open, I was pretty confident coming into this tournament because I have been playing well since Miami. All of that combined has made me -- it's made for a good start here.

Q. Now you finally love grass?
JOHN ISNER: Well, with grass that's not Newport, Rhode Island (smiling). But I like this grass. The courts are super firm this year. I really feel like they are playing like a hard court, which is my favorite surface.

So that court out there today on Court 2 was extremely firm. I felt very comfortable out there. Of course I'm taking care of my serve very well so far. That helps. That's allowed me to free up on return games and was able to do that today.

I think in the first set I broke right away, so I was really off to a good start and I was very comfortable throughout the whole match today.

Q. Balls bouncing higher for you then? I'm sure it helps your serve kick up more and help other guys, too, like Nadal forehand-type situation? Do you feel it's a different sort of slanted playing field this year than in the past?
JOHN ISNER: No, I think it is -- I mean, I like it. I do feel like the ball is getting up a little bit higher. Someone like Nadal definitely likes that, as well. He seems to be playing pretty well. You should see him in practice. It's absurd how hard he hits it.

He's in a good spot, but for me I like my serve in any conditions, but these conditions are very, very good for it.

Q. We often think that a player who has fought back from match points and is still in the tournament, it's kind of like house money. Is that silly?
JOHN ISNER: No, it's not silly at all. You see it in -- it's not just tennis. You see it in all sports. Look at the Washington Capitals. They were down 2-0 in the first-round series against Columbus, lost two games at home, won game 3 in overtime on the road, and they were off from there.

It's not just tennis. You can see it in all sports.

Q. Do you buy it for you?
JOHN ISNER: Totally. I bought it today. I knew that I was in a good spot going into this match today, and I played that way.

Q. Federer talked a lot about the Swiss soccer team the other day. You're a huge sports fan. Panthers, Georgia football, et cetera, et cetera. Do you look at other sports as a way to learn and to just improve yourself athletically? Just talk about that a little bit.
JOHN ISNER: Not so much to improve myself athletically, but to learn I do. I have gotten to know some other athletes from other sports, which I think is cool to talk to them about what they do to keep in shape, what they do to stay strong.

Sidney Crosby was here last week, and I got to practice with him. Actually got him out on the court for 15, 20 minutes and got to meet him and talk to him and see what he does to stay in shape. That dude works his tail off. That's why he's the best hockey player in the world. It's cool. So I've gotten to know, through tennis, a lot of other very unique athletes and through that I have learned a lot.

Q. And Panthers?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, totally. I know quite a few of the Panthers and a lot of the guys that aren't playing anymore, so I've got a good relationship with the Carolina Panthers, which is very cool for me.

Q. How would you describe Sidney Crosby as a tennis player?
JOHN ISNER: He was pretty good. He actually was a little bit nervous, I think. We were just practicing at Aorangi. Once he started releasing his forehand, he started hitting the ball much better, but he's strong as an ox. It's crazy how strong his lower body is.

Q. Does he play much?
JOHN ISNER: No, you know, recreationally. Yeah.

Q. Thoughts on Tsitsipas?
JOHN ISNER: I played him one time in Shanghai in a very weird match. Have you been to that tournament before? So we moved indoors because of all the rain. Zero atmosphere. No one there. It was a bizarre match. Super-fast courts. I won two tiebreakers, but I can't draw anything from that.

He's playing well. He's certainly one of the best young players we have in the game today. He's got a lot of talent and a lot of ability, but maybe I have experience on my side. We'll see which one comes out on the better side of things on Monday.

Q. I just wanted to ask what I asked Sam Querrey about U.S. tennis, 15 years, and just your read on the last 15 years and also the future of men's tennis. Looks like a lot of young players coming through.
JOHN ISNER: Future of men's American tennis?

Q. Yes.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, we do have a lot of young players coming through. One guy you might be talking to soon, Mackie McDonald, went through the college system like me, which is cool to see. Apart from him, of course, Frances and Taylor, and there are some other guys behind them, as well.

I think our men's game is in pretty good hands. It will be in good hands in four, five years when these guys are hitting their prime. Trying to catch up to the women. They are stellar for the American women. So trying to get to their level.

Q. Is the last 15 years, just a case of Big 4 completely dominated, so most countries haven't...
JOHN ISNER: I think that has a lot to do with it. You know, apart from Cilic and Stan three times and Del Potro, those guys have won them all, right?

The era that I have played in the last 11 years and the guys before me, Roddick, Mardy, James Blake, Robby Ginepri have played in, it's a pretty tough era. These guys are still doing it at such a high level, and Roger Federer is 36 and No. 1 player, maybe No. 2, but No. 1 seed here.

It's incredible, but I wouldn't change it for anything. This is a very cool era to play in.

Q. Do you think the young Americans are actually going to reach the top 10 at some point?

Q. Or the top 5? All of them?
JOHN ISNER: No, it's hard to say all of them. Hard to say all of them. We'll see what happens. I really like Frances' game a lot. Once he just continues to evolve, I think get his serve better, he's got all the other shots apart from that, I think. I think Frances is one to look out for. I really think he's got a bright future.

Q. And he's gotten a lot better than last year?
JOHN ISNER: He keeps getting better. He's winning bigger matches. We all know that he plays well against tough competition, top 10, top 20 players.

So once he gets himself into that top 20 spot, we'll see how he performs. But for being so young and so talented, I'm pretty certain he's doing the right things. He's got a good team in his corner. If he keeps that up, I really think he can go all the way.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more about Tsitsipas, your next opponent, his weapons?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, he's a big kid. Very athletic. I saw some highlights of him diving on the grass. He's got a lot of talent, a good serve, moves well for his size. Good backhand, good forehand. He doesn't have many weaknesses at all.

So, I mean, I guess the only thing you could say is he doesn't have that much experience, but he's kind of showing right now that that's not much a factor. What is he, 19?

Q. Yes.
JOHN ISNER: And he's seeded at this tournament, so pretty impressive.

Q. On Mackie McDonald, okay, he's a Bruin and he's a foot shorter than you, but good movement, really calm out there, has won three straight matches here. Talk about him and how he's doing so well for a 5'10" guy and his future.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I practiced with him last week prior to the tournament, and I told my coach that if he got in a good spot of the draw, meaning if he didn't play Roger first round or Rafa or one of these guys, because he's unseeded, that I would not be surprised at all if he did some damage.

And he's doing that right now, because he was hitting the ball very well. I think grass is a surface that suits his game especially well. So I'm not surprised that he's in the round of 16 right now.

Q. Anticipation, speed, how can he do against Raonic?
JOHN ISNER: I mean, Raonic is still playing right now, so he can give a lot of players trouble with how he's playing, and his confidence is, should be growing, as well. So he's a threat here.

Q. What's it feel like to be the highest seed left in your quarter of the draw?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's cool, I guess.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
JOHN ISNER: Maybe it has, but, yeah, I mean, maybe I'm -- I don't even know. I honestly don't know if I were to win who I would play.

Q. You play Mackie and...
JOHN ISNER: Okay. We'll see. Look, it is what it is. I'm not like, oh, it's not in my head now or anything like that. No, it's not at all.

But, look, I certainly embrace this position. I'm seeded 9th for a reason. So I think I can definitely do better than the round of 16, but it all starts on Monday, because I have a very, very tough match.

Press conference from Wimbledon Website