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May 26, 2015

John Isner


J. ISNER/A. Seppi
7-5, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little bit of a slow start. I think down a break early. Otherwise, was a seamless day for you out there.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I played well. You know, going into the match I was going up against a really good returner, but also knew I was going to be in quite a few service games. He wasn't going to serve me off the court. I was proud of how I hung in there in the first set. That was really crucial. I played better from that point on.

Q. I'm not sure if you're aware of the breaking news of Guillermo Vilas, that he was No. 1 in '75, 40 years ago. The ATP is denying his status because back then rankings used to come out like eight times a year instead of on a weekly basis. Then he was No. 1 for seven weeks during those periods. Do you have any thoughts on that?
JOHN ISNER: What did they deny?

Q. He wasn't No. 1 at the time, and now they reworked the numbers. They say they're not going to adjust the computer.
JOHN ISNER: Well, first I've heard of that. Seems to me he deserves the recognition of the No. 1 ranking. That's what I think.

Q. He probably thinks so, too.

Q. Play-wise, you played pretty well over the last couple months. Talk about that.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I have. A lot is said about clay and how it's a defensive surface. It's sort of I would say a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Rafa, yeah, he plays great defense, but knocks the cover off the ball. He is greatest clay-court player of all-time. Me, on top of that, I'm a completely different animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface is and going to keep me in the match. So I'm comfortable on clay. I've played pretty well over here in Europe, which is nice. You know, I've had some bad European swings before, too. So feeling pretty good right now.

Q. How was the surprise birthday party?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it was very surprising. It worked. I had no idea. The worst part was the 6:00 a.m. drug test the next morning. That was brutal because I didn't get much sleep and didn't feel that great the next morning. But part of the game. You know, good that they're checking up on me. But it was a lot of fun. I'm lucky I've always spent my birthday at home. That's when I'm training before coming over to Europe every single year, so it's lucky for me.

Q. I want to ask you about training with Justin and how that's been. Seems to be really clicking well.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it does. I didn't start off great this year, but I put in some very good work with Justin. I have a coach, and when I'm home in Tampa, René Muller, who was with me the previous three weeks, I do a lot of the great work with him as well. But I decided to work with Justin. I wanted to go for it. I know he's got such a great tennis mind. He really believes in me, and I believe in what he tells me. That's never wavered at any point this whole year. Even when I was at my lowest level after that Davis Cup tie. I've never batted an eye and he hasn't either. We seem to have turned it around.

Q. What did you think of Roger Federer's little episode the other day? What was your take on it?
JOHN ISNER: The kid seemed harmless for sure out there, but you never know. One of the most awful incidences ever is with the Seles thing. What happened yesterday should never happen. Could have very easily been a crazed person. Especially a guy like Roger, the biggest draw in our game and the most sought-after player we have. Everyone wants to watch him and see him. Needs to be security on the court at all times, especially when he's playing.

Q. The Federation said they wouldn't change security protocols at all. Did you notice any difference?

Q. Yeah.
JOHN ISNER: I didn't notice on the court that I was on. A lot of people could have jumped out on the court where I was playing. Pretty intimate court. But, no, I haven't noticed. I just saw a quick highlight of what happened and haven't really paid too much attention to what's been going on on center court.

Q. It's been sort of a rough first round overall for the men and the women from the U.S. Is that indicative of the clay form or just mark it down to tough draws?
JOHN ISNER: I'd say there's been some tough draws. Jack, who is just going on the court right now, he has a very tough draw. He's very good on clay, but it's what happens. I've always said if you're not seeded, you have no right to complain about anything, in my opinion. I was ranked 35th when I played Rafa first round some five years ago. That's what happens. You can come up against a lot of good players if you're not seeded. Certainly there have been some pretty tough draws.

Q. When you've been at home at all this year, did you practice with Noah Rubin who is playing at Wake Forest? He was in the NCAA final.
JOHN ISNER: I saw that.

Q. Did he ask you at all about staying the course in college?
JOHN ISNER: No, I haven't spoken to Noah at all. I haven't been home in North Carolina, gosh, since Christmas really. Wow. Probably should get back home. So I haven't been home in a long time and he's been up there. I've been mainly in Florida when I haven't been on the road.

Q. How would you describe the clay here from the way it looks, plays, the way it stains your socks and shoes? Do you keep any memorabilia of it at all?
JOHN ISNER: No. I have some dirty socks, even when they get washed. Clay a great. It's on the purest clay in the world. It's a great surface. It can play very different. One of my practice days -- on Sunday it was pretty cold and the ball was not bouncing at all. I think the time I played today, I had a pretty good timing and a very good court for myself as well. The ball wasn't staying as low as it was a few days ago, which obviously is very good for me. So this clay is great. There really aren't many bad bounces. You can slide through the court very well. It's why it's one of our Grand Slams. It's a really good surface.

Q. Just talking about Justin, any radical changes or pretty much the same thing? Forehand, backhand?
JOHN ISNER: With me? No, nothing too radical. I've certainly worked on some things technically with him. The biggest reason for my turnaround is it's all been a mindset. You know, not getting frustrated, not wanting it too bad on the court. If that happens, a lot of times things don't go my way. Today was a good example. I was down a break. I don't get broken that often, but I stayed the course and fought through it. It's the most important thing. If I can stay composed on the court everything I work on technically tends to show itself at some point.

Q. Curious, what do you do with your old clothes and old racquets and stuff like that? I know obviously you get replacements.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, well, unfortunately I can't really hand them down to too many people. Racquets I could, but shoes and shirts and pants I can't really hand them down that much. But I mostly will give some away to charity if people want something for some reason. I'm here in Paris, and luckily enough I'm with Lacoste. I get a lot of Lacoste stuff over here. Probably be leaving quite a few clothes over here and taking a lot of the new stuff back home.

Q. Do you have particular charities?
JOHN ISNER: No. Just if someone wants a racquet signed or a shirt or a hat signed, I have quite a few racquets as well.

Q. You're not giving bundles to Goodwill?
JOHN ISNER: Oh, yeah, no. No, I do do that. It's actually right beside my house in Florida. I've given a lot of cloths away to Goodwill.

Q. Is this the tournament where you pay the most attention to the conditions in the sense that on a cool, damp day you know it's going to play quite different from a hot day?
JOHN ISNER: Absolutely. You got to get the tension in your racquet right. If it's heavy and damp, racquet feels like it never loosens up. If it's hot and dry, you need to string tighter. You need to switch racquets quite a bit. You do have to pay attention to those factors quite a lot actually. I'll look back really and find out the exact temperature of the match that I just played. The tension of my racquets felt good. In two days' time, I'll see what the forecast says and adjust.

Q. Not to look too far ahead, but are you thinking of switching up your summer schedule?
JOHN ISNER: Well, no. My summer schedule has stayed the same the last few years. I play a lot in the summer, but it's a very good time for me, good surface for me. I've had a lot of very, very good results in various tournaments in the summer. As of right now, as long as I'm feeling and healthy and fit, I'll be playing quite a few tournaments.

Q. Odd question. I cover a lot of baseball where batters stand in; 95-, 100-miles and hour fastballs. But the crowd can yell the whole time. What do you think about tennis that you're supposed to be quiet? Why is that necessary, and would you mind if fans were allowed to cheer or yell the whole time?
JOHN ISNER: I don't think -- I'm more of a guy that I don't get -- I try not to get too distracted. When I'm serving or returning, if people there are filing into their seats I never really hold up play that much. A lot of people do. As far as screaming and yelling during points, I think that would be very hard to adjust to for all of us. I think that loud cheering and getting into the match is encouraged, but not during the course of the point I would say.
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