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March 14, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Have you played here as a collegiate?
JOHN ISNER: No, I've never played here, any match whatsoever.
Q. So what's your thoughts?
JOHN ISNER: You know, it was a lot of fun. I hadn't even stepped foot on that center court before, going out to my match, so I didn't really know what to expect out there.
But you know, it was a little bit tough conditions today. The wind was swirling, and after that first set I stopped moving my feet and started shanking and everything, which wasn't good.
But it was a lot of fun to play out there, center court. I like it here, I feel like I played pretty well.
Q. Any nerves working out there for the first time in the stadium?
JOHN ISNER: Maybe a little bit. I've played some matches, and, some, pretty, you know, some decent sized stadiums before, so it wasn't anything like completely foreign to me, so...
Q. Can you talk about the match a little bit? Seemed to get away from you for a little bit there. Might have been a little scarey.
JOHN ISNER: I played pretty well in the first, and I got an early break and I held on from there. I was down a break in the second set and got that break back and really felt like I was going to win in two sets there.
I think I had a couple break points at 4-All in the second set to break and serve it out, which was what I wanted to do, obviously. But I wasn't able to capitalize at 4-All, and then played a pretty good tiebreak in the second set.
Third set we just held serve all the way through. It was a really tight match. He had four break points at 5-All. I had 3 match points at 6-5, so it could have gone either way, obviously. Could have gone either way, and I got a bit fortunate today.
Q. After Washington and then the US Open you sort of disappeared from the tour. I think a lot of people thought you were going to play more. Obviously that was strategy on your part. What were you doing at the end of last year?
JOHN ISNER: Well, my ranking wasn't high enough where I could -- because the tournament moved over to Europe, you know, to indoors, and it wasn't high enough where I could get into main draws over there.
So I stayed here in the states. I played some challengers and I worked my rank and got it high enough to where I'll get into the main draw of the Australian Open. So I've been playing pretty much all ATP tournaments since Australia.
So, yeah, I guess the last three months of '07 I did kind of disappear a bit. I was in the states playing challengers. You don't really read about that, so...
Q. Did you get a chance to follow the football team, Georgia?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I follow them all the time. You know, I don't know -- it's spring practice now. I can tell you anything about Georgia football. Good thing about not going over to Europe this past fall is I was able to go to three home football games and one away game, which was nice. So I got to go to four football games this past fall.
Q. Did you go to the Bowl?
JOHN ISNER: I did not. I was en route to Australia, actually. I watched it in the airport in LA, the Sugar Bowl.
Q. Not much suspense in that game.
JOHN ISNER: No, no, we dominated.
Q. Got pretty angry when they didn't get into the championship game?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think we had some beef there. Obviously we didn't win our conference, but I felt like we were one of the best two teams in the country at that point in the year. But, I don't know, Sugar Bowl is not a bad consolation prize. We showed that we maybe deserved to be in the national championship game, so it was nice.
Q. Maybe this year. It's pretty loaded, right?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, we're really, really good. We only lost four or five of our starting 22 on offense/defense. Runningback's really solid as a sophomore. We have a redshirt freshman who is supposed to be just as good as him; we'll see.
Q. Who do you play in the next match?
JOHN ISNER: Davydenko.
Q. What do you know about him, and what do you think is going to be the key for him?
JOHN ISNER: I know he's really, really good. That's about it. (Laughter.) 4 or 5 in the world. I think he's No. 4. Obviously I'm going to have to serve well.
I think -- I think I'm going to be able to hold a good amount and just take my chances on his service games, try to get to the net. I don't want to be rallying with him. That's what he does best: Stays back from the backcourt and will outrally you.
So I've got to be the aggressor, and we'll see what happens.
Q. Any concerns about the wind if it's windy like this against Davydenko? Do you think that's a problem for you, or do you think it could help you?
JOHN ISNER: I rather it not be as windy. It was kind of tricky today. You know, my toss can kind of get away from me. It can kind of get away from you. I think kind of maybe heavy winds can kind of take away my serving advantage.
So I don't know what the forecast says, but hopefully it will die down a little. But if it doesn't, both players have to deal with it, so...
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