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September 1, 2010

John Isner


6-4, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little easier than your last first-round match of a slam?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, just a little bit. I don't know the exact time of my match tonight, but obviously it was a lot less time on the court.
So for my second-round match I should be a little bit fresher than I was at Wimbledon. (Smiling.)

Q. How close were you to not playing here?
JOHN ISNER: It wasn't like, you know, I just -- it was really like four, five days ago I didn't think I was going to play. But then I had another MRI and I got cleared to play.
So, I mean, yeah, in my mind, I didn't think I was going to play, uhm, just because I didn't think my ankle was ready. But I got cleared to go. Once I got that news it was all systems go, doing everything I possibly can to get ready for, you know, today's match.

Q. You say 'all systems go.' How concerned were you about how the ankle would hold up?
JOHN ISNER: I was. I was concerned. You know, hadn't felt great in practice. I haven't really been practicing. Since the injury, I was pretty much horizontal for more than a week, so I didn't really know how it was going to feel.
But my ankle was not an issue tonight. More the issue was my legs just from lack of training. That's one thing I know is going to get better in my next match as I work my way into this tournament. So that was the issue for me, you know, was my legs, just not feeling that strong out there.
But the ankle was fine. Obviously I had a lot of adrenaline out there, and that helped.

Q. Completely torn ligaments?
JOHN ISNER: I was told that. In Cincinnati I got the MRI about three hours after I hurt it. Obviously my foot was so blown up that the MRI -- I was told I had torn ligaments. It's hard to explain the technical things about the MRI. But it was a low-grade MRI machine and it couldn't show, you know, everything it needed to show.
So from there, the assumption was that I had torn ligaments. Then I got back down to Florida. I knew my foot started feeling better. It wasn't torn. It was everything but torn. It was barely hanging on. (Laughter.)
I definitely screwed it up, but it wasn't as bad as I originally thought. That's why I'm here.

Q. Aren't you worried now you'll tear it now that you're here?
JOHN ISNER: No, no. Because the treatment that I've done has been -- I've just been on it all the time. My foot is more supported with the tape and the brace. Now that I got that one match under my belt, I know that it felt pretty good. I don't see any issues with me reinjuring it, knock on wood.

Q. Do you think you can train now, or do you have to treat it differently still as far as in between matches?
JOHN ISNER: No, I'll be with my usual routine on a day off, which is practice, but no more than an hour. That's what most players do anyways. I don't think it will be an issue. I just got to keep on it. That's what I've been really diligent at.
All my focus literally the last two weeks has been on my ankle. That's the only reason I've been able to play. This really was like a four- to six-week injury and I got it ready to play in two.

Q. You were told four to six?

Q. Would you say 70%, 80%?
JOHN ISNER: 90, getting close to 100. I don't know. (Laughter.)
I mean, the issue when you hurt your ankle, everything else shuts down. So that's just what happens. So I've just got to rebuild the strength in my legs. Like I said, that was the issue tonight.
Because when you have that hurt ankle you're not able to put any weight on it for a long time. Everything on the right side of my body was shut down. I have to get to the point where my left and right side are moving the same.

Q. Is there pain when you're playing? Do you feel anything in it?
JOHN ISNER: A little bit. But wasn't anything I couldn't play through.

Q. You mentioned something about being on a machine with your ankle. Was that several hours?
JOHN ISNER: Yes. It's called an FSM machine, Frequency Specific Microcurrent. It's what TO was using when he broke his ankle, I mean full on broke his ankle and had six weeks to get ready for the Super Bowl. Obviously my foot wasn't as bad as his, but it's worked wonders for me.

Q. How did you find the machine?
JOHN ISNER: I went to a great group of doctors in Cincinnati. I was fortunate they were there. When I hurt my ankle, I stayed in Cincinnati for three or four more nights, I can't remember. One, I couldn't travel because I couldn't walk. Two, they were there and I knew I needed to get on this as quick as possible.

Q. It seemed like in the first set especially you were trying to come to the net a lot more. Is that something you've been working on, or is that part of an effort to shorten the point and preserve your ankle?
JOHN ISNER: A little bit of both. That's probably how I need to play. For the most part tonight I felt like I volleyed well, hit my forehand really well on my approach shots. Like I said, it was a little of both. I've always been working on that.
In this instance, I needed to keep the points shorter physically, not because of my ankle but because of everything else. I haven't been training, so my lungs really aren't there. I had to try to keep it really short.

Q. Querrey talked today how you have to learn that you belong in the top 25, the top 20, the process of moving along. Your thoughts on that and how that's going.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think I've been in the top 20 now for more than two months. So I feel like I know that I belong. And it is something -- when you go into each tournament you know what you have to do. I mean, what keeps me going is I don't want to fall behind. I want to, at worst, stay where I'm at and keep climbing.
That's something with the more matches, the more mature you get on tour, the better that's going to become. I think Sam and I are both realizing that now. I feel that both of us are going to keep climbing.

Q. What do you think about the grind of the five-set matches here possibly, obviously you have to win three, the length of the tournament, and your physical condition?
JOHN ISNER: For me, it's tough. It is what it is. Right now, going into this tournament I wasn't as physically fit as I'd like to be, obviously, because I haven't been training. I only started hitting balls three days before my match.
So for me physically I'm not at my best. But I know that I'm gonna keep getting stronger. So it's just a matter of me trying to just get through, you know, one match at a time.
Once I do that, I'm going to keep getting stronger.

Q. How do you get stronger when you're out there trying to battle an opponent and make it through?
JOHN ISNER: Because it's just time on the court, which I haven't had. Yeah, it's tough on your body, but also it's going to make my legs stronger; it's going to make my lungs better. I mean, that's why we practice so hard, you know, so we get ready for tournaments like this.
Obviously, I didn't have the practice going in, so I have to use the matches as the best practice for me.

Q. How long did it take you to physically recover from Wimbledon? Did it take you longer than you thought? Were you more tired than you realized?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, I was going to take some time off after Wimbledon anyways, no matter how I did. I took about a week off. Then I started practicing and working out, you know, started getting into it slowly. Felt all right.
I went into the Atlanta tournament and felt pretty good out there. But then when I went to play D.C. it all kind of hit me. Either it was that match, kind of everything I did after the match, you know, a lot of interviews and whatnot, it kind of all just hit me. I kind of ran out of gas in D.C.
From there, I didn't play Toronto. I knew I needed to take some time off like completely. That's what I did. I went home to North Carolina, turned my phone off for four days, got spoiled by my mom. Then I went into Cincinnati feeling great. Been hitting the ball great, just playing my best tennis. Unfortunately I hurt my ankle.
But, like I said, in D.C. it all kind of hit me.

Q. Can you characterize how different things are for you in New York this year in terms of people recognizing you, your level of celebrity? How different is it one year later?
JOHN ISNER: I don't think so really. I don't consider myself a celebrity. Maybe a little bit more people know me than last year obviously because of the match I played at Wimbledon. It caught on over here in the States. Really the whole country was watching it. In that regard, more people do know me.
But as far as I'm concerned, I'm anything but a celebrity.

Q. Did you feel any responsibility to play here even though you were a little injured because of what happened in Wimbledon and knowing that it gave tennis a boost and people would be looking to see you?
JOHN ISNER: No. I didn't feel a responsibility. I mean, if I wasn't fit enough to play with my ankle, then I knew the right decision would be not to play.
But that being said, this is the one tournament, you know, I want to do my best at and obviously don't want to miss. So that's why I did such a good job in getting my ankle ready. I just did not want to miss this tournament.
But it wasn't because I felt like obligated to come out here and do it.

Q. The other day Melanie spoke about what goes through her mind when people ask her about her run here last year. What goes through your mind when people ask you about the match at Wimbledon now after a couple of months?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, it's just -- it's nothing that sort of goes through my mind. I mean, it is what it is. The match was, you know, ridiculous. It was just a pleasure to be a part of.
But, I mean, I don't know. When I think back on that match, when I get asked about it, all I can think about is just how Nicolas and myself really made history together out there. I don't think anything more than that.

Q. Melanie said she thinks you're sick of being asked about it.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think earlier in the summer when physically I wasn't feeling well, you know, I was answering questions about it every day. It kind of maybe got a little bit annoying. But now it's fine. I know I'm going to have to answer questions about it for maybe as long as I live.
But, like I said, that's fine. You know, I was just happy to be a part of that match. My name will be in the record books forever. That's not going to get broken.

Q. Did you see Nicolas today?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I did.

Q. Has one day gone by since Wimbledon where you didn't have to answer a question about it?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, when I was in North Carolina.

Q. With the phone off?

Q. Maybe somebody will beat the record, is that what you're hoping?
JOHN ISNER: I'm not even thinking about that. Nobody will beat it. It's just not gonna happen.

Q. You missed an overhead in the second set. Is it often that you miss an overhead like that?
JOHN ISNER: I have a history of missing overheads actually. I'm trying to remember. Yeah, I remember that point. It's something I shouldn't have missed.
Yeah, sometimes -- you ask Sam Querrey. We've lost two or three matches on match point because I can't make an overhead. Those overheads get kind of tricky on me for some reason.

Q. You mentioned you got together with Mahut. Can you describe what that was like?
JOHN ISNER: Yes. It was the first time I've seen him in person since the match. What was it? Monday morning, I didn't fly into New York until Sunday night, so Monday midday I came to the courts for the first time.
As soon as I stepped into the locker room, honestly he was the first person I saw. We did the handshake, high five thing. Sat and talked for about five minutes. And ever since then, I keep running into him in the locker room and we talk. I talk to his coaches. He talks to my coach.
Obviously, we're definitely good friends now.

Q. Do you wish he'd gotten a wildcard? Do you think he should have?
JOHN ISNER: I guess the French, they have a deal. They have a wildcard. So I think he does deserve it. He's also -- I know his body's kind of aching a little bit. I know he has a bit of a bad back. Maybe our match had something to do with that.
So if he didn't have to do the grind through quallies, get a wildcard, he was definitely well-deserving of it, that's for sure.

End of FastScripts

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