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June 21, 2011

John Isner


J. ISNER/N. Mahut
7-6, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your emotions after all that? Are you just glad to have got it behind you and come out with another win?
JOHN ISNER: Yes. I'm just really thrilled to have won that third set, because if I lose that third set, then chances are we don't finish. You know, our match goes to another second day.
So obviously you want to be through to the next round. So tomorrow I don't have anything to do. Just gonna practice and get ready. It's a nice feeling I don't have to sleep on finishing this match.

Q. What do you feel for the man who lost last year's match and lost again today?
JOHN ISNER: It's tough, obviously. Someone was going to have to lose that match last year. You know, unfortunately it was him. But, really, I mean, he has nothing to hang his head about at all. He fought just as hard today.
I think his knee was bothering him a little bit, to be honest. Maybe he wasn't a hundred percent. I definitely didn't want to play him first round because one of us was going to go home a loser. And I think both of us could do well or can do well at this event.
Really, it stinks for him that he's out now.

Q. David Nainkin was out there with you a little bit?

Q. Did he just come by to help? Sam left, and I know he was working with Mardy, too.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, he's with the USTA, so...

Q. And Craig?
JOHN ISNER: He's in Florida. He couldn't make the trip. But there's nothing more to it than that.

Q. Craig is going to be coaching you when you get back?

Q. Dave has been helping you for the last few weeks?
JOHN ISNER: No, no. Just since I've been here. Arranged my practices, be on the court with me. No, he's just a part of the USTA. So I appreciate their help.

Q. You must know him pretty well because he's been working with Sam.
JOHN ISNER: I know David very well. He's a great coach. We're good friends. It's just good to have him in my corner this week.

Q. The sequel rarely lives up to the original.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, nothing's going to live up to that match. It wasn't going to go that long. The conditions were probably a little bit slower today because of the weather.
After the first set, I felt actually really comfortable out there. I came out a little tight. Obviously I haven't played a grass court match in a full year, so...
I was a little tight. Won that first set breaker. That was huge. That took a lot of pressure off me. Felt like I played, you know, pretty well from that point on.

Q. What did you think of the court placement and the atmosphere on the court?
JOHN ISNER: I like that court. It's a real kind of a quaint place. It's not too big. For the most part, the crowd seemed to be really energetic. That's a great court, in my opinion. I'd like to play there again.

Q. Would you prefer to be on another court?
JOHN ISNER: I could see maybe potentially me and Almagro playing on that court, but we'll see.

Q. Nicolas wrote a book about that match. Can you imagine writing about that? Did anyone approach you? In many ways, he seemed to gain a lot of positives out of emerging the loser; whereas you seemed burdened by having won the match.
JOHN ISNER: No, no. I mean, I've said a million times, you know, people in 20, 30 years are not going to remember that I won that match. All they're going to remember is us out there competing.
In that aspect, obviously he didn't lose. Yeah, I mean, on the scoreboard it says that. And he did write a book. That's great.
But, no, I think you guys have made it seem to be like a burden to me. In all honesty, it's really not. I embrace it. I understand that I'm going to get asked a lot of questions about last year's match, and rightfully so. But that's just how it's going to be.

Q. Is it safe to say at some point you grew tired or weary of the questions?
JOHN ISNER: I think in the immediate aftermath, I think in the summer I did a bit. And then, you know, prior to coming to this event I also knew, you know, no matter who I played that I was going to have to answer a lot of questions, hear a lot about last year's match. Then I draw him again first round.

Q. What went through your head?
JOHN ISNER: That was ridiculous. Yeah, you know, I wasn't expecting that. But it's good to get that first one behind me.

Q. I remember you saying last year coming out after your last to de Bakker, even though you enjoyed the experience against Nicolas, what you really wanted to do at Wimbledon was get into the second week. Talk about your feelings going forward.
JOHN ISNER: First off, I'm going to be fresh in two days' time. I was not that last year. So I'm looking forward. I feel like I'm a tough out if I'm healthy and fresh in a Grand Slam, because I think Grand Slams kind of favor me, because over the course of time I have a weapon that most players really don't, and that's my serve. I like to think it's one of the best out there.
So over the course of a three-out-of-five-set match, I have a good shot of winning, especially on this surface. So I'm looking forward to getting out there next round and hopefully advancing. That's obviously the goal.

Q. What do you think you have to achieve for last year's match to maybe be second when people talk about you?
JOHN ISNER: In all honesty, I think that's going to have to be something really big, because our match last year was really, really big, caught a lot of attention. People were really mesmerized by it.
I would say it's going to have to be -- I'd have to make a huge, huge mark in the course of a Grand Slam sometime in my career.

Q. Were you able to talk to Nicolas after the match?
JOHN ISNER: Just at the net.

Q. What did you say to him?
JOHN ISNER: I just said, Good match. He said, Hey, Buddy. I want to see you in the second week of this event. I said, Thank you.

Q. It seems almost every slam, maybe going back to the Roddick US Open night match, there's a lot of drama around your appearances in slams. Can you talk about that?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, you know, that match was one. I feel like my match at the French Open this year was another. Obviously our match last year.
I think it just goes back to -- you know, I had one at the Australian Open this year, as well. When you're at the Grand Slams, you're going to absolutely give it your all.
As I said before, my serve's gonna keep me in a lot of matches. I think that's one of the reasons I play a lot of close ones because, you know, I'm holding a lot. You know, you don't want to go out in a slam, and you don't want to go out weekly either. You just want to go out there and give it your all.
I think that's what I've done over, you know, the last six, seven slams I've played or whatever it may be. I just go out there and compete really hard and give my all and play with a lot of energy. A lot of times the matches end up to be really close ones.

Q. How would you best describe the feelings you experienced after winning this match versus winning that epic last year?
JOHN ISNER: Well, I would say I was more relieved last year to finally get it over with because what we did was remarkable, and you can't ever think something like that could happen. But I also knew, to be honest, after last year's match that I had no shot in the second round. That was kind of tough to swallow.
I mean, I played the next day. I went to bed that night. More times than not I'm thinking I like my chances no matter who I'm playing the next day. Last year I just knew my body wasn't going to allow me to go out there and win unless my opponent sprained his ankle the first point of the match.
This year I'm happy to get through this one. The goal is the second week. If you can get to that, anything's possible.

Q. Considering the conditions and also just the expectations, you both had a lot to lose because of what you did last year. How do you feel you handled the whole situation?
JOHN ISNER: I felt really all throughout that match pretty calm on the court. I liked where I was centered during the whole course of the match. I never got too high. I never got too low. I never panicked.
I played great points considerably better today than I have in the past, than I have this year. I feel like I did a lot of things well. I served well. I hit my forehand well. I volleyed well. I returned a little bit better than I did last year, too.

Q. First service game you faced a breakpoint. No panic there?
JOHN ISNER: No panic. Like I said, I was a little bit nervous at the beginning. I hit an ace. I saw the chalk fly up on that first breakpoint down. That was a big relief. It's nice having my serve in my pocket like that.

Q. What sort of a mental hurdle was today given the buildup?
JOHN ISNER: It was tough. Especially playing on Tuesday, so I got here on Wednesday. I believe the draw was made Friday. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, I heard a lot about this match, what we did last year. It was tough. I'm assuming I won't get asked a lot of questions about last year's match from now on.

Q. We know that Nicolas wrote the book. Have you had any commercial opportunities or sponsorship opportunities as a result of what happened last year?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, some things have come up. But I don't think you guys have heard too much about it. But definitely I have people, you know, on my side that know what to do in that regard.

Q. What are they? Can you tell us about them?
JOHN ISNER: Just, I mean, I've gotten I think -- one thing that helped me, last year's match helped, I'm part of a Coca-Cola campaign for the Olympics next year. They've chosen eight athletes to kind of sponsor and highlight for next year's Olympics, and I'm one of them. That's a huge achievement. I feel definitely honored to be a part of their team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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