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August 27, 2012

John Isner


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you just talk about how you're feeling coming into the Open?  You have had a really great summer.
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I feel pretty good about myself, about my game right now.  I have had, you know, pretty similar summer to what I had last year, and I played very well last year.
This tournament feels exactly the same because I came off winning Winston‑Salem and I did that again this year.  So I got here just today, actually, my first day here on‑site, which is actually what I prefer.  I prefer not to be here that much.
So I'm feeling good about myself.  I feel fine, healthy and everything, and I'm ready to go.

Q.  How would you describe the opportunity you have with your draw and the way you're playing?
JOHN ISNER:  I don't know.  I'm playing well.  I believe I can beat anyone, but I also know anybody can beat anybody out here.  I'm not looking past anyone.  I'm not good enough to do that.

Q.  As you look back over your season, your year, what stands out about why you haven't had the success you wanted at the majors?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, you know, I guess Australia I played a tough match in my second round and I was a little bit tired from for my third round.  I ran out of gas in the fifth set there in Australia.
You know, in the French and Wimbledon I just wasn't playing that well going into those events.  It showed at the French and at Wimbledon.  I wasn't that sharp, which is unfortunate.  You know, you want to go into the majors feeling like you're playing your best.
But for those, you know, especially French Open and Wimbledon, I didn't feel like I was, and I wasn't able to manufacture anything.  It just sort of ‑‑my poor form sort of carried over.

Q.  Why was that?  Was there anything sort of off court that was affecting your performance?
JOHN ISNER:  No, no, I just ‑‑I don't know.  I got over the Europe and the clay court season, took some tough losses, and my confidence dipped a little bit.  You know, I was over there for a while.  You know, play a match, win a match, lose a match, never really got anything going.
I wasn't able to establish any momentum heading into those tournaments.  So always, you know, play my best, feel my best, just as a lot of players when I'm playing a lot.  If you're playing a lot that means you're winning a lot.  That's been the case this summer.

Q.  When you look at Mardy Fish and how he achieved his best results in late his 20s, do you think that the timetable has been altered or changed by the fact that there is so much more athleticism in the game and people need to grow into their bodies?  In the years when the breakthroughs occurred at 20 or 19 even, that that's no longer the case?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I don't think that's going to be the case any time soon because this game is so physical now.  Like you said, people need to grow into their body.  That especially goes for me.
I didn't even know I wanted to play pro tennis till I was 21, and I wasn't even good enough then.  It's just taken me a long time.  Although I am 27, I feel like I'm rather young in terms of, you know, professional tennis years.
I have been playing for five years now, but, you know, a lot of players out there who are 27 have been playing for 10 years.  I'm quite a bit different.
I have always been sort of a late bloomer.  I'm not surprised at myself that I'm having my best results now.

Q.  Do you think for young players, for a kid turning pro at 18, 19, like Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock, or Tomic that they have to sort of develop a greater patience because it will take longer, that it might be frustrating?
JOHN ISNER:  I think so, but the thing is those guys are, in my opinion, the exception.  You know, like Harrison I believe is top 50 in the world; I think Tomic is, as well.  Jack Sock, in my opinion, is a very good player.
So then all those guys at a real young age, whether it's 19 or 20, whatever they are, they're pretty far ahead of the curve as far as I see it.  So they're a step ahead of most every other 19 or 20 year old.
I know I wasn't nearly that good.  So those guys, it might take them a little while to see their very, very best results, but they're certainly not doing so bad right now.

Q.  You very obviously are one of the best tennis players in the world, but you talk about sort of putting match after match together.  Could you talk about the art of sort of putting seven big matches together on the biggest stage?  Part of that of course is getting past the big three or four that we now have in men's tennis.
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I don't really know much about that art.  Actually, I have never done it.  (Laughter.)  The closest I have come was last year at this tournament.  I had a little bit of a taste of what it's like.
You know, I know it's so tough.  You know, I think for me, my goal is, my first goal is to get through the first week.  That's so, so hard.
You know, I want to win my first few matches and take it from there.  I was able to get to do that last year.  My round of 16 match I won.  It was a really close match, and I had to turn around and play the very next day because of all the rain.  That was a bit of a tough turnaround.  Ran into a guy who was just better than me.
You know, like I said, I don't know much about it, but I know it's very hard.  I got to the quarterfinals last year, and I'd love to get back to that spot this year and have another crack at it.

Q.  Does the Davis Cup win and the Indian Wells result, does that help you or is that just the past?
JOHN ISNER:  No, I think it helps me.  I think it has helped me already so far this year.  So, you know, I feel like my opponents know that I'm going to be a tough guy to beat, you know, just because of how I can serve pretty much.
You know, those big wins, especially that win against Roger at Davis Cup and Novak at Indian Wells, those are two of my best wins ever.  So it has helped me this year.  And, you know, if I do ‑ whether it be this tournament or, you know, in a tournament in the future ‑ if I come up against one of those top, top guys, I like to think it will help me again.

Q.  All sports have margins.  You faced match points in the final.  Djokovic's forehand here last year on match point.  Where do you think tennis margins fail in the spectrum of sports?  Can you talk about that at all?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, it's so thin.  Like you said, just a couple days ago I was down a match point and my opponent had a volley that he probably makes nine times out of ten and he didn't make it.
So I realize how lucky I was or how fortunate I was to win that event.  I'm coming up here riding a five‑match winning streak instead of a one‑match losing streak.  The margins are so thin.
I know that Djokovic, that forehand he hit last year against Roger sort of went for broke and he made it.  You know, especially at the top of the game with all the players, you know, obviously the top four players in the world, the margins, it is so thin.  A lot of things have to go your way if you want to do well at an event such as this.

Q.  James Blake just pulled out a four‑set win.  Did you get a chance to watch any of that?  What would it mean for him to make a run at his age?
JOHN ISNER:  I watched a little bit here and there.  When I came in here I think it was 5‑3, so I see he won 6‑3.  Yeah, no, this is his favorite tournament, without a doubt.  He feeds off the crowd very well.  He's starting to‑‑ you know, over the last month or so, he's starting to finally play better.
It's taken him a while.  He's dealt with injuries and confidence, and so he seems like he's on the right track.  I think him having that baby girl has actually helped him a lot.  I'm one of his biggest fans actually, so I hope he can do very, very well.  I enjoy watching James play a lot.

Q.  Speaking of the crowd, you have played night matches here, I assume.  What's the difference between day matches and night matches here?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I have played night matches.  One I guess true night match I played was on Ashe a couple years ago and I actually didn't play so well.
I think maybe at night the atmosphere is a little bit better, but the atmosphere during the day is also amazing, especially for an American and especially on a big court.
You know, my personal favorite court is Louis Armstrong.  I played a lot of matches there.  I just love it there.  The crowd really gets behind the Americans.  It's just so much fun to play in front of them.

Q.  Why Armstrong?
JOHN ISNER:  I don't know.  I seem to play my best there.  I like that.  I like that.

Q.  As one of the biggest servers in the game, what sort of appreciation do you have for what Serena Williams is able to do with her serve and how she's able to in general dominate of late?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I mean, her serve is incredible.  You know, I mean, she's not like super tall like I am, either.  She has an unbelievable serve.  It's the best in the women's game.  She's so strong.
You know, you don't see it that often in the women's game where, you know, a player can absolutely dominate with their serve.  That's what she has been doing lately.  It's been serving her well.
If she, you know, wants to win this tournament, she's going to have to rely on that.  That's why I think that serve is the main reason why she's pegged as the favorite here.

Q.  Why do you think she's able to serve so well?  You mentioned she doesn't have the height.  What impresses you most in terms of technique, etcetera?
JOHN ISNER:  I'm not the best when it comes to that.  I know she's very strong.  Her motion seems good.  She's not short, either.
But I don't know.  She's got it down.  Her timing must be perfect.

Q.  Could you take a moment in terms of James and I know you have a long history, if I understand correctly, a and little bit of a personal connection there.  Could you talk about his career?  He never really quite broke through to the very, very top, but, you know, he's had some very good results:  the Agassi match, Davis Cup, and all that.
JOHN ISNER:  Well, he got to 4 in the world.  That's pretty damn good, in my opinion.  Excuse my language.  So, you know, he's overcome a lot of obstacles too in his career.  To get to 4 in the world after overcoming all those obstacles is pretty remarkable.
You know, like I said, he seems to be playing better.  I would personally like him to play for a couple more years.  I'd like to be on tour with him for a couple more years.
Yeah, like I said, I'm one of his biggest supporters, and it's always great seeing him win.  It's always especially great seeing him win here.

Q.  You mentioned Armstrong is your favorite stadium.  They're going to be replacing it in a couple of years.  Any disappointment that it's going away?
JOHN ISNER:  I didn't know that.  Few years?

Q.  Couple of years.
JOHN ISNER:  Are they building a new one or something?

Q.  Building a new one.
JOHN ISNER:  Well, maybe ‑‑ it could be Yankee Stadium or something and it would still would be nice.

Q.  I have a question about your equipment preferences.  Of all the racquets that you have tried over the years, which types have you really disliked?
JOHN ISNER:  Well, I haven't tried that many.  I have played with Prince for a long time‑‑ like long, long, long time.  I don't like messing with that much stuff.  I don't want it to get in my head.

Q.  One more thing about Roger Federer.  You mentioned how hard it is to put together matches back to back.  What sense of appreciation do you have for what Roger has been able to do in his career in terms of consistency and now that he's back to No. 1?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, that's unbelievable.  The closest I've come to winning a Grand Slam is one quarterfinal, and he's won 17 of them.  It's hard to even put into context how great he is.
His consistency is ‑‑we might not ever see it again.  You know, in my opinion he's the greatest of all time, and he's still doing it now.
I don't see him slowing down any time soon, either.  He's very gifted, that's for sure.

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