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October 7, 2013

John Isner


J. ISNER/S. Giraldo
4‑6, 7‑5, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  A tricky one to start.  Talk about the match a little bit, specifically the second set with all the set points.
JOHN ISNER:¬† I knew the match was going to be tricky.¬† This court is a very quick court.¬† It's sort of low‑bouncing.¬† I feel like he sort of enjoys a court like this.¬† He hits the ball very flat, which makes it tough for me.
I started off a little slow in the first set.  I told myself the only thing I could do was keep fighting.  I felt like I was serving well, so just try to hold serve as best as I could.  That's what I did.
It took me a little while to break through in the second set, but I was able to.¬† I think it was an accumulation of I was putting a lot of pressure on his serve really throughout the whole match.¬† I feel like I had a lot of Love‑30s, a lot of breakpoints.
I felt like I played the right way.  I knew the match was going to be tough.  The first one is always the toughest for me.  He's come from winning two matches in qualifying.
I'm very happy to get through that.  Could have easily lost that match.  That's how a lot much matches go with me.  See if I can continue on in the tournament.

Q.  Is the court any different from past years?
JOHN ISNER:  I can't really recall.  I maybe feel like it's a little bit quicker.  But, you know, it helps me.  It helps my serve.  I feel like if I'm serving well, like I did today, I'm going to be pretty tough to break.  That was the case today.
So it's a little bit of an adjustment.¬† For me, I always got to play extra aggressive, but even more so here.¬† I have to take my chances when I have them.¬† I'm not going to win too many points running side‑to‑side playing defense on a court like this.

Q.¬† Are you aware at all of what you have to do to qualify for the year‑end World Tour Finals?¬† Is that on your mind at all?
JOHN ISNER:  Really not.  I know where I'm at.  What I do know is I think the guys really just in front of me actually have a pretty sizable lead on me.  So I'm not thinking about it.
Matches like this are very important for me.  If I make that tournament, it would be amazing.  But if I don't, I've had a very good year so far.  I have a few tournaments left.  You want to do well and perform well in Masters Series events like this.
I think what I did this summer, I set myself up in good position to get back into the top 10, given the fact that I didn't really do too well in the fall last year, didn't play Australia and whatnot.
I'm just trying to do as good as I possibly can do here in the fall, which is a time of the year where I normally struggle.

Q.  You're a guy who quite often tends to go the distance in matches.  Have you ever been able to analyze why your game tends to go that way?
JOHN ISNER:¬† Well, it happens.¬† I think the main reason is I'm not breaking serve like Rafa or Novak is, but I'm also holding serve very well.¬† So a lot of times from that I can get in these long, drawn‑out matches.
Today was no different.  I was glad I didn't have to win any of those sets in a tiebreak.  It takes a little bit of stress and pressure off of me.  At the same time I felt like my opponent played well.  I did as well as I possibly could out there.  I'll take them any way I can get them.  Wins out here are very tough.

Q.  Is that the area of the game you'll work on the most, your returning game?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah.  I work on it a lot.  With my serve, I certainly don't neglect that.  That's my main weapon.  But I still work on it quite a bit.
I put in a lot of work on the practice courts.  But for me it's more of a mindset, tell myself on big points to go for my shots because that's how I need to play.  I need to win or lose the point on my terms.
For the most part I felt like I did that today.  There were some times where I got a little tight.  But that's what I'm trying to eliminate.  I need to play very aggressive.

Q.  Last year when we were here, there was a lot of chatter about Rafa, when he's going to come back, what's wrong with his knees.  This year Andy Murray isn't here.  There doesn't seem to be that chatter.  Do you think it's because he explained the situation or does two slams not get you quite to that status where everybody is wondering where you are?
JOHN ISNER:  You're talking about Rafa?

Q.  Andy Murray doesn't seem to have that level of conversation going on like Rafa did last year.
JOHN ISNER:  I guess maybe it has something to do with the fact, to my knowledge, to anybody's knowledge, I don't think Rafa had surgery.  I guess his injury, not many people knew exactly what was going on.
Andy, he had a small surgery on his back.  It's as simple as that.  He needed to take the rest of the year off.  Probably a smart move for him.  He needs to be as healthy as possible for 2014.
But with Rafa, I guess it was a bit of an unknown.  Nobody really knew when he was going to come back, if his knee, knees, were going to be 100% again.
He's answered all those critics.  He's No.1 in the world again, which is pretty remarkable.

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