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March 12, 2014

John Isner


J. ISNER/F. Verdasco
7‑6, 3‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Talk about the match.  Good win out there?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, it was.  It was a good win.  It was tough adjusting at first.  You know, I haven't played him in so long, and I forgot how much junk he can put on the ball.
He hits it so heavy and he spins a lot.  I just wasn't adjusting too well.  There were a lot of shadows on the court.  It was kind of tricky out there.
But, you know, at a certain point in the second set I started to play better, started to feel like I was feeling better.
You know, and then, as is the case in a lot of matches with me, I put together one good game, one very good game in the third set, and was able to ride it out.

Q.  What started to click, John?
JOHN ISNER:  I tried to keep my energy up.  I kind of dipped a little bit at the beginning of that second set, and, you know, I told myself I just had to get ahead in one of those return games.
And I did.  You know, I got Love‑30 and got Love‑40.  Happened so quickly.  So I stayed focused and kept my energy up and I played one of the best games‑‑ certainly the best game I played all match.  It was a big win for me.

Q.  You talk a lot about the physical recovery after coming off an injury for a long time and getting match fit, but also the mental side.  How do you feel you're coming along on that?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I feel like I'm coming along a lot better.  When I played Delray Beach physically I was healthy but I hadn't hit any balls.  I hit for like three days before that tournament, and that's it.
Even after my first match.  I think I played every match three sets there and I was feeling rough.  I went to Mexico after that and just wasn't ‑‑I wasn't hurt, but I was stiff.  That's what takes time.  You've got to play matches.  You have to let your body adjust to that.
So I feel like I have done that.  I have turned the corner as far as, you know, getting that soreness out of me.  I am waking up feeling better after playing matches than I did a few weeks ago.
At the same time, you know, I'm getting match tough, which you can't replicate that in practice.  It's very good.  I'm glad I'm still going.

Q.  Anderson was just talking about the importance of health.  Can you just talk about that for a while?  Is it totally underestimated in the public?  How critical is it?  How do you maintain it?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, it's everything, really.  If you're having trouble staying healthy, you can't get on the court.  If you're not on the court, you're not winning matches.  If you're not winning matches, you're not making money.  If you're not making money, the rankings are going down.
It's tough.  Tennis is brutal.  You could have a stretch where you're not able to take the court and your ranking is going to inevitably drop.  You have to stay as physically fit as you can.
I think everyone in today's game on the singles side is so professional.  Most guys travel with their own physio person to keep them fit and keep them feeling good.  It's what you have to do in today's game.
So I have always said, With me, as long as I'm healthy, things will take care of themselves on the court.  So I'm happy that I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Q.  There is you, Raonic, and Kevin all waiting.  You are known for your big serves.  Is there anything about the tournament or conditions that's kind of helping the serve?
JOHN ISNER:  I don't think it's this year.  You know, the conditions here are very favorable to bigger guys with big serves.  The ball moves through the air pretty quickly.
At the same time, these courts get up pretty high.  And the courts aren't too fast either.  So for guys that are big, it's a perfect surface for us.
And I don't think it's any surprise that I guess that myself, Milos, and Kevin are all still alive in this tournament.  Conditions are very good for players like ourselves.

Q.  Just talk about the feeling of a really frustrating Australian, not being able to play Davis Cup, and so forth.  Now you're coming back.  How does that feel inside to you?
JOHN ISNER:  It feels great.  I was super frustrated, and my Grand Slam results have been not great the last really two‑and‑a‑half years or something like that.
So I feel like I have gotten over that hump.  It's terrible I had to miss Davis Cup.  Every year after the Australian Open I do have some time off.  I guess if I am going to get a bit nicked up.  It's better to get nicked up in January rather than, you know, middle of the summer or something like that.
So I missed the Davis Cup, which was terrible, but I had the time before and after that to get healthy, and I used that to do so.
Now I'm, you know, reaping the benefits of that time.  I was pretty diligent and professional in taking care of myself.

Q.  Some pretty big names have fallen before the quarterfinals.  Couple months down the road we will be saying, What were you thinking?  Do you have a sense that there is a little bit more of a feeling that these guys are more vulnerable than before?  Are you seeing it around the locker room or talking about it?  Is it something in the air?  Do you feel it?
JOHN ISNER:  That's a good question.  I don't really know.  I think a lot of the guys, you know, just outside of the top 10, say, we all believe in our ability.  I don't know.  It's kind of odd, I guess.
People are believing a little bit more that you can go out and beat these guys.  They're not running through tournaments like they have in the past.
You know, for me, I have always thought I can take the court and beat anyone.  I think everyone is sort of realizing that and maybe closing the gap a little bit.  It's still a big, big gap, but trying to do so.

Q.  Hey, did you watch Davis Cup?
JOHN ISNER:  I was there.

Q.  Oh, you were there?  Of course.
JOHN ISNER:  So I watched it.

Q.  Yeah.  Hello.  Are you feeling like you're getting in that groove like you were a couple years ago when you were in the finals?  Starting to get back that feeling?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah.  Just any time throughout my career ‑ not just this tournament, but any tournament ‑ when you put matches together in a row, you just inevitably from that feel better.  You feel better about your game and each match you win and each set you win and each point you win.  You gain confidence from that.
I think that's what I'm showing right now.  When I first started practicing out here, I knew my body felt really good and I was feeling really good.  I knew there was a chance I could do well here.  I have so far.  There is a lot of work left to do, but in a good spot so far.

Q.  When you start a tournament as opposed to where you are now in the quarterfinals, do you feel more pressure before you take the court for the first match that you have to play in the tournament, or are you feeling the pressure build?
JOHN ISNER:  No, I feel it before the first match.  You know, I guess in the position that I'm in, I'm sort of expected to‑‑ you know, with ranking and whatnot, you sort of get through those first couple of rounds.  A lot of times I haven't.
So I think the first match or two are the tough ones for me especially to try to get through.  So for me I feel it more prior to the tournament, especially that first match.

Q.  Were you asked about Gulbis?  If not, what are you expecting?  He's your next opponent.  If you can expect anything.
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, expect the unexpected.
He's so talented.  We all know that.
You never really know what you're going to get with him out there.  He's a shot maker.  He hits the ball extremely hard.  He can sort of go crazy out there, too.
But it's kind of like, I don't know, equate it to like a John McEnroe crazy.  He does it but he stays with it.  He did that out there today.
So, you know, I hope that he cracks some racquets against me tomorrow.  That means I will be doing a couple things right.  We will see how it goes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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