New York – John Isner In 2007, when he was about to miss the professional tennis competition, he said that preparing himself physically for the tournament will be much easier for him. to put aside.
The American, who announced his retirement after the US Open last week, told reporters on Friday: “I don’t think I’ll miss the practice because it’s been tough lately.” “I couldn’t train like I used to. … If I train too hard, my body has been breaking down lately.
That 6-foot-10, 238-pound body was fine in Tuesday’s first-round matchup at Louis Armstrong Stadium. Isner defeated Facundo Diaz Acosta 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1) to advance to the second major tournament for the first time this year after first-round losses in Melbourne, Paris and London. .
“I’m really happy with how I played,” Isner said. “I will not enter the fourth set. A three-set match, two and a half hours – that’s too long. It’s been wicked hot and humid here this week so far. Just sweating profusely, conditions aren’t that simple. I’m so glad you made it through three sets.
Isner didn’t lose a single game on his serve and didn’t have to fight a single break point. He won the first set 5-4 before breaking Diaz Acosta to win 6-4. He broke the Argentine again early in the second set, and after both men held serve in the third set, Isner took control of the tiebreaker. Along with Diaz Acosta’s irresistible serve, the lanky Isner hit 33 of 43 at the net.
The 38-year-old will face wild card Michael Mamoh, 25, in the second round on Thursday. Saudi-born American Mmoh upset 11th seed Karen Kachanov in straight sets on Tuesday. (Update: Moh defeated Isner in five sets Thursday, officially ending Einer’s singles career.)
Isner’s best results at the Open came in 2011 and 2018, when he reached the quarterfinals. But they are best remembered for two matches at Wimbledon that will go down in tennis history. In the year In 2010, he and France’s Nicolas Mahut played a first-round match that lasted a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes and battled for three days – the longest match in tennis history. Isner won the 8-hour fifth set 70-68, which in itself is the longest match in tennis history.
Eight years later, Isner reached the Wimbledon semifinals — his best showing in a major — and played another marathon fifth-round match, losing 26-24 to South African Kevin Anderson in a 6 1/2-hour match. The longest in Wimbledon’s famous center court history. (In 2019, Wimbledon implemented the fifth set qualifying rule to prevent such unusual score lines in the future.)
But, novelty matches aside, Isner has been the strongest performer for US men’s tennis in a decade since Andy Roddick retired at the 2012 US Open. Isner has won 16 ATP titles, the most by an American since Roddick, making his big debut at the 2018 Miami Open. He was a member of the US Davis Cup team and was the top-ranked US men’s player for eight of the nine years between 2012 and 2020. After that run to the Wimbledon semifinals, Isner achieved his highest ranking ever. 8, sharing a top-10 market with the game’s biggest names.
Now, as the greatest statesman of American men’s tennis, Isner has the respect of his fellow countrymen, who have said what he wants to say to them in recent days.
“It’s sad to see him go, but you know, he’s always been that guy for a long time,” said Taylor Fritz, the No. 9 seed, after a painless straight sets win over another in the first round. American, Steve Johnson. “When I first started and before I became a professional, he was always very nice and welcoming to this team, the generation that we are now, when we first arrived.”
“I grew up watching John,” Francis Tiafoe, the No. 10 seed, said on Monday after his win over another young American, Lerner Thien. He’s been a hell of a player for years, top 20 in his career, 250(-ranked events) for fun. He was a great leader for American tennis.
Isner, Fritz, Tiafoe and other American men’s tennis players all know that this year’s tournament, 2023, will mark the 20th anniversary of Roddick’s victory here. No other American has lifted the singles trophy at Arthur Ashe Stadium – or any other major venue.
The man with the best luck is Tiafoe, who advanced to the semifinals last year before succumbing to eventual winner Carlos Alcaraz in five sets. Tiafoe eased past Tien in the first round and will face Austrian world number 58 Sebastian Offner in the second round on Wednesday.
Tiafoe doesn’t need to be reminded of Roddick’s anniversary.
“I knew that,” he said last Friday.
He continued: “I think obviously the big three (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) have had a lot to say about this for 20 years. Obviously, we’ve still got one of ’em (Djokovic)… he’s 36, he looks 16, how he moves and stuff.
Isner may be stepping aside. But behind him are other Americans.
“I think US tennis is in a very good place,” Tiafoe said. “I think it’s just a matter of time, if it happens here, if it happens in time. What Andy did in 03 was unbelievable. I think we’ll probably hear more of what he did in ’03. I hope one of us can do it.
Isner admitted that he was going to retire early in the calendar and that some of his recent results had led to the decision, which he said on Tuesday that he “probably knew after Wimbledon.” To win a match on the field where he grew up.
But maybe, knowing this is the end, there are at least a few more thrills for the New York crowd eager to see another American run in the men’s game.
“That was amazing,” Isner said. “Usually I play better after I win my first match. The first one is tough for me. If I feel good in two days, I think I should be tough to hit. I like to keep it up as long as I can. Then we’ll see what comes. Now, I’m one of the few Americans left. I I am one of the group, and I want to continue.
Knowing this is the ultimate humiliation, Isner feels no pressure.
“It’s a little emotional, but I think it’s helping me break free in a way. It would have been difficult if I hadn’t won that match, but[I’m]very determined in my decision to retire. There are no doubts about that. I have to try to empty the bucket here.
Coco Gauff won the US Open in a thriller with her teammates by her side.
(Photo of John Isner and his family at a post-match ceremony Tuesday: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)