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John Isner first round

Tuesday 24 June 2014

John Isner's media conference following his 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win over Daniel Smethurst

Q.  Three sets, no breakers.  That's got to feel good.

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, absolutely.  You know, I'm not known for super comprehensive victories, so for me on this surface, to start the tournament out like that, it's a big positive.

Q.  He was a wildcard.  How did you feel about your own level in general?  Could you feel it out there?

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I thought I was pretty - I guess I would say I'm definitely happy with the result.  I think I can play a little bit better.

I played well when I needed to.  Also made a fair share of errors.  I had to save a good amount of break points as well.  Could have been a little cleaner, I think.

Definitely not complaining.  I think I'll be better next round.

Q.  John, what's your perspective on the domination of the big four, and how tough it is to get past those guys to win a major?

JOHN ISNER:  I mean, you guys would know more than me.  Historically I don't think the sport has ever seen anything like this.  Their domination within the last ?????? I saw some stat like 30 some majors.  They're always there.

In order to win a huge event such as a Grand Slam, you have to beat those guys.  Wawrinka did that.  At the very minimum two of those guys.  And Stan did that in Australia.

It's a tough task, because those guys are so good.  They seem to always be there at the latter stages of every tournament.  Pretty impressive what they're doing.

Q.  Nine years, only Del Potro and Wawrinka have broken through.  What do you think you've learned from watching those four guys play?  How does it affect your psyche going into a major?

JOHN ISNER:  I mean, I don't think I've learned anything about my game.  I see these guys.  I'm around them a lot and see how professional they are.

You try to emulate that a little bit.  I feel like I'm very professional, but all those guys do everything the absolute perfect way.  Off the match court I'm talking about.

So they're very well-prepared.  They have everything down to a T, because they know what to do and they've been doing it for so long.

So, you know, for me, just keep doing what I'm doing.  I feel like I'm doing everything the right way, and off to a good start here.

Q.  Not to beat a dead horse, but I'm going to flog it a little bit.  Four of the top seven Americans have some college experience.  Can you talk about that for a minute?  Do you think that's a more viable path to the pros now?

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I think so, especially because given the landscape of men's professional tennis, how there are very few teenagers lighting it up.

You see guys coming into their own at 25, 26.  Wasn't like that 10, 15, 20 years ago.  College was perfect for me, and seems like it's working for a lot of other players as well.

Mainly because you have to be very mature at this level in order win matches and get consistent on tour.  I think a lot of the college guys are showing that.

Q.  Do you think you're going to see guys look at that as an example in the years ahead and say, That could work for me?

JOHN ISNER:  I think so, especially American guys.  When you go to college and you're winning a lot of matches, that gives you a lot of confidence.  Even though it's at the college level.

So we're seeing it now, and I think we'll still see is quite a bit in the future.

Q.  You're an exception as someone that's been to college and in the top 10.  Do you think it's still the path for really top prospects, a straight jump to the pros or...

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I mean, I am not - I kind of went against the grain there going to college for four years and making the top 10.  You probably won't see that that often.

I think especially for American players coming up, I think college is a good choice.  Maybe the very minimum for one or two years.  For other guys around the world, could be very different.  Maybe they're already more mature at 18 and can hang with these guys at an earlier age.

I think for Americans especially going to college is a good way.

Q.  I would like to go back to what Willie was talking about.  You've seen these top players up close and personal.  What quality of those top four really impresses you the most?  We see how Murray handles the British situation;Rafa fighting for every point; Roger, et cetera.  What quality most impresses you?

JOHN ISNER:  I would say their professionalism.  The fact that - because, I mean, I guess we're just talking about the top four.  You know, these guys, they get the most asked from them at every tournament.

So not only are they trying to win a tournament, they're also the busiest guys at the tournament.  That's what they're doing off the court, interviews here, there.  They got a lot of people wanting to hear from them, especially Andy at this event.

So they're very professional how they go about their things and manage their time.  I think that's pretty impressive.

Q.  Going back to the college question, you emerged so successfully from college.  With John Whitlinger leaving Stanford, one of the most important positions is open for a coach.  What do you think is the most important quality for a college coach?

JOHN ISNER:  I think having the respect of the players.  I think if the players want to play for that coach and give it their all, that's very important.

Obviously the Xs and Os are very important.  But if you have a good relationship with the guys on the team, I think that goes a lot further than being a good tactical coach, you know, on the court.

Having the respect of your players and having them want to play for you and enjoying playing for you, I think for any coach in any sport is huge.

Q.  What does the World Cup mean to you, and what are your thoughts on the USA's next game against Germany?

JOHN ISNER:  It's very exciting.  I'm not going to say it means the same to me as it does to some of these Europeans in the locker room.

But at the same time, I think we're seeing that - I mean, we're not in America right now, but you see the highlights and all the big crowds and big cities watching the U.S. play.

You click on the articles and see the ratings that they're getting when they're playing on TV.  So it's pretty neat.  Only comes around every four years.  It is the biggest sporting event in the world, so it's a lot of fun to watch.

Q.  On a slightly different tack - we're already out.  The young lad you played today has risen from 400 to 240 in the rankings this year.  He's won futures.  He's our most improved player.  Could you see the signs today of why that may have happened and what did you think of his contribution to the match today?

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I think he's a good player.  May not have much experience at the ATP level, but I think he certainly knows how to play on grass.

There were some times where I would hit a shot and next thing I know he's on top of the net putting away a volley.  He's got a pretty bright future ahead of him.  He has a pretty big game as well.  He's a good player.

Q.  Long way from there to where you are.  What are the fundamentals that a young???ish guy like that has to knuckle down, be there every day?

JOHN ISNER:  Yeah.  Like I said earlier, I see firsthand what the top guys in our sport do, how they go about their business off the match court.

It's very impressive.  For anyone ranked outside of top 100, I guess you have to really buckle down and get very professional and do everything the absolute right way.

Everyone else is doing that ranked ahead of them.

Q.  Was there any piece of advice you got that resonated with you more than others from anyone in particular?

JOHN ISNER:  I don't know necessarily piece of advice.  I've had certain people inspire me.  I think first and foremost, my mother when she was fighting cancer.  So I think that kind of puts a whole new perspective on playing a sport for a living.

So I think more than anything, when I get down on myself, whether it's on the court or practice court, I think back on what she was going through.  It inspires me, because obviously she's very close to me.

Q.  She didn't tell you anything in particular?

JOHN ISNER:  No, I saw firsthand what she was going through and how she persevered.  That was pretty impressive.

 


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