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An Interview With: John Isner

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Q. You lost a point on your first serve. What's going on?

JOHN ISNER: (Laughter.) Was that the stat or something?

Q. 41 for 42.

JOHN ISNER: Wow, I did not know that. Actually felt like I could have made more first serves today, too. The percentage I think was -- I think I could be a little higher, but, no, first-serve percentage.

Q. Have you ever done 98%?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think a long time ago in Cincinnati I didn't lose a point on my first serve the whole match, but it probably wasn't as many points, though. Yeah, that's a nice little stat.

Q. Do you remember which one it was?

JOHN ISNER: Oh, man, it was like a long time ago.

Q. First serve, fifth game, into the net.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, he probably took a big cut at it. He was taking big swings. It was a good return.

Q. You're off to a good start. Strong showing today. How important is that to you that you get this good hold starting fast at the US Open this week?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's very important. I mean, you guys saw it there. It's pretty hot out there. But I got the time I wanted to play at. I wanted to play around 1:00, and it's great conditions for me. It certainly helps my serve out. But on top of that, I felt like I played well today. I played aggressive. I moved well. I'm very fresh right now, and that's what I wasn't in Cincinnati. The rest has helped. You know, it gets tougher from here on out, but I'm very pleased with my first round.

Q. Question about your serve? We often see you guys check the sun. What kind of adjustments are made or have to be made? Is it just the toss? Are you repositioning? What goes on?

JOHN ISNER: For me it's the toss. I think out here from 12:00 to 1:00 is the hour that the sun is very bothersome. Generally it's worse on one side, whether it's the deuce or the ad side. So when I was playing it was -- for three or four service games it was pretty bad on the ad side. I remember I was kind of tossing it to the right of the sun at the beginning, and as it moved over I was going to the left. It wasn't my normal ball toss. My normal ball toss would have been right in the sun.

Q. It seems like, again, the outsider's question, but seems like that might throw off your serve.

JOHN ISNER: No, absolutely. It's just like anything. It's like an outfielder trying to catch a fly ball. You see it all the time. They lose the ball in the sun. We lose balls in the sun all the time, as well. It's very difficult.

Q. So the follow-up is why don't tennis players wear dark glasses more often or would that help?

JOHN ISNER: Oh, gosh. Yeah, I don't know that that would help. I mean, even with glasses, looking up into the sun it can be tough, I guess. It's not for me.

Q. Good leadup obviously at this tournament.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, Caroline is always giving me crap, guys.

Q. Cincinnati maybe wasn't where you wanted to go there, but obviously good result. How much confidence do you feel coming into the tournament, especially with the way you played today?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, a lot of confidence. I played well this summer. It started in Atlanta, and I played well in D.C. and Montreal. Went deep three tournaments in a row, and it really did a number on me physically. I lost a super tough match in Montreal where I left it all out on the court there and didn't have much in Cincinnati. I'm rested up and I'm ready to go. I'm happy to get off the court today in a quick fashion, ala Caroline Wozniak. I don't win many matches like that. I don't win 0-0 like she does.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Just because you have been playing really well leading up to the US Open, you're close to the top 10 again, doesn't mean that you should push my press conference out. I would appreciate being you being on time?

JOHN ISNER: Now that I'm close to the top 10, Caroline is actually talking to me again. When I was ranked like 90 she would walk right by me. If I could get in single digits I think I can get some of Caroline's attention. That's my goal.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I was standing in the hallway and you walked straight past me.

JOHN ISNER: I didn't see you.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: He says, I didn't see you. It happens twice in a row and I said, Well, then look down.

JOHN ISNER: I have to get in single digits. This is my incentive. Caroline talks to me if I get in single digits.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Will you be on time then?

JOHN ISNER: Yes, I apologize. That's my bad. Are you next?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm not here just for fun (laughter).

JOHN ISNER: You never know.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No offense.

JOHN ISNER: I thought you really wanted to watch my press conference.

Q. As a student of the WTA, what do you think of Wozniacki's chances here at the tournament? She's done well, but...

JOHN ISNER: Interesting. No, yeah, Caroline's got as good a shot as anyone. Obviously Serena is the favorite, but she's a finalist here last year. She's done it -- two-time finalist, right? See? She's made the finals here twice. She obviously likes playing here. She's comfortable in the city, has an apartment in the city. This tournament, she always has played well here, and she's off to a good start again.

Q. Talk about the rumor that you and Wozniacki will be playing mixed doubles in Australia.

JOHN ISNER: Ewww, she wouldn't want to play with me.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I actually asked him. He turned me down.

JOHN ISNER: I'm old, Caroline. I can't do that. I have to just focus...

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Stop making up stories. Just tell the truth.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, she actually -- you did actually -- I said no one time to Caroline at a mixed -- stupid me. As I said, I'm old and I've got to focus, put my feet up after I play. I can't be out there.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I know you have a lot of favorite female players, but who is your favorite?

JOHN ISNER: (Laughter.) What is this? You know I love you, Caroline. You're one of -- Caroline, Serena...

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I asked for one.

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't have -- I'm probably closest with you, so I would say I do like all the Americans, but I'm closest -- we have great rapport, as you guys can see. Caroline is a good friend of mine.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Right answer.

JOHN ISNER: She gives me a lot of s-h-i-t all the time, and she's doing it again. That's what good friends do.

Q. Can I ask about the ritual between the legs before the serve? Is that something you started by accident and now it's just kind of a comfortable thing?

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't think it's on accident. I did play a lot of basketball growing up until I was 15, so it must have come from that. It's certainly something I don't think about, you know, before.

Q. So you don't see it as a sort of a superstition?

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't do it before every serve, but it's just one of those things that comes naturally and I don't think about. I like it.

Q. Who would you rather potentially see in the quarters, Roger Federer or Philip Kohlschreiber?

JOHN ISNER: That's a good question, but I can't answer -- I'm not as good, you know -- I'm not that good to think ahead. I'm not like Caroline here. I've got to focus on my next opponent. That's that. I don't even -- I know I'm in the bottom half of the draw, but I don't really know my draw that much. I think my opponents are still playing, so they can stay out there a long time.

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