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An Interview With: John Isner (Round 2)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Q. Great start, like you drew it up?

JOHN ISNER: Like I always draw it up (smiling). Couldn't have asked for a better start. Six sets, not a tiebreaker either in any of the sets. It's a great start. I felt good on the court physically. I'm playing the right way, which is important. I'm playing aggressively, not getting in too many extended rallies out there. I conserved a lot of energy. I'm certainly fit.

Q. How difficult were the conditions?

JOHN ISNER: You know, I think I was a little lucky with my time, I guess. I guess I went on the court around 3:00. It was pretty hot, but it kept getting cooler and cooler and cooler. I warmed up at 11:30 and it was pretty toasty during the warmup. I had a good time today.

Q. You've become a return specialist.

JOHN ISNER: No, not quite. I won't be turning into Novak anytime soon.

Q. Can you talk about your return, though. Working pretty well.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, no, it has. I'm very happy with how I've been returning second serves. Hitting it very aggressively. Following some into the net. Putting all sorts of pressure on my opponent. In the first set he double-faulted on breakpoint. Close as it could be. Thankfully we had the challenge system. But, no, that's a good sign when players feel like they need to squeeze a second serve on the line, near the line against me, because it shows me I'm doing the right thing. It's easier said than done, for sure, but I've got to try to keep it up.

Q. Watching Roger in Cincinnati?

JOHN ISNER: No, it's not like that. Gosh, no.

Q. You were talking about that.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, guys in the locker room were laughing about it. It's incredible, those shots he was hitting. That's why he's the greatest ever.

Q. Have you seen Jack Sock?

JOHN ISNER: I saw him, yeah.

Q. How does he look?

JOHN ISNER: Well, he's fine now. I didn't speak in-depth with him. I imagine he got an IV. I hope so. Those help a lot when your body is completely cramping. But it's tough to see. You see it on TV and you're helpless at that point, completely. He sweats more than anyone I've ever seen. It's not a fitness thing. I think that's a big, big misconception. He's in very good shape. He can play 50-ball rallies if he wants to. But he sweats a lot. He loses a lot when he's sweating. It's all about, in my opinion, putting the right things in your body beforehand. He's in very good shape. It's not a fitness thing, if people are saying that. His body was at a deficit of whatever it is, sodium, magnesium, potassium. Whatever it is, in these humid conditions, you have to put all that in your body.

Q. How much of a bummer is it to have to go out that way in a major?

JOHN ISNER: It's a huge bummer. No offense to his opponent today, but if Jack's body held up, he would have won the match, so... Huge bummer, especially at his home Grand Slam. He obviously was playing well, too, up until that point. Good thing for Jack is he's very young. He's very, very good. So he's going to have a lot more cracks at this tournament, that's for sure.

Q. Do you feel more pressure when you're here because every year it's the American man thing, US Open, when is it going to happen?

JOHN ISNER: No, I don't. Of course, there's a level of pressure before any Grand Slam, let alone the US Open. The US Open, I guess, maybe a little bit, you know, with being American. The one thing I have on my side every year here is it's a surface I really like. The fans are on my side, which helps so much. I played well here every year of my whole career really. I have gotten tripped up in the third round the past few years. But I'm again in the third round. I'm playing well. A lot of things are going well for me. I feel like the pressure's really off.

Q. You don't feel that overall pressure anymore?

JOHN ISNER: Prior to a tournament starting, there's always some butterflies. You want to get off to a good start. I've done that. For me, no, it's not that whole 'haven't won a Grand Slam, American, since 2003 thing.'

Q. That's not in your head?

JOHN ISNER: I was never pegged to be the next great American tennis player by any means. I wasn't a prodigy. I'm a late-bloomer. Whatever happens, I'm proud of what I've done.

Q. Today's result notwithstanding, you're no stranger to comebacks, particularly in a setting like this, hot, but also a Grand Slam. What's the most important part of the mentality of coming back when you find yourself down?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think what helps is the atmosphere in every Grand Slam is amazing. You have these fans in every slam going crazy out there. It's pretty special. This is unlike what we're generally playing all year long. You just want to go out fighting, win or lose. That's the mentality I think a lot of players have. Whether you're down two sets to love, you see it a lot, players come back from down two sets to love. I think the mentality is simple: keep fighting, don't give in. If you lose, lose the right way, lose laying everything out there.

Q. It's obviously different on the women's side with the sets. What makes Serena so good at coming back?

JOHN ISNER: Well, I mean, she's great in every facet of the game. There's not a stroke that's not dominant with her. I think her best attribute overall is how she competes. We've seen that all year long. She's been down in a lot of matches. But she's an unbelievable competitor, probably the greatest ever.