John Isner bows out with two final tiebreakers
Great read Chris!
I remember Isner's summer as a full time pro. If I recall, he basically came out of college and served his way to 2 tour finals - D.C. and the tournament before maybe, whatever that was at the time. He basically jumped something like 500 spots in the rankings in a couple weeks, which seemed like some kind of record. I couldn't help but wonder who the guy was. He was a favorite of mine to follow for about a decade. His 5 set upset of Roddick at the U.S. Opena year or two later very much felt like a changing of the guard. I never expected him win a major, but here's to maxing out on the tools he had.
Nice piece. You captured his essence quite well, the indomitable serve, his need to end points quickly and how he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I also liked (as a fellow journalist) that he was approachable and glad to see he has a nice family to help in what must be a sometimes challenging transition. Well done.
Thank you for an honest article. I have watched him for 15 years and it's sad to see him retire. He is the reason I became an avid tennis fan and it was because of him that I attended my first professional match. It was in Memphis. When he played close to where I live, I was there. He just seemed to be an honest, down to earth man and that appealed to me. My best wishes for him and his family.
Great piece. I am one of the Isner haters, but mostly because I found game to be unbearably boring and unwatchable for all the reasons you’ve alluded to in this column. Just under 1/3 of all points he won in last match were via serve. He had 63 unforced errors. That sums up his career. I honestly won’t miss him as a fan and I think many fans feel the same way based on how often he played before relatively sparse crowds at the USO even though he is an American. All this said I always found him to be gracious, likable, and humble win or lose a d for me that was his most admirable legacy.
Thanks for the beautiful tribute to Johnny, Chris. Much deserved and learned some new things about him!
Thanks so much for writing this article.. really loving the tributes to John.. I've been a huge fan of his forever. I NEVER found his matches boring as I felt his serve created so much drama every time he stepped up to the line, and despite his hangdog demeanor on court.. he WAS lugging 245 lbs around after all. I'm in Seattle and saw him in the exhibition here with Federer, along with Bill Gates and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. The arena was packed to the rafters and John was an incredible sport, funny, and en fuego🎾🔥.
I will REALLY miss him.. he was such an all-american boy and a class act from beginning to end🎾✌️♥️
Lovely piece, Chris. A quaint memory, which I hope serves me correctly. He became great mates at college with a West Aussie named Stathi Bobusic, whose sister Bojana was a professional cut down by injuries.
When he was in Perth for the Hopman Cup, he could wax lyrical about the plight of the Fremantle Dockers, still without a premiership more than three decades into their AFL existence.
Remember watching him in a Davis Cup tie at Kooyong a few years ago and he was just unplayable. A terrific career.
Great article Chris . Isner was the master of always bouncing the ball between his legs before launching the Cannon serve is what I will also remember
Really enjoyable article. Nice to get a more in-depth view of him. Hope he stays around the game in some way.
I was fortunate to see him play Novak in the 2018 ATP Finals. Truly a fun experience watching Isner’s great serve go against Joker’s amazing return.
I didn’t love watching Isner matches except for the tiebreakers. It’s a fitting tribute to Isner that the drama he reliably generated was often whether his opponent could produce a miracle with a couple of stab returns at the end of each set. His serving ability was massively under-appreciated because of his height.
Asterisk: Isn’t it now the Smaller Three? Or is Carlos now in his own era/category?
Terrifically written article about a marvelous athlete. I don’t know his politics and, honestly, I’d rather not now. We watch athletes for their athletic prowess and sometimes the less we know about them the better. He seems like a good guy on the court with a nice family. I wish him well after his tennis life.
Isner is yet another one of the 'lost generation', one of those immensely talented players who gave the big and little five a fantastic run for their money and were there at every major and slam for the huge talents to play against, but never won a slam. We all know their names and the unkind will always denigrate these wonderful tenistas saying, okay but they are slamless, at least in singles. But the sport would be so much poorer without Tsonga, Monfils, Ferrer, Nalbandian, Isner,, Sock, and the current lost generation who are still playing but probably too old to go the distance. I have been avidly following tennis for over twenty years and supporting great players of every personality and persuasion from around the world. They are all a necessary and wonderful part of the sport. We cannot live by two or three players per generation. There has to be a magnificent player up the other end of the court to bring out their best. They look just terrible against qualifiers and lucky losers. Watch the first week of any slam. Including this one.