Chat with ATP Tour's John Isner
Isner was a 2007 NCAA Division I finalist from the University of Georgia who reached the finals of the Legg Mason Classic last week in Washington, D.C. The 6-foot-9, 22-year-old played in a record five consecutive third-set tiebreakers before losing to top seed Andy Roddick in the final.
Isner has received a wild card into next week's event, the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, just the third ATP tournament of his career.
Send in your questions for John now and check back to chat with him Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:02 PM)
We're getting John right now!
Buzzmaster (1:05 PM)
ryan (MIami, FL.)
How did you feel your height either helps or hinders your game?
John Isner (1:06 PM)
It does both. Obviously when you're tall on the tennis court, it will give you advantages and disadvantages. For me, it helps because of my serve. But it's a disadvantage, because I'm not as quick as about 95% of the guys out there. But that's something I can work on.
John, I always seem to do poorly in tiebreakers. What are your secrets to winning tiebreakers, if you will share them? Curt
John Isner (1:07 PM)
It's really just a mindset. It's something I take in when I play. My college coach told me not to put too much pressure on myself and to return one of the two serves and win one of the two points. I'll hold serve most of the time. I really try to just get one of the two points.
Andrew (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Are you planning to dedicate yourself full time to tennis now?
John Isner (1:08 PM)
Yes. 100%. I made that decision early on in my senior year. I was going to go out and try to play tennis for a living. It's a risky choice, but it's something I wanted to do. I thought I had the game to do well on the pro tour. It's definitely better than a regular job.
do you believe that going to college for four years is an advantage then rather turning pro at such an early age?
John Isner (1:10 PM)
I definitely do. I've been asked this question a lot. The answer for me, in my case when I was 17-18 coming out of high school. I wasn't mature enough or strong enough to go out on tour. I went to school, competed against some really great players. I gained a lot of confidence because I won a lot. I knew then I was mature to go out there. On top of that, I got a really good education.
What are your plans moving forward in your tennis career? What upcoming tournaments are you in? Did you qualify for the US Open?
John Isner (1:12 PM)
For me, the next three weeks are huge for me. I have really good opportunities to do well. The next tournament is the Masters Series. It's probably the toughest draw. I got a wild card into the main draw there. I may or may not play the Pilot Pen in New Haven, CT. After that, it's the US Open. I think they'll come out with the wild card draw for that today. I have those three events coming up, so hopefully I can do well.
What tennis player (male or female) are you most excited to play and/or meet?
John Isner (1:12 PM)
Yes, it's kind of the generic answer you'll get, but if I get the chance to meet/play Roger Federer, that would be a dream come true. He's the most dominant athlete in the world.
JP: Portland, OR
You use a 2-handed backhand. But I notice the players with the best backhands use a 1-handed style. Have you tried 1-handed? Thanks!
John Isner (1:13 PM)
No, I've never tried a one hand. Ever since I picked up the racket, it's always been a two handed backhand. For me, it's helped on the return of serve to use the two-hand.
Samantha, New York
John, as a child growing up watching tennis, who were your favorite players? And which players do you admire in today's generation?
John Isner (1:14 PM)
Growing up, I always would cheer for Pete and Andre. A lot of people would say that but they were the face of American tennis. They were two of the greatest champions of all time. Now, it's all about Roger Federer. I don't watch a lot of tennis, but if I see him, I'll watch the entire match.
Craig: Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
John, Whats the biggest difference between playing against the best players in college vs playing against the best players on the pro tour?
John Isner (1:16 PM)
In college, the top guys hit the ball just as well as the pros. But the biggest thing that sets the pros apart is the mental game. They're so mentally strong. For me, the key that I had to overcome is that I had to mentally believe that I could compete with these guys. I went out there thinking I could win every match I played. A lot of times, guys go out there just happy to be out there.
Tara, Ellicott City, MD
Hey John, congratulations on making the finals last week! I first watched you play the singles and doubles NCAA finals on tv a couple months ago. I'm impressed at how quickly you've come up and I look forward to watching you play at Cinci next week. It's so great to have new life back in American tennis! Andy and James are fun to watch but I'm looking forward to seeing you and and the other young guys like Sam climb your way to the top!
John Isner (1:17 PM)
I think the state of American tennis right now is fine. In the 90s, we were spoiled because we had guys like Agassi, Courier, Chang, America was spoiled. Now, we have two guys in the top 10. I think it's strong right now.
Jennifer (Brooklyn Ny)
Do you see yourself as a serve and volleyer- I was impressed with your touch at net in dc
John Isner (1:18 PM)
Yes, I am a serve and volleyer. When I use a kick serve, 99% of the time I'll go to the net. The majority of the time, I am a serve and volleyer. I had that in DC and I was fortunate.
Mark (Portland, ME)
Do you think you'll focus more on singles or doubles in your pro career?
John Isner (1:19 PM)
For me now, I'm going to focus more on singles. With singles success comes doubles success. In college, I was a better doubles player than singles player. I wanted to come out and give it a good go on singles.
What have you been doing since your great run at the Legg Mason Classic?
John Isner (1:20 PM)
I took two days off, which was much needed. I needed to put the rackets up and get away. I played 11 matches in 12 days and it took a toll on my body. I needed to sit back and relax for a few days. I started training yesterday for these up coming tournaments.
Pashondre (Da 757)
What are your views on older international players playing in college tennis?
John Isner (1:21 PM)
There's been a lot of complaints of international players coming in. I don't have any problems with it. If they're going to bring the game up, I don't have anything against it.
It's very rare for a Four year college player to make it on the pro tour. Are there any other college players that recently graduated that are on tour trying to make it?
John Isner (1:22 PM)
Yes, I think a good example is a player I just beat at Legg Mason - Benjamin Becker. He's doing unbelievably well. If you go four years in college, you can make it as a pro.
Clifton, Columbia, SC
I've got a very important non-tennis question for you. Are you a big college football fan? If so, what do you think about the big South Carolina vs. Georgia matchup on Sept. 8th?
John Isner (1:24 PM)
I'm a HUGE college football fan. I grew up in North Carolina, which was a big basketball area. I went to Georgia where college football is a religion. I plan on attending that game, but it's also the semifinals for the US Open, so if I'm not there, I'll be at the game.
John Isner (1:24 PM)
I appreciate all the questions. It's nice knowing I have a lot of fans out there. Hopefully I can continue the success and ride this wave. Be a mainstay atop the rankings.
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