John Isner: The Big Serving American Giant Of Tennis

John Isner

A constant competitor, owner of one of the most fearsome serves on the circuit and who holds the record of the most aces in history, John Isner is one of those players who, without winning so many titles, has managed to find a place in the history books of tennis. In this post, we will find out more about him. Let’s get started.

John Isner: All You Need To Know

What made John Isner an immortal figure in tennis?

Without a doubt, the most memorable memory of John Isner’s career is winning the longest match in tennis history. What seemed like just another Wimbledon first round match turned into a match that had to be played on three different days.

On June 22, 2010, the first four sets of the duel between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut were played. Due to the time, the match had to be suspended, resuming the next day when it would become the longest match in history. At the end of the day, the match had to be suspended again, as neither of them managed to break the opponent’s serve. That night, the match was suspended again when it was in partial ( 4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6 and 59-59). It was not until the third day, in which the American finally managed to win the victory with a 70-68 score in the fifth set.

That day, both players broke the record for most aces in a match. Nicolas Mahut finished with 103 while Isner set the record for 113 aces in a match. In addition, the meeting achieved the record for most consecutive games without breaks being 168 in total, 84 each.

Queen Elizabeth II attended the final points of the match, this being the first time she had attended a Wimbledon match after more than three decades without doing so. You can actually watch the entire 11 hour match on Wimbledon’s official YouTube channel.

How is John Isner’s record against the “Big Three: of tennis?

John Isner is part of the select group of tennis players who has beaten the three members of the “Big Three” at least once.

In twelve matches against Novak Djokovic, the American managed to emerge victorious twice. The first was in Beijing 2010 and in 2013 at the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. Against Roger Federer, he achieved victory in 2012 and in 2015 at the Masters 1000 in Paris. However, against the Swiss, he also fell in two Masters 1000 finals. Finally, it was not until the 2017 Laver Cup that he was able to defeat Rafael Nadal to whom he also fell in a Masters 1000 final.

In fact, it was Andy Murray against whom he could not achieve a victory. Isner faced the British eight times, and although in seven of them he managed to steal a set, he never managed to break the fourth member of what was once the “Big Four” of tennis before Murray’s injuries derailed his career.

Which tennis player has the most aces in tennis history?

John Isner has done it again and again on the grass at Wimbledon. The American tennis player broke the record for the most aces in history, which belonged to Croatian Ivo Karlovic with 13,728. It was in the match against the Italian Jannick Sinner when the 2.08 metre tall player broke a new record and became the player with the most direct aces in the history of tennis, since the ATP statistics were started in the year 1991. Year after year, John Isner has bombed his opponents with his monstrous serves and unstoppable aces.

In this way, the player born in Greensboro (North Carolina) surpassed the Croatian’s mark. Karlovic needed 694 games to reach that figure, while Isner surpassed it in his 737th game on the men’s circuit. Isner needed just two service games to hit his fifth ace of the match and the 13,729th of his long professional career, which he began in 2007. After the momentous ace, here’s what a tweet from Wimbledon’s official handle said:

• 54 aces in the first round

• Fifth man to reach 1000 aces at #Wimbledon

• Breaks record for most aces on the ATP Tour @JohnIsner serving up a treat

Does John Isner’s monstrous serve always translate to wins?

The player trained at the University of Georgia who is currently ranked 24th in the ranking has won 92% of the service games he has played in his career and 79% of the points he played with his first serve. Even so, the 24 aces he hit on were not enough to defeat Sinner who beat the American in 2 hours and 20 minutes of play (6-4, 7-6 (7-4) and 6-3). ).

As per Sports Blog, Even with everything, this new record by John Isner is not the first historical record that he treasures on the Wimbledon lawn, since in 2010 he won the longest match in the history of professional tennis, defeating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in an 11-hour match and 5 minutes for 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3) and 70-68. In that match, the American hit 113 aces.

John Isner: Best Quotes

I’ve learned how to sleep on airplanes. When I’m taking a trans-Atlantic flight or going to a different continent, I will always read because reading puts me to sleep. When you watch a movie, you have all that light coming to your eyes, but with reading, I can’t get through 15 or 20 pages.

A lot of times when I’m confident and relaxed on the court, I’m going to be a pretty tough out. But when I’m not so confident and not so relaxed, I tense up and my balls fall short and everything. It just sort of unravels.

I know where I’m ranked, but I don’t look at it that much, I don’t study it that much. You really can’t look at it that way, you’ve got to try to win as many matches as you can, and it’s cliche, but you’ve got to take it one at a time.

I felt a ton of pressure in ’08. A lot of great things were expected of me right out of the gate, and I brought some of that on myself with those great early results. But I wasn’t a good enough player to make a run every fourth or fifth tournament. I wasn’t as good a player as my ranking indicated.

My theory is that I’m just closer to the sun than everyone else. I weigh more than everyone else, I’m taller than everyone else. When it’s really humid and hot outside it’s going to take a bigger toll on me.

That would be a huge honor, if I ever were to become the No. 1 American. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to, you know, achieve that. For me, if it were to happen, it’d be great. I’d try to hold onto that spot as long as possible, but I know there’d be a lot of people nipping at my heels to try to get to that No. 1 spot.

That’s why I enjoy the Davis Cup, and I really enjoyed college tennis. It’s very special. You want to go out there and compete your hardest, because you don’t want to let anyone down. You want to absolutely give it your all for your team. And that’s sort of the mentality I’ve taken to pro tennis.

I have a coach and I have a chiropractor, who works to keep me healthy. I pay their salaries. I pay for their flights as we travel around the world on a weekly basis, and I pay for their hotels and meals while we’re on tour.

A tournament pays me to show up because the fans want to see me and I move the needle at the box office? That’s amazing. It’s good for tennis, good for me and good for the event. If a sponsor wants to pay to put their company name on my shirt because they think I’m a strong ambassador for their brand? Heck yes.

A lot of players have had it worse than me. Look at a guy like Andy Roddick, an incredible Hall of Fame player, but he ran up against Roger so many times in big finals.

Probably the most infamous story in our family: My oldest brother took a U-lock bike lock and locked my head to the bedpost. And he didn’t just do this for a minute or two; he did this for a couple hours. I was maybe 8 or 9, and he was maybe 15.

In a tiebreaker, you generally have a lot of adrenaline running through. It’s all about just holding your serve, trying to hold two serves at a time, trying to stay ahead in the tiebreaker, constantly putting pressure on my opponent.

I love building a team around me, and being able to support a group of people is one of the best feelings I’ve come to know during my career; I imagine this is what a lot of business owners can relate to this.

The way I see it, the prize money is a reflection of my on-court performance, but the sponsorships are something more personal, connected more to people and fans, and to my values.

As a tennis player, or any professional athlete, our career has a shelf life. I don’t want to waste any opportunities, I don’t want to look back on it when I’m 45 and think I could have done a lot more.

Everyone works so hard on their game and on their body. Most of the time, it comes down to who is more relaxed mentally; on the court while playing and off the court.

There is so much that goes in to being a good tennis player. It’s not just what you can do well on the court, it’s between the ears as well. John Isner

Being able to travel with family and friends so they can cheer me on as I play is something it’s hard to put a price on; my point is simply that for all of this, there is indeed a price.

How is John Isner in real life?

People who have met John Isner always notice certain things about him and his personality. Of course, the first thing that people notice is his incredible height. Even when he sits, he usually towers over people. However, everyone who has met him, has confirmed that he is more of a gentle giant than a fearsome figure.

Whenever he stands, his boyish face looks as if it’s receding into the heavens. A pleasant face of a good American boy. A face straight out of a John Hughes movie.

But in reality John Isner was on the outer slopes of the Caja Mágica, just after training, with his cap inside out under a hot Madrid May sun. John Isner usually has a happy disposition. Always talking with a smile that seems to be fixed, a minimal but sufficient smile of a nice guy who seems to walk around on stilts. It really seems that he walks on stilts, because his legs are so thin and long; and people have always wondered how it was possible to play tennis professionally with a constitution like that.

Most tennis fans were introduced to John Isner many years ago and they all heard his story of being a great NCAA tennis player. Few thought he could become a good player (he was, in fact) in the ATP, but with the limitations of a physique like his. Something like that beyond the service he would be portrayed and pigeonholed without much more history. One of a few with those characteristics. But John Isner was there and he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all. No one expected him to be the replacement for Sampras, Agassi or Roddick and in the end he was. Isner has been the last years, and he still is, the number one tennis player in the United States, with all the meaning that this has despite the context and the time. Isner is already thirty-four years old and recently, he achieved the greatest victory of his career the last time the Miami Open was played in Key Biscayne.

John Isner has always seemed to be destined for curious feats, such as winning the longest game in history. Always on the verge of sudden death, John has managed to weather it in such a way that she has always been fearsome in those last moments. And above all successful. A winner to the limit. A tightrope dominator. A virtuoso of the keel. That has remarkable merit, and if we go back to physicality even more so because John Isner never tires. One would think that a more or less constant pendulum movement, or a repeated low ball, could sooner rather than later break his resistance, but it has almost never turned out that way. Not at least as easily as one might think.

John Isner has a good forehand and a good backhand to win rallies against the best players. And he moves from side to side with better agility each season. He once took Nadal himself at Roland Garros to the fifth set and had his chances of victory. It would have been a greater chime than the imaginary doorbell of the imaginary house of his imaginary companion at the dance. John Isner, from Greensboro, North Carolina, had all the makings of a modest and efficient tennis official, but in the end, he became a modest and efficient little star who slowly squeezed his talent with an exemplary attitude. A pleasant attitude with that look and that minimal and familiar smile of sixteen candles. Hopefully, he wins something big before retiring from the sport.

Injuries, unexpected defeats or the inexorable passage of time. They are just some of the reasons through which the irregular state of form of John Isner can be explained, which promises strong emotions at the beginning of the year and ends up being diluted with the passage of time. Despite not having had a year to frame, the American player has become the fourth active player to reach more than ten years on the circuit inside the top 20, something he only shares with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

Only four active tennis players have managed to finish inside the top 20 in the last ten years. Speaking on this feat, John Isner said: “I am very proud of this fact. If you had told me at the beginning of my career, that I would make it to the top 20, I would have laughed. Imagine if you told me that he would achieve it for ten consecutive years. This is undoubtedly a symbol of consistency and the enormous work and dedication that goes into each training session”.

How has John Isner stayed among the tennis elite for so long?

This is what John Isner said on the matter: “I think the key to achieving this figure in the last ten years is that I have been able to stay very healthy. I am very proud of it and I think I have earned it. I have worked very hard to stay in top shape and I always try to change things in my game in order to continue improving, since tennis changes over time and we tennis players are forced to reinvent ourselves if we want to continue at the top of the ranking”.

What is John Isner’s view on managing his personal life with his professional career?

This is what John Isner said about maintaining a balance: “It has been a very exhausting year for me, since I have been very busy personally and professionally. This year I have been raising our daughter and we have learned the news that Maddy (wife of John Isner) is pregnant again. I’ve had to juggle my career with my life as a father and husband. As busy as I am, I wouldn’t trade this moment for the world.”

What were John Isner’s expectations from the ATP Cup?

John Isner was very upbeat about the tournament. He said: “I have no doubt that it will be a very interesting tournament. It is a completely new event and I think the vast majority of players are enthusiastic about the idea, in particular myself. Now I will rest for a few days in Dallas with my family and little by little I will get into the dynamics of training, with the aim of arriving in the best possible way at the beginning of the season. I want to arrive in Australia very well, since in recent years I have not had good results there. I am a tennis player who has a hard time getting into the rhythm at the beginning of the season and it’s something I have to finish polishing. I think playing the ATP Cup is going to help me without a doubt”.

What makes John Isner’s serve so powerful?

John Isner ‘s serve is one of the  most powerful weapons in the history of tennis. He averages over 16 aces per match. On top of that, a lot of his absolute first serve bombs end up being poorly returned as well. His incredible height of 2.08 metres is a key factor behind his incredible serving prowess but there are a lot of other things that go behind his amazing serve. Here are six key factors that make John Isner’s serve lethal:

Low ball toss

Isner is so far with his serve movement that he pulls his right, back leg to the front leg while he leads the ball up with his straight throwing arm. Whereby “ball throw” is almost the wrong expression: he places the ball where he wants to hit it later. At the same time, the right punching arm is still far down, the upward movement is just beginning. This delay is noticeable. As a result, Isner has to quickly unwind his knock-down phase. Result: incredible power.

More bounce because of bent knees

Both feet are close together and Isner bends his knees surprisingly deep. This shows that in this phase he gathers jumping power in order to later push himself off the ground with both legs. So Isner doesn’t just rely on his imposing height. He wants to get the most out of his serve by shifting the eventual impact as high as possible. In the meantime, the ball has reached its highest point, and the racket now lets Isner hit his back.

A better hitting point creates a sharper angle

The energy is discharged and Isner catapults himself upwards. Feet, legs, upper body: everything is fully stretched. The left arm shoots down – as a counter-movement to the ascending body – Isner now lets the bat fall in his back. The hip and right shoulder, which he had previously turned slightly, rotate back. Isner’s jump also goes forward (slight “diagonal position” in the photo). This serves to head for an even better meeting point for his hammer service.

Flat serves are produced by a forward shift

Still hovering above the ground, Isner’s upper body noticeably falls forward in front of the point of impact. That’s not optimal, hitting the ball in full extension would be better. But Isner has an advantage by shifting to the front: Due to the height of the meeting point, he can now serve flat and straight more easily. For comparison: Isner hits his projectiles at heights of well over three meters. Average professionals (1.85 m tall) come to a “launch height” of about 2.80 meters.

Extra power through natural pronation

In the swing-out phase, it becomes clear how strong the “pronation” (i.e. the rotation of the wrist and forearm) is in the American. Watch his palm. It faces outwards. Pronation occurs naturally when the hitting arm is swinging freely and not cramping. It gives the ball extra power on the way. Many club players underestimate the effect and break off the swing too early. As a result, the last traction is lost.

Great balance on the right leg

Isner’s projectile is long on its way when he lands on his left leg and balances himself by stretching his right leg far back. The opponent now receives serves that are difficult for any professional to return. Because: Due to his size and technique, Isner can target areas in the T-field that “normal” players could never hit. In addition, the bounce of his serves (especially the kick!) is extremely high. All that extra muscle and bodyweight behind the serve also helps with the incredible power.

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