Sorting by


John Isner’s retirement day like no other – tie-breaks, tears on court, then doubles at the US Open 2023

FLUSHING MEADOWS — One of the greatest servers the game has ever known retired from tennis on Thursday, with John Isner delivering a tearful on-court interview following his singles defeat before losing in the doubles with fellow retiree Jack Sock at the US Open.

It was a retirement day like no other for Isner, the former world No 8 who announced this would be his final tournament last week.

The 38-year-old, who has won 16 singles and eight doubles titles, lost to fellow American Michael Mmoh 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 on Grandstand.

Known for going the distance in sets given his 6ft 10ins frame – breaking him was never easy, but similarly he struggled on his opponents’ serves – Isner’s singles career ended, typically, with a tie-break, and after his defeat he struggled to find the words when asked about his impending retirement.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” a tearful Isner said as the spectators watching on applauded. “You know, I like to think I work as hard as I can.”

Isner choked up but was again spurred on by the crowd, adding: “This is why I have worked as hard as I have my whole life, you know, playing atmospheres like this.

“Of course I may not win them all, as we know, just like today, but playing in front of this crowd and to have the support I had it’s pretty special, so thank you.”

Isner had little time to unwind, however, as he was soon out on Court 12 playing in the men’s doubles with compatriot Jack Sock, who is also retiring after this tournament.

The duo fought back to force a decider against Albano Olivetti and Robert Galloway but – again fittingly – lost the final-set tie-break 10-3.

Isner is perhaps best remembered for winning the longest match in history, the 2010 Wimbledon epic against Nicolas Mahut that stretched across three days, lasted 11 hours and five minutes on Court 18, and ended with a 70-68 final set.

But Isner will also go down as an ace machine, racking up 14,470 throughout his career and breaking the all-time ATP record at Wimbledon last year.

“Whenever I’ve been asked about it, I believe he has the best serve in the history of the game,” Andy Murray, who enjoyed an 8-1 record against Isner, said earlier this week.

“Amazing technique. First and second serves, could do everything with it. Just unique, him and [Ivo] Karlovic were obviously similar in height, both of them had amazing serves, but completely different games the rest of the time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: John Isner of USA (L) poses after winning on the third day of his first round match against Nicolas Mahut of France (C) with Chair Umpire Mohamed Lahyani on Day Four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 24, 2010 in London, England. The match is the longest in Grand Slam history. (Photo by Alastair Grant-Pool/Getty Images)
Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 back in 2010 (Photo: Getty)

“John obviously played predominantly from the back of the court. Karlovic was serve-volleying on everything. He was always a disaster to play against or see in your draw.

“I played well against him a lot of the time. He’s someone you never enjoyed playing. But for me in terms of his game, that’s what I would remember the most about, the best serve ever to played.

“I’ve had the discussion with lots of people from previous eras and whatnot. Some people may disagree with that, but I believe his serve’s the best of all time. I think the stats show that, as well.”

Isner is a one-time grand slam semi-finalist, at Wimbledon 2018, and twice reached the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2011 and 2018.

He can count himself a Masters 1000 champion, winning Miami in 2018, and spoke of his pride at overachieving since turning pro in 2007.

“Being the top American, I don’t know how many years it was, just maintaining my ranking for a very long time, is something I’m very proud of,” Isner said before the US Open. “I took great pride in the preparation it took day in, day out, year after year after year. I really truly enjoyed that.

“I think I’ve overachieved. I never imagined myself having this much success for this long… Of course, there’s so many matches I wish I could have back, but I prepared in my mind as best as I possibly could for 17 years. I don’t have many regrets, that’s for sure.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button