FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – John Isner has a message for everyone:
Even without Andy Roddick, American Tennis will be fine.
“I’m the highest‑ranked American,” Isner said. “He’s going to retire. He’s not going to be a threat to me there either.
“It is what it is. I want to be the No. 1 American for a long time, but it doesn’t put any extra pressure on me. I feel like we have a good group of guys still around: Mardy, Sam, myself. There’s a bunch of guys, Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock, that are up‑and‑coming.
“American tennis is in pretty decent shape, in my opinion.”
And Isner is in pretty good shape after the No. 9 seed beat Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3 6-7 6-4 6-3 to advance to the third round of the US Open.
“Yeah, the third set was a little tricky,” he said. “I was down two or three breakpoints I know in that third set. Something clicked at 5‑4 me, 40‑15 him serving. I reeled off four straight points. It hit four great forehands and won that set and had the momentum from there.
“Got one more break in the fourth set and held on with my serve. It could have been easier, but, yeah, I was happy with how I overcame that second set, a set I arguably could have won.”
And that’s the difference between Isner now and in the past. He is able to handle the adversity, which is why many think he has a chance to make some noise here at the Open.
It’s not going to be easy, but Isner is displaying a certain confidence during matches and seems to be working on staying on an even keel.
“It’s something I need to work on,” Isner said. “I need to try not to get too high and try not to get too low. Certainly in today’s match there were some low points and it affected me a little bit. But the thing is, if I am being a little negative, if my body language is a little negative, I always have my serve to rely on to at least keep me in the match.
“That’s what happened in that third set. I was a little ticked off not winning the second set, but I was holding serve.
“Things eventually started rolling my way.”
He hopes to keep rolling in the third against No 19 seed Phillipp Kohlschreiber or Benoit Paire, both of whom, Isner holds a good record.
“If I play Kohlschreiber, I’ve played him a few times. I’ve played Paire once. I’ve won those matches,” he said. “I’ll take the court very confident. No matter who I’m playing, I’m going to take the court very confident. I know if I play Kohlschreiber or Paire, I know it’s going to be a tough match.
“You don’t get to this stage of a Grand Slam tournament ‑‑ you know, the matches are always tough, so I’m going to have to really just go out there in my next match and just do what I’ve been doing, and that’s serve well and try to take my chances when I get them.”