FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY- Although John Isner is keeping a watchful eye on the other matchups today after his second round win over fellow American Robbie Ginepri, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, his biggest concern is tomorrow’s big game.
It’s when his beloved Georgia Bulldogs take on Boise State.
“I’m just getting mentally prepared for that,” he said. “I don’t watch too much tennis.”
He doesn’t need to keep watching after his strong performance on Armstrong today. The Georgia native has been on top of his game this year. This win will be his seventh in a row and that follows one that was what he thinks is an “eight or nine match” winning streak.
He took the Hall of Fame Tournament in Newport back in July and won in Winston Salem, just a few weeks ago to start his winning streak.
And what’s the secret of his recent success?
Why confidence, of course.
“It’s as high as it’s ever been,” he said. “You know, I don’t like to think too much about it, but, you know, I have won seven matches in a row now, and earlier this summer I won, I think, eight or nine matches in a row: won Newport, made the finals of Atlanta.
“I’m just winning it a lot of matches and I’m very, very confident and I feel good. I feel like I’m, you know, moving very well, you know, especially for myself. I’m getting to balls and able to get a lot more balls back in play because I’m very comfortable out there.”
This is a different from the Isner we all have seen earlier this year, where he lost in French Open in the first round and Wimbledon in the second. He also had a disappointing loss in Chile during the Davis Cup.
“That was probably one of the biggest down points of my year so far, going down there and just not playing well and not really able to contribute to the team,” he said. “You know, I lost to a guy ranked pretty low in Davis Cup, and I just ‑‑ it all started once I got back to the States and started playing tournaments stateside. Very comfortable over here. It’s just, you know, once I won a few matches in a row ‑‑ at Newport I started ‑‑ you know, I knew my game was going in the right direction, because the first five months of the year frankly it was a disappointment.”
But the 26 year-old is now back and ready to continue on at the Open. Fortunately he has a the fifth set tie break here and there will be no repeat of his match last year at Wimbledon when he won a fifth set over Nicholas Mahut, 70-68, in a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
“Every slam is different,” he said. “To me, to be honest, I like the tiebreaker, because if it goes to a fifth set and it happens to go down to a tiebreaker I like my chances, especially with my serve. You know, I beat Andy a couple years ago in a fifth set tiebreaker. You know, I do like the system now.
“But, you know, I don’t think anything should change as far as the other tournaments go. It’s just how the US Open does it.”
But that didn’t happen today – maybe later in the tournament. Right now, though, it doesn’t seem like he cares because his Bulldogs will take conter statge for him tomorrow.
And who is going to win?
“I’m partial to Georgia,” Isner predicted. “I think they’re virtually playing ‑‑ you know, they’re in their backyard playing in the Georgia Dome. They’ll have the crowd support and it’s gonna be ‑‑ it’s a huge game to start the season, for sure.”
Spoken like a true Georgia alumni.