2012 Wimbledon Preview: John Isner
Call him the guy that nobody in his right mind wants to play at Wimbledon, even though it’s been by far the most frustrating Grand Slam tournament on John Isner’s dance card. But there’s good reason to believe that Isner could create another sensation in London without going 70- 68 in the fifth. Isner was ranked No. 47 at Wimbledon last year; now he’s in the Top 10. It’s counterintuitive, but a lot of the confidence he’s gained has been because of his performances on clay. He was a finalist at Houston and had resonant Davis Cup wins over Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon. But the 6-foot-9 North Carolina native has beaten only one player in his three visits to Wimbledon: Nicolas Mahut. He’s been snakebit at Wimbledon so far, but he’s bound to have a breakout tournament one of these years.
Why He’ll Win:
Isner is capable of serving his way to the title. As long as he takes care of his serve, all he needs to do to win on grass is make the most of his scant break opportunities and play tight tiebreakers.
Why He Won’t:
Service return is not a strength of Isner’s, and returning is trickier on grass than clay or hard courts. If Isner can’t break, he’ll feel more pressure when he serves and rely on a roll of the die in tiebreakers.
If he gets a little momentum going through two or three rounds he might suddenly catch fire, which would strike terror into the heart of every subsequent man he faces.