Isner on five-setters: ‘Huge gorilla on my back’
After admitting that his five-set record (4-10) is atrocious, John Isner tries to explain where his confidence has gone. Isner lost in five sets to Thomaz Bellucci in the fourth rubber of the United States’ 3-2 victory over Brazil in Davis Cup. Isner has now lost six five-setters in row, including four during last year's Grand Slam tournaments.
“Confidence-wise I'm not even close to where I want to be,” Isner said told reporters. “I don't think it's really a game issue. I'm starting to get better after all the time off I had [due to knee trouble]. My confidence sort of comes and goes very quickly. I think a lot of that out there today was between the ears. For the most part I consider myself a mentally strong player. But I just wasn't able to free myself up to go for the right shots at the big points.”
While Isner has won significant five-setters in has career, including over Andy Roddick at the 2009 U.S. Open, over Nicolas Mahut at 2010 Wimbledon (the longest match in tennis history), and over David Nalbandian at the 2012 Australian Open, the American admitted that once he gets into a fifth set, he starts thinking about his poor record.
“Just got to break through in a big moment, whether it's a Davis Cup match, whether it's a Grand Slam,” he said. “It's something I haven't done. It feels like it's a huge gorilla on my back or something. It's wearing on me a bit, to be honest, mentally. It's very disappointing. It's something I have to improve.
Captain Jim Courier added: “Confidence comes from working on the practice court and translating that onto the match court. Talking about it is not going to change anything. He has to go through the process.”