John Isner realizes the importance of finding rest throughout the year

by: Matt Cronin | August 07, 2018

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WATCH—Match point from Isner's marathon loss to Anderson at Wimbledon:

John Isner and his wife, Madison, are expecting their first child next month, with the due date just two weeks following the US Open.

"So you never know," Isner told press at the Rogers Cup, having previously said he will leave mid-tournament if the baby arrives. 

He definitely plans to take a break following the event, but suggested that fatherhood could help his game. 

"I won't be going to Asia. I'm going to be there for my wife and my newborn daughter," he said. "But I think after that, I'm going to finish the year, and then my schedule should be normal.

"But I'm excited. It's a new challenge. I think it could be an actual boon for my tennis game. And I think just the fact that we've been—Maddie and I have been sharing this journey together for the last seven, eight months, I think it's helping me play more relaxed and be more calm."

The No. 9 just reached the semifinal at Wimbledon, falling 26-24 in the fifth set against Kevin Anderson, and then won his next tournament at Atlanta, even though he almost didn't play.



"But I'm certainly glad I went because that's a place that I have so many good feelings from. I've won a lot of matches there," said Isner, a five-time champion at the event. "And I went into there, that tournament, really hadn't hit a ball since Wimbledon, and I actually managed to play pretty well.

"So I think winning a tournament, even though it's not quite as big of an event as Wimbledon, it does help things and helped me forget about that match a little bit more. So I haven't thought about it in quite some time, and I'm focused on, you know, this time of the year, which I really enjoy."

Still, he is being more selective about his schedule.

“I don't plan on playing the week before the US Open," said Isner. "Truth be told, I don't think I was in good enough shape to play last week in D.C. because I sort of labored through Atlanta as well, but I was still able to win the tournament.

“You want to be in peak physical shape and mental shape coming into these two events and then, of course, the US Open. So there's definitely something to be said about being rested. For me, I'm going full bore here in Toronto, and Cincinnati. I'm not playing doubles this year. 

"I'm a little bit more tired than I would like to be, but I do have a bye here in singles, which does help. And when you get into a big event like this, you can maybe feel tired, but I'll have a lot of adrenaline. 

"It's very important to be rested. I chose not to play the warm-up tournament for Wimbledon, and just stayed back home for 11, 12 more days, and I think that ended up being a good decision. Especially when you get older like I am, it's about not playing so many tournaments but being well-rested for the tournaments that you do play.”

He's among several older players at the top of the game—thirty somethings Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the three majors played so far this year—and says he is learning from Federer, who is older than him. 

“Roger, I think he's the one that a lot of the players look up to. And to see him do so well, at 36, again he's so talented, and he's the greatest player we've ever had,” Isner said. “But to see him play so incredibly well, at 35 and 36, is, I think, a huge confidence booster for me. 

"Also seeing how he's gone about it. He's given himself a lot of time to rest and recover. It's very important to be rested as you get older. You cannot just play tournament after tournament like maybe I did when I was 23, 24 years old. So it's very encouraging. 

"Guys like Rafa. You have Kevin Anderson doing very well.

"And to me it makes sense that players are playing very well, in their 30s. If you take care of yourself, you should hold up physically. And as you gain years on the tour, you should become a lot more mature and a lot wiser."


ATP Toronto
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.

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