Returning to tour as a new father, John Isner says he's more relaxed on the court.
Isner, 33, is playing at the ATP Tour Finals for the first time in his career, with his daughter, Hunter, born two months ago. He joins fellow countrymen Jack Sock, James Blake and Andy Roddick as players who have previously qualified for the season showstopper.
"Tennis is far from my No. 1 job right now," said Isner, speaking to TennisTV. "All my friends that have had babies, especially my tennis-playing friends—I'm talking James, Andy, Mardy Fish—these guys have all told me tennis takes a backseat.
"It doesn't mean I'm not working as hard. It just means my day is just a little bit busier."
The No. 10 got into the ATP Tour Finals when Rafael Nadal withdrew from the event with injury, but also by having a career season that included his first Masters title at Miami and a first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, lifting him to No. 8 in the rankings. The off-court satisfaction has helped, according to Isner, and now there is more of it.
"First thing in the morning, my focus is on her. I think the most important thing that does, it helps you relax on the court, and when I've played best, I'm relaxed on the court," said Isner, who has brought his wife and daughter with him to the tournament. "Having something like this to come home to, helps you calm down on court."
Isner, who dropped his opening round robin to top-ranked Novak Djokovic, is the field's lowest-ranked player.
This Week on Tennis Channel:
ATP Finals (Sun - Sun 11.11 - 11.18) - Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and the world's best collide in the season Finale. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Sunday at 7:00am EST.