John Isner, the ATP's top-ranked American, lost to rising countryman Sebastian Korda on Monday in the Delray Beach quarterfinals, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. As it turns out, the ATP 250 event will be Isner’s last appearance for an extended period, as the world No. 25 announced he would not be heading to Australia for February’s swing of events.
“At this stage in my career and in my life, I’ve always had visions of being able to travel with my family. And of course, that wouldn’t be the case for Australia this year. Understandably so, I get it,” Isner said in his virtual press conference. “It really was just a situation where I didn’t want to be away from my family for that long. So, I’ve decided to stay home.”
Isner also lost to the 20-year-old in his final tournament of 2020 (Roland Garros in late September), and he couldn’t comment on where he would play next. After the Australian Open wraps up on February 21, the current ATP calendar offers up two routes for tour-level players: indoor hard in Europe or outdoor clay throughout South America.
“There’s not much to play, right? The whole tour’s going to be in Australia for five weeks when the Australian Open ends,” the 35-year-old said. “I have a super long break right now, that’s for sure. I made this decision last night. It wasn’t an easy decision at all. I thought long and hard about it. But I feel comfortable with my decision right now and looking forward to getting home.”
Acapulco, which begins March 15, is a potential place for Isner to resume his season, though Miami is scheduled to begin the following week. Isner won his biggest title to date in Miami three years ago when the ATP Masters 1000 event closed out its run at Crandon Park. When the event shifted to Hard Rock Stadium a year later, Isner finished runner-up to Roger Federer, but suffered a stress fracture in his left foot that would sideline him until Wimbledon.
At the time, the injury layoff offered a silver lining for Isner, who was able to spend extra time with daughter Hunter Grace—born in September 2018. He and wife Madison welcomed their second child, a son named John Hobbs, in October 2019.
Isner's points from his 2019 Miami final run are due to come off this year after remaining in 2020 due to the ATP amending its ranking structure in response to the uncertain COVID-19 pandemic.