Isner: ‘I Would Have Laughed In Your Face’
There are only four players inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings who have finished each of the past 10 years inside the Top 20. The first three are the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The fourth: American John Isner, who ends 2019 at World No. 19 even after missing three months due to a broken foot.
“I’m very proud of that. That’s something that if you would have told me that when I first turned pro I would have laughed in your face. I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me I’d finish in the Top 20 just one year,” Isner told ATPTour.com. “But the fact that I’ve now done it 10 years in a row certainly speaks to a high level of consistency and it just takes a lot of time and dedication.”
Isner first cracked the Top 20 on 1 March 2010, and he has not dropped from the Top 25 since August 2011.
“I think the most important part throughout those 10 years is I’ve been able to stay very healthy. That’s probably one of the main reasons I’ve been able to stay in the Top 20 for so long,” Isner said. “I’m definitely proud of it. I think I have earned it. I’ve worked very hard to keep myself in tip-top shape and always try to reinvent my game a little bit and just try to stay ahead of the curve as much as I possibly can. To be able to do that at a nice even number like 10 years in a row is definitely something I can hang my hat on.”
It’s been an adventurous year for the 34-year-old. On 15 September 2018, his first child, Hunter Grace, was born. Isner made his second consecutive Miami Open presented by Itau final this March, but broke his left foot in the championship match against Roger Federer. After missing three months, Isner returned and won his 15th ATP Tour title in Newport.
He also found out that his wife was expecting a second child, and John Hobbs was born on 20 October. Isner then guaranteed his year-end Top 20 streak would move to 10 straight seasons.
“It has been a wild year. It’s been very busy. This year raising our daughter, finding out that Maddy was pregnant again. And of course trying to juggle my tennis career in between all of that as well. It has been very busy, there’s no doubt about that, but I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Isner said. “Busy is definitely a good thing, and I think both myself, and my team and especially my wife have handled it extremely well. We’re so blessed to have this great family right now and now the focus is on maybe my wife not being pregnant for a little bit, raising our two little kids and me finding some time to practise in between all of that as well.”
Isner will begin his 2020 season at the inaugural ATP Cup, leading Team United States in Group D, which will be contested in Perth.
“It’s very interesting. This is of course a brand new event and one that I think a lot of players are excited about, myself in particular. I think I’m going to have a nice little off-season, spending a lot of my time in Dallas, being able to focus on my family, but also focus on myself and keeping myself in good shape, and trying to stay sharp on the tennis side of things as well,” Isner said. “I’m looking forward to that event and I think it’s a very good thing. It’s guaranteed matches. The past three, four years I’ve sort of stumbled in Australia. It sort of takes me a long time to get going and feel good about my game, so I’m very much looking forward to the ATP Cup.”
Did You Know?
Despite missing three months, Isner still earned 30 wins for the 10th straight year.