When John Isner takes to the court at the ASB Classic in Auckland on Monday, he will begin his 17th season on the ATP Tour.
The American No. 6′ 10 has had a long career, reaching a career-high of No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings and achieving 16 titles at the tour level. Last season, the world number 41 wrote himself into the history books when he broke the ATP World Originality Record, hitting an ace of 13.729 against Yannick Sinner at Wimbledon.
However, at the age of 37, he wasn’t ready to stop just yet.
“I still feel good,” Isner told ATPTour.com. “I know I’m at the end of my career and a lot of guys my age aren’t playing anymore, so I think I’m very lucky that I’m still playing. I think I’m the oldest player in the top 100, which is actually something I’m very proud of.
“I still love to compete, it keeps me going. I’d be lying to you if I told you I love all the work that goes in. Sometimes practice can get pretty monotonous, but I love training and off the field I’m just trying to put myself in a good position to compete with smaller players.” So much from me. You can’t play tennis forever, so I want to make this last as long as possible. I’m poised to achieve some really great things this year.”
Fans have grown accustomed to Isner’s trademark “Big Man” tennis over the years, as the world No. 41 crushed forehands and fired aces.
Off the court, Isner plays the role of father and husband, devoting his attention to his three children and wife Madison, all of whom travel with him on tour. For Isner, their continued support is a major reason he enjoys the competition.
“When I came to perform Swing at Down Under last year, they weren’t with me,” said Isner. “We still had some restrictions and it was hard for them to come. I was in Australia for three and a half weeks and found myself not really happy. I was missing them. I said to myself if things clear up they would fly with me and that’s why they are here now. It was a direct flight from my home airport The kids were sleeping and watching some movies and now we are here and having fun.
“I really enjoy having them here. It makes the losses easier because it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Ten years ago, when I was 27 and without a family and without a wife, the losses would have been more damaging.”
With a fourth child on the way, Isner is preparing for more change in the spring, something he’s already faced on the court. The 37-year-old recently teamed up with American coach Philip Farmer. It’s a partnership Isner is excited to develop further in the coming months.
“Now I’m working with Philip Farmer. He lives in Dallas, so it worked out. He’s also the coach of Austin Krajesek and Hans Hatch Verdugo, who I play with sometimes. We all live in Dallas, we all train together, so we have a relationship,” Isner said. A good little one when we all train at home.”
“I’ve known him for a long time and I’m really happy to have him with me. Phil is a great guy. The workouts were great, really focused, and I usually go an hour and a half, maybe two hours and just try to get a lot of work done. I’m really enjoying him so far.”
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Isner is hoping his practical court work will pay off this week in Oakland, where he has had previous success. The sixth seed, who lifted the trophy at the ATP 250 Championship in 2010 and 2014, is excited to be back in town for the first time since reaching the semi-finals in 2020.
“I enjoy the city a lot,” said Eisner. “I’ve played here a bunch. My first title win here was in 2010 and then I won it again in 2014. I have great memories in Auckland and I enjoy the city. It’s so beautiful. The food is great and you don’t feel so close to Melbourne. It feels like Have a nice week before it gets busy.”
If Isner can perform again in Auckland, he will move closer to his goal of earning 500 wins at the tour level.
“I hope to get 500,” said Isner, who holds 480 victories at the Tour level. “I’ve never set performance goals for myself. I’ve always had a motto of working hard, looking after myself and letting the results fall where they fall. But I’d like to get 500 wins. I think that would be a great milestone for myself. Something I could never have imagined in a million years when I became a pro.” At 22 years old.”