Despite a very poor start of the year, the American John Isner had managed to turn 2018 season into the best one of his career, winning the maiden Masters 1000 crown in Miami and reaching the semi-final at Wimbledon where he lost an epic clash against Kevin Anderson that lasted six hours and 36 minutes.
After conquering his fifth Atlanta crown, John played in the quarter-final of the US Open and he secured the place at the ATP Finals for the first time in his career at the age of 33! As usual, the world no. 10 will kick off the new season in Auckland, making his eighth trip to New Zealand where he reached the quarter-final as a qualifier in 2009 and won the first ATP title in 2010.
After the second crown in 2014, John has managed to win just two matches in Auckland in the last three years and he is eager to change that next week and make the best possible start of the season at the event where he is the top seed and the only player from the top-10.
On Sunday, John had a chance to go and watch New Zealand Breakers defeating Perth Wildcats in Australian National Basketball League and he said once again he belongs more to the basketball court rather than the tennis one.
He would have had a chance to practice a little bit with the Breakers but he came too late but he still managed to have a great time before leaving at halftime. John also reflected on the first title he won in Auckland nine years ago, saying he will always remember that special moment just like other players cherish their first success on the Tour.
The American mentioned the ATP Finals and his first appearance there as well as that Wimbledon marathon against Anderson that pretty much forced the organizers to finally change the rules and implement a tie break t 12-12 in the deciding set.
Recently, the Australian Open has announced the super tie break at 6-6 in the deciding set from 2019 and John honestly said he knew nothing about the change until he read on the social media. "I fit in better on a basketball court than I do around a tennis tournament," Isner said.
"Basketball was one of my first loves, I did have to give it up eventually, but it's cool being back here, to watch the Breakers. This was the site of my first ever ATP tournament win and everyone remembers their first tournament win.
Ask Roger Federer, he'll tell you exactly where he won his first tournament. For me, it was Auckland in 2010 and ever since then I've found myself coming back. I had a very good year. I didn't have a great start to the year, so that's something that I've focused on, to start the year better.
I didn't win my match here last year and I lost in the first round of the Australian Open as well. So it's a very good opportunity for me to make amends in 2019 and try to start the year better, but with that being said, we know how the beginning of the year is and how good everyone is, especially at this tournament.
Playing at the ATP Finals is a very different animal. You're up against the best seven players in the world and I was in a group with some fantastic players. I wasn't able to win, but it's really not that surprising.
I'd love to get back there, I think I can, even at 33 right now. It's something everyone sets their sights on and I'm no different. With Wimbledon, I've said in the past that I was in favor of a rule change and they might name that rule after me! Having it at 12-12 is a very good compromise and the Aussie Open has decided to change course as well.
I wasn't consulted about that, I found out like everyone found out, it seems like it was a week ago on social media. It will come into play at some point this year at the Australian Open, we'll see if it comes in play in one of my matches."