The top-ranked American John Isner had a stellar 2018 season, winning his first Masters 1000 crown in Miami and losing that epic Wimbledon semi-final clash against Kevin Anderson that went straight to the history books. Thanks to some withdrawals, John had the opportunity to make a debut at the ATP Finals in London for the first time at the age of 33 although he already ran out of gas, winning two of the last seven matches of the season and setting eyes on 2019.
The start of the new campaign was not that good, though, playing six tie breaks in Auckland and Melbourne in losses to the young compatriots Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka, heading to New York as the top seed and winning two matches before suffering another defeat to Opelka in the semis.
Reilly prevailed 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 after fending off six match points in the second set tie break and John will now move to the south, accepting Delray Beach wild card to stand as the second seed behind Juan Martin del Potro.
In an interview for the USOpen.org in New York, John spoke about his 2018 season, fatherhood, New York Open, playing on a high level after turning 30 and goals for 2019: "I really enjoy being in New York, it’s absolutely beautiful here on Long Island.
This arena is amazing, as well. For me, I relish playing tournaments in America and now here we are in New York, this is the second year of the tournament, so obviously I love it. Of course, it’s a bit different than the US Open, we’re not in the city, we’re here on beautiful Long Island, but for me, I really enjoy it.
I always played my best in the States, and this is unfortunately probably three or four years in a row that I’ve started the year off pretty poorly down in Australia. I can’t really put my finger as to why, but I didn’t have a great start last year, but I definitely ended the year pretty well and finished inside the top-10, which was nice.
So, yeah, look, the only thing I can do is what I can control, and that’s practice hard and work out hard away from tournaments. That’s what I’ve been doing since the Australian Open, so I’m definitely very, very eager to get back out on the match court.
Last year was a good year, really, even though, in my opinion, I only had four good tournaments, but that’s sometimes what it takes to get your ranking pretty high. Of course, I played well in Miami, I played well in Wimbledon, US Open and Atlanta.
I would have liked to have been more consistent last year. That’s something I’m working on. Now that I’ve finished inside the top-10, even though I’m 33, and turning 34 in April, I still physically feel great.
I’m healthy. I’m right now as healthy as I’ve ever been. Nothing’s bothering me, which has been good. I think that’s a testament to working hard off the court and doing all the right things off the court.
There’s a very good chance I’m going to lose some points from Miami unless I win it again, so there’s no pressure of defending the points. I think when I was younger, I would have felt pressure with that, but I’ve done a lot of good things, and your ranking is going to fluctuate a lot.
Even Novak Djokovic’s ranking fluctuated. So it happens to everyone, and it’ll happen to me certainly this year, as well. That’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve experienced ever, being a father. It’s the greatest thing to happen to my life and my wife’s life.
I do take inspiration from the fact many players are able to play great tennis after turning 30. I think especially Roger Federer, who is now 37. So seeing him doing what he’s doing at 37 is remarkable. I think someone told me in the top-10 in the world, seven of us are in our 30s, something crazy like that.
It’s a pretty remarkable stat in tennis. In the last five or six years, it’s sort of gone that route. You can play for a long time, and guys are maturing much later, and I think I’m one of those, as well."