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John Isner Fourth Round Press Conference

Indian Wells, CA, USA

March 17, 2010

R. NADAL/J. Isner
 
7-5, 3-6, 6-3
 
An interview with:
 
JOHN ISNER
 
 THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 Q.  Your expectations not having played him before, was it the same as you thought, like you thought it was going to be playing against Rafa?
 JOHN ISNER:  Actually, kind of exceeded it, to be honest with you, which is    I never played him, never hit with him or practiced with him.  His ball has some junk on it, which is, you know, tough to handle.
 I felt like I played pretty well.  I might have run out of gas in the third set, but that's what he does.  He makes you work so hard for every point.  He played better today.

 Q.  How would you play him next time?  Would you adopt any different strategy?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, maybe I'd, you know, serve and volley a little bit more, because he was kind of just getting away with just hitting a high heavy ball back.
 Maybe if I can serve and volley and cut that off, make him come up with a good pass, um, I'd do that, especially on my serve.

 Q.  Did you feel this court was too slow to do that?
 JOHN ISNER:  No.  Of course, the ball gets up high, so it, you know, gives me time to get into the net, too.

 Q.  How was it just to deal with him off the ground in general?
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, that's tough.  You know, when he hits his serves, you know, he's not going to ace you a bunch, but you can't really do much off his serve.
 From the baseline he's the best in the world, so that's hard.  I'm never going to beat him from the baseline in a match like that.
 So, I mean next time I play him, I'm just gonna mess with a few things and see if it's gonna get a different result.

 Q.  Could you read him at all off the ground, or did it take you a while to figure out what some of his patterns were?
 JOHN ISNER:  No, I was figuring he kind of goes crosscourt a bunch of the time.  He sees an opening, he can pull it up the line.  He did that.
 I don't know, he didn't catch me too off guard, I don't think.

 Q.  He returns well; he's been serving well.  How do you feel like you served today?
 JOHN ISNER:  Served well the first two sets; the third set I served horrible.  I didn't make a lot of serves.  And against a guy like him, you can't do that.  So that's what cost me the match.
 I mean, not to say I would have won anyways, but it would have been nice to kind of, you know, kind of keep on serve in that third set and anything can happen.
 I just didn't make enough first serves and he made me pay.  That's why he's Rafael Nadal.

 Q.  So how does this fit into the chain of recent experiences, Davis Cup and winning your first title and all the things you've been going through the last couple of months?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I never played him before.  I always wanted to play him, so it's good, you know, to get that over with.
 You know, I'm right there, really.  You know, I lost in three sets to him, you know.  I change a couple things here and there, maybe I can win that match.
 Bu, um, I'm right there.  I know I'm improving, and I feel like I'm    you know, I'm gobbling up ground on these guys little by little.  So hopefully, in time, I can maybe just keep getting closer.

 Q.  It was pretty hot out there.  How did you feel in the third set?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I felt -- I was a little tired, but I don't know if it was necessarily the weather today.  I've played a lot of tennis lately.  My serve just went away in the third.
 It was more the sun was just beating down on me.  Couldn't get away from it.  Couldn't find any shade out there.  That was rough.

 Q.  When you talk about gobbling, now you're top 20, the mountain gets a little different at that stage.  How do you think about that, you know, how to play those guys like Murray in Australia and Djokovic and Nadal?
 JOHN ISNER:  Well, experience helps once you've    I've never played any of those guys before, and now I've played them, Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal, all within, I don't know, two months of each other.
 So experience helps a lot.  I know my coach knows what to do if I, you know, were to play these guys again.  He knows what to tell me.
 So I think next time I play these guys, I can give them a better match.

 Q.  Coming to net against him, how quick is he at picking up some of those volleys?  I guess you really have to stick it, or he's right there.
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, you have to almost hit a perfect volley.  Even that that said, he passes so well I probably should have come to the net more.
 That was something I just, you know, I wasn't maybe thinking too clearly out there.  I was hitting my forehand well and I was kind of content just trying to outforehand him, which sometimes I was.
 But I should have made the points shorter.  And even though he probably passes better than anybody in the world, I should make him come up with those more often.

 Q.  You're doing awfully well right now.  Do you think what the difference would have been, say, you'd gone on the tour at 19 or 20 or not gone to college?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I wouldn't be here, I don't think.  I just wasn't mature enough.  I've always been kind of a late bloomer at everything, you know.  Juniors I really wasn't that good, and so I had to go to college, and then I got better my junior and senior year in college, and now I keep getting better.
 I still feel like I can be playing my best tennis at 28.  I'm 24 right now.  No, I mean, I think I definitely made the right choice.

 Q.  When you were 18, if somebody told you you'd be where you are now or where you were at 20, would it have been...
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, if somebody would have told me that my junior year in college I wouldn't have believed it.  But it's reassuring to know that I can play at this level.  You know, I have that self belief now.  I mean, I wouldn't -- really didn't think this was possible five years ago.

 Q.  Are you gonna put a lot of time in on the clay, or are you thinking keep it fairly limited because your better chances will come at Wimbledon?
 JOHN ISNER:  No, the clay court season is kind of tricky because you have to play the Masters Series events, and they're like spread out.  There's only a week in between them, so you kind of got to stay over there.
 As of right now, I have a pretty healthy clay court schedule.  So assuming I stay healthy, I think I'm gonna play like six tournaments, and that's including the French    or five tournaments.

 Q.  Houston, Rome, Madrid?  What else?
 JOHN ISNER:  Rome, and then there's a week in between I will play Belgrade.  Then Madrid, and then there's like a team event in Germany.

 Q.  ARAG Cup?
 JOHN ISNER:  That thing, yeah.

 Q.  Looking for another shot at Novak on clay?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I just want -- I liked it over there, so I decided to go back.  Sam and I    I mean, Sam Querrey and I are kind of mirroring.  We're doing the same schedule because we're gonna play doubles, so we will have the same schedule the whole rest of the year.

 Q.  Are you gonna play doubles at all those clay events?
 JOHN ISNER:  Yeah.

 Q.  And the Slam events?
 JOHN ISNER:  Uh huh.  So everything he does I'm gonna do, and vice versa.

 Q.  Did Novak ask you guys to come over and play?  Is that how it happened?
 JOHN ISNER:  No, uh uh.         

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