Isner: I’ve always been a late bloomer


Originally published on: 19/03/12 10:40

When John Isner became a regular on the ATP tour after graduating from the University of Georgia five years ago he had limited expectations. “Leaving college, I never thought I would be in the top 10,” he said. “I’ve just kept on surprising myself after each year.”
Today, however, Isner broke into the world’s top 10 following his run at the Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. Isner became only the second player this year to beat Novak Djokovic, the world No.1, before losing yesterday to Roger Federer in the 26-year-old American’s first appearance in a Masters 1000 final.
Isner believes he made the right move in delaying his full-time professional career. “I think it made me more well‑rounded,” he said.  “On top of that, I believe that going to college for four years took a little bit of pressure off me. Because I’ve been to college for four years, I can always fall back on that degree. When I was 22 and I decided to go play pro, I didn’t try to put too much pressure on myself. I knew I wanted to go out there and give it my best shot. I definitely have exceeded my expectations.”
He added: “After a certain point ‑ I think when I reached the top 50 in the world ‑ that’s actually when I actually did believe I could crack the top 10. But I’ve just kept on improving. I’ve always been a late bloomer. I was a decent junior, nothing special. I was a decent player my first years in college. I became the No 1 player in college in my junior year.

“So I’ve always improved as I’ve gotten older. I’m 26, which isn’t exactly young, but I feel like my best tennis is still ahead of me. And I would also say I don’t quite have the miles on my body that a lot of other players have, because I haven’t been out here since I was 17 or 18.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.