SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Isner Seeks Top American Tag
by Matt Fitzgerald|
At this time last year in Miami, John Isner was ranked No. 33 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and stood fourth among his countryman, behind Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey.
Flash forward to this year’s Sony Ericsson Open, and the 26 year old has broke new ground, entering the Top 10 for the first time after an impressive run at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where he secured his first victory over a World No. 1 by edging Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
When asked about his latest ranking in a press conference Thursday, Isner said, “It's not surprising. I always believed in myself. I didn't really necessarily set a timetable for it. Just if it happens, it happens.
“I was having such a good week last week. That put me in the Top 10. I’m sure during the course of that tournament -- a lot of things went my way, to be honest. So if a couple things didn't go my way, I wouldn't be ranked [tenth] right now. I'd still be shooting for that goal.”
Isner has a good opportunity to overtake Fish as the top-ranked American, with Fish needing to back up last year’s semi-final result. Isner has points of his own to defend, having advanced to the fourth round.
“Now that I am inside the Top 10, I want to go even higher. I really do believe that I have that in me,” declared Isner. “It's just up to me. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I feel like I have a good program. I have a good training base where I train in Tampa; I have a great coach. I have all the right pieces in place for me. It's up to me to go get it.”
Full of confidence after his showing in Indian Wells, and much improved season start of 14-5 (compared to 6-6 last year), Isner is looking to successfully transition from the court conditions at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to the environment at Crandon Park.
“Coming here, it's a tough turnaround. It's always been tough for me adjusting to the different conditions here, because in my opinion they're the polar opposite of Indian Wells,” said Isner. “It's very dry out there. Although it can get hot it's not humid, and the humidity sort of is tough for me to adjust to after Indian Wells.”
The 6’ 9’’ Isner will open his campaign against 2008 champion Nikolay Davydenko on Friday. Davydenko has won two of their previous three meetings.
“My first match tomorrow is obviously very important. I have a very tough match,” Isner said. “If I can get that one under my belt, then I'll be feeling good after that. I know tomorrow is going to be extra tough.”
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