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February 22, 2013

Can John Isner Get Unstuck?

John Isner is the highest-ranked player in America and by all accounts one of the best, if not the best, server in tennis. He has an enormous forehand, and ranks second only to Roger Federer in the history of the ATP at winning tie-breakers.

Yet, it seems as if John is stuck in a rut. After missing the Australian Open with a knee injury, John lost a match in the Davis Cup, then was upset twice in a row at San Jose and then Memphis. 

Part of the problem, it seems to this amateur, is that Isner's service return so far isn't up to the rest of his game, giving him little chance to break his opponent's serve. As a consequence, John is forced to play a lot of long matches and, when you have to drag 240 pounds around a tennis court, that takes a toll. I also wonder if his strategy of using the round-around inside-out forehand make sense for a player with endurance issues. 

Here are two photos of John and below that a slideshow. 

Isner BiteShirt1 SAP13 15

Here, you see how far into the court John goes on some serves; I estimate he often hits the ball 4-feet into the court and about 10 ft 7 inches high.

Isner Serve Follow Semi_SAP13 8

Click to play this slideshow of John from multiple tournaments, then select the arrows to see full screen. Enjoy!

Reader Comments

Hi Jim. This is one of the best tennis analysis blog. I like your insightful analysis.
Can you explain why no American tennis players in the top ten these days ? Thanks.
Ahmed.

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