When the U.S. Open begins in a week's time, the home favorite will come in the form of a 6-foot-9-inch player who has a college degree from the University of Georgia, John Isner. He will also be the highest ranked American tennis player at #12, just ahead of #13 Mardy Fish.
Clearly, the Americans are not blessed in this golden generation of tennis, but Isner will be the home favorite. It is important to take a look at the top home-grown player ahead of a major tournament.
Full Name: John Robert Isner
Born: Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26, 1985 (27 years old)
Height & Weight: 6 feet 9 inches, 250 pounds
Turned Pro: 2007
Coach: Craig Boynton
Career Win-Loss: 156-102
Career Prize Money: $4,206,446
World Rank: 12th
Ranking Analysis: With the deep talent pool in tennis, flirting with a top 10 position is probably where Isner belongs. But he will be the #1 American for a while with the decline of Fish and Andy Roddick, and the lack of any top-10 talent coming up through the U.S. tennis system.
Player Strengths: A monstrous server, Isner relies on his big serve to dictate the point and to put his opponent at a disadvantage and to blow weak returners off the court. For a man his size, his stamina is quite good and does not succumb to media pressure of expectations of being the American #1. Tactically, he is aware of his mobility limitations and makes a conscious effort to offset that with shot placement.
Player Weaknesses: Isner lacks the killer instinct and is consistently sucked into long, draining rallies and extremely long matches, which hurts his otherwise decent stamina. Other than that, he is inconsistent with his game and can play at a decent level, but he really has no real weapons beyond his size and serve. Reaction time and speed make him susceptible to drop shots.
Known For: "Marathon John" is probably best known for his long, grueling match against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon. While impressive, Isner needs some real success at a major tournament in order to be remembered beyond a first round match.
Brian is a long-time tennis fan who has written about tennis since 2009.
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