John Isner comes into the U.S. Open with a lot of momentum. At 10th in the World, he is the highest ranked American by a large margin. With Rafa Nadal not in the field, his quarter of the bracket has opened up. David Ferrer at the 4th seed is the highest in his portion of the draw. Could this be the year that Isner makes a deep run in the Open? Many seem to think so.
It was 2003, the last time an American won the U.S. Open when Andy Roddick accomplished that feat. That may be too much to ask from Isner with the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Murray hanging around but one thing is certain, Isner is not content with where he is in his break out season.
When asked if he has a goal of making the top 8 and qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals later in the year, Isner replied, "It's doable". He will play tournaments in Europe and Asia after the U.S. Open. Last season, Isner became ill in the Far East and was forced to return home.
On being the highest ranking American, Isner stated, "It means a lot. It's something I have always strived to reach. I don't think it's going to put any pressure on me. I'm going into the U.S. Open feeling pretty good about myself."
After his semifinal loss to Isner in Winston-Salem last week, 6th ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga responded when asked if Isner was getting better, "Of course, He is young and will improve".
There has been an improvement with his ground strokes this year and with a little more conisistency to go along with arguably the best serve in tennis, the sky is the limit.
Despite a friendly draw, Isner was given no favors in his opening round match where he will face veteran Xavier Malisse, a player that can cause major problems if he is on his game. He has been a little inconsistent of late but is capable.
Other seeded players that Isner could see in his immediate future are Philipp Kohlschreiber at 19 and Viktor Troiki at 20. If both advance, Isner could see 8th seed, Janko Tipsarevic in a few rounds but there is work to do prior to that.
John Isner is one to keep an eye on to see if he can make that leap to the next level. Finishing the season in the Top 8 and a possible two seed in the Australian Open in January would be huge.
(photo courtesy of corine6)