John Isner (born April 26, 1985, in Greensboro, North Carolina) is an American professional tennis player. He is a graduate of Walter Hines Page High School and the University of Georgia, where he majored in Communications.
Isner had a highly successful college career at the University of Georgia from 2003 to 2007. As a freshman, he was runner-up for the NCAA doubles title before winning it as a sophomore. He led Georgia to the status of team runner-up in the NCAA championship in 2006 before leading them to the championship in 2007. With Isner at the #1 singles position and playing doubles, Georgia lost just one match in his final 2 years. Isner spent most of 2007 ranked #1 in NCAA singles play, finishing #2 behind NCAA Singles champion Somdev Devvarman of The University of Virginia.
Isner began his professional career in earnest in the summer of 2007. With a world ranking of #839, he needed wild card entries into the main draws of every tournament, even at the Futures level.
He won his first tournament of the summer, the USA F14 Futures, beating the top 3 seeds along the way. Then, after first round losses in a Challenger-level and an ATP-level tournament, he beat 5 top-300 players and 3 seeds to win the Lexington challenger in July to improve his ranking to #416 after just one month.
At the following week's tournament at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., Fernando Gonzalez's late withdrawal freed up a wild card spot, which was given at the last minute to Isner. Isner took full advantage of his good fortune, recording his first-ever wins over top-100 players. He won 3rd-set tiebreakers on 5 consecutive days, beating #73 Tim Henman, #47 Benjamin Becker, #189 qualifier Wayne Odesnik, #12 Tommy Haas, and #54 Gael Monfils, to reach the final. He fell 6-4, 7-6 to Andy Roddick in the final, but his incredible week raised his ranking to #193 in the world after just 6 weeks as a pro.
His Washington success earned him Wild Card entries into three more ATP tournaments, the Masters Series event in Cincinnati a week later, New Haven, and the US Open. He lost in the first round in Cincinnati to quarterfinalist #15 David Ferrer. The following week in New Haven, he beat #49 Becker a second time before falling to Ferrer for the 2nd week in a row.
In his US Open debut he defeated the 26th-seeded player, former quarterfinalist Jarkko Nieminen, 6(4)-7, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-4, firing 34 aces along the way. He proceeded to win his second round match vs. Rik De Voest 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4), before losing in the 3rd round to the top-seeded Roger Federer 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. Isner aced Federer 18 times, and finished with 66 aces for the tournament.
He will be a hitting partner for the US Davis Cup team. Meaning he will be a practice partner, and might get the chance to play if any member of the team gets injured.
Isner's #106 ranking in November, 2007 was just good enough to get him direct entry into his first Australian Open, after several players ranked above him dropped out. But he was defeated in the first round of the 2008 Australian Open by wily tour veteran Fabrice Santoro of France 6–2 6–2 6–4. Teamed with Croat Ivo Karlovic (the tallest player on the ATP tour), Isner also lost in the first round of doubles.
Isner broke into the top-100 at #93 in February with a quarterfinal appearance at the ATP stop in San Jose, beating #90 Florent Serra and #26 Tommy Haas. He firmly established himself as a top-100 player in the first 3 months of the year, beating 6 players in the top-100 while playing exclusively in ATP-level events.
Isner is known for his booming serve which is attributed, at least in part, to his 6'9" height. Commentators have also praised his composure during matches, as displayed during his five consecutive 3rd-set tiebreaker wins in Washington, which were marked by his ability to bring out huge serves when it mattered most. Additionally he is known to back up his huge serves with approaches to the net, though he does not strictly serve and volley. Isner has been compared to 6'10" Croatian Ivo Karlovic. Both are said to posses the best serves in tennis. But Isner is considered to have a better game from the baseline and a superior return game.