Monday, August 27, 2007
John Isner is a 22-year old who played and won his first US open match today. He did it with a grand slam of 34 aces and an exciting 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 win over 2005 quarterfinalist Jarkko Nieminen. The match last a lengthy 3 hours and eight minutes, much to the delight of the Armstrong Stadium crowd, many of whom, like me, slid over from the Grandstand to see the magic.
Isner quickly became a NYC and US Open crowd favorite as he glanced to a courtside box filled with eight friends, all jumping to their feet on every point and motioning the US Open faithful to join them in celebration as the match ended.
Isner is just what Flushing Meadows and Forest Hills, before it, is all about. The crowd once watched the up and coming John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. They fell in love with a young "Chrissie" Evert. They watched Andre Agassi come and go and today realized it was 22 summers ago when we last paid good money for an Open that did not include a match involving Agassi.
Today, the sun rose brightly with a young 22-year old named John Isner.
Viewpoint: The USTA and the various tennis handlers will jump on the opportunity presented by Isner. He played four years at University of Georgia and took time in his post match interview today to thank his college coach (Manuel Diaz) for the experience, coaching, and time well spent at Georgia. Isner has had a storybook summer of 2007, finishing an undefeated colleagiate season, competing mightily as a newly turned pro, then going to the ATP Legg Mason tourney finals a couple weeks ago in Washington DC.
He is exactly what the USTA needs to fuel some fire and buzz into the Men's draw at the open this year.
The USTA needs to turn the page and head full speed ahead into some build-up and promotion of the new, young stars of tennis.