The retirement of John Isner signifies an end to a recurring nightmare for his colleagues on the ATP Tour who have collectively faced an astonishing total of 14,450 aces from him over his career. During his last singles match against Michael Mmoh at this year’s US Open on Thursday, Isner served up an incredible tally of 48 aces.
Nevertheless, there is no joy in witnessing the departure of this legendary ace leader. Since departing from the University of Georgia in 2007, Isner has exemplified professionalism and pushed himself to his physical limits as one of tennis’ most steadfast competitors with his towering height of six feet ten inches.
He held onto being crowned as America’s top-ranked player for eight out of nine years between 2012 and 2020 according to Pepperstone ATP Rankings and remained within Top 20 players at year-end throughout every single year in the decade spanning from 2010 to 2019. Concluding his career with an impressive 489 victories against the ATP Tour’s top 60 players, Isner gracefully bowed out to Mmoh in a fifth-set tie-break.
Isner, the top American tennis player, expressed his immense pride in maintaining his ranking for an extensive period of time during his final event in New York. He emphasized the dedication and enjoyment he found in the daily preparation and continuous success over the years. Isner admitted to exceeding his own expectations and acknowledged that while there are matches he wishes he could redo, he has no significant regrets after mentally preparing for 17 years.
John Isner, known for his gracious and considerate demeanor both in the media and among his colleagues, never failed to bring a touch of humor to his serve-focused game. Additionally, he always made sure to allocate ample time for others, a trait that will continue as he settles into his Dallas residence alongside his wife Madison and their four young children. Earlier this year, the entire Isner clan journeyed to Wimbledon, as John was determined to give his family the opportunity to witness The Championships before bidding farewell to professional tennis.
Throughout his career, the All England Club has held a special significance for John Isner. In 2010, during his second Wimbledon appearance, he made history by playing the longest match in tennis ever recorded. This remarkable feat occurred after winning his first ATP Tour title in Auckland earlier that same year. Isner’s match against Nicolas Mahut lasted an astounding 11 hours and five minutes, with the final set ending at an unprecedented score of 70-68.
In a memorable display of tennis prowess, John Isner’s name became indelibly linked with an iconic match at Wimbledon. However, it was during the 2018 edition of the tournament that he etched another chapter in his personal history by securing a spot in his first-ever major semi-final. Despite falling short against Kevin Anderson after an intense fifth-set battle that ended with a devastating scoreline of 26-24, Isner’s remarkable performance propelled him to new heights as he soared to No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Notably, this ascent was further aided by his triumph at the ATP Masters 1000 event held in Miami earlier that season. To cap off an extraordinary year, Isner made his eagerly anticipated debut at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals tournament.
John Isner made history as the oldest player to win an ATP Masters 100 event, triumphing in Miami just before his 33rd birthday. Despite a valiant effort, he narrowly missed out on repeating his success the following year, falling short against Roger Federer in the 2019 final. Isner’s impressive record includes five Masters 1000 singles finals, where he finished as the runner-up to tennis greats such as Federer, Nadal, and Murray.
John Isner showcased his exceptional skills on American soil by reaching the finals of all three ATP Masters 1000 events held in the United States. Not only that, but he also displayed consistent performance at the US Open, reaching the quarter-finals on two occasions – first in 2011 and then again in 2018. Since making his major debut at this prestigious tournament in 2007 and advancing to the third round, Isner has never skipped a chance to compete on home turf during the Grand Slam season. From 2007 to 2023, he participated in a total of seventeen US Open tournaments, amassing an impressive record of 32 victories against just fifteen defeats. This outstanding achievement represents both his highest number of wins and an impressive win rate of approximately sixty-eight percent on hard courts – making it his most successful performance among all four Grand Slam events.
In an incredible display of dominance on home turf, John Isner has amassed an astonishing collection of tour-level titles throughout his tennis career. Out of his remarkable tally of 16 victories, an impressive fourteen were achieved within the borders of his beloved United States. The city where Isner truly shined was Atlanta; no other player has managed to capture six singles crowns at this venue like he did. His most recent triumph occurred in 2021 when he claimed the coveted ATP Tour title there.
However, Atlanta is not the only place where Isner’s name is etched into tournament history books. He boasts a remarkable four singles titles in Newport along with two each from Winston-Salem and Auckland tournaments respectively. Additionally, Houston witnessed one glorious moment when Isner emerged victorious.
Isner’s prowess extends beyond singles play, as he has also found success in the doubles arena. With eight ATP Tour doubles titles under his belt, including an impressive five at the esteemed ATP Masters 1000 level, Isner has proven himself to be a formidable force on the court.
It is not just Isner’s powerful serve that sets him apart; his finesse at the net and ability to execute delicate shots with deceptive ease have contributed to his rise in the doubles rankings. In 2022, he reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Doubles Ranking of No. 14. Notably, that same year, Isner formed unlikely partnerships with Jack Sock (Indian Wells) and Hubert Hurkacz (Miami) to secure the Sunshine Double title.
Furthermore, Isner surprised fans and critics alike when he reached the Rome final alongside Diego Schwartzman. Despite their contrasting heights – with Schwartzman standing at just 5-foot-7 – their collaboration proved successful and showcased Isner’s adaptability on the court.
John Isner, a consistent presence for Team World at Laver Cup, boasted an impressive 4-1 doubles record across the first four editions. Additionally, Isner showcased his unwavering commitment to the United States Davis Cup team, participating in 18 ties from 2010-21 and securing 15 singles victories along with two doubles triumphs. Reflecting on his journey, Isner acknowledged a mix of memorable and challenging moments. Notably, he fondly recalled defeating Roger Federer in Switzerland amidst unfavorable court conditions that favored his style of play. However, it is the collective memories shared with friends and family on Tour that truly stand out as cherished experiences for him.