Instead of travelling halfway across the globe to represent his country, John Isner is in sunny Mexico getting ready to play in his first hard court event of the summer.
The American is the second seed at the Los Cabos Open behind Cameron Norrie and will be seeking his 16th title on the ATP Tour. Isner is one of five player from his country seeded in the tournament.
“I was supposed to play (Los Cabos) last year and as we all know the tournament did not happen so I was bummed out about that. There is no doubt and I am very excited to be back here this year”. Isner told reporters during a press conference ahead of his campaign.
The world No.39 has not played since being upset in the first round of Wimbledon by Yoshihito Nishioka and has only played in six tournaments since January.
” I haven’t played much since the tour shut down last year and that’s not because of injury or anything. The tour has looked different and I have a family”.
However, Isner did announce that his family is growing and that his wife is pregnant with their third child. For him right now life at home has been more important to him.
Although this is his favourite time of the year playing on hard courts in the US swing.
” I love playing on hard courts, I love playing in North America and I’m here doing that again so I’m going to play a lot this summer and hope I can do well,” he said.
With Ivo Karlovic retiring at the age of 42 later this year and being a big server like Isner, some are wondering if the American would also be tempted top continue playing into his 40s?
“Well see, maybe not till 42 and I might not want to but the good thing is physically I feel very good and healthy,” he said. “I spent a lot of time trying to keep myself healthy and as Ivo has known when you have a big serve it can keep you around for a long time so hopefully that’s the case for me and I don’t want to retire anytime soon, I still have the hunger to play”.
In recent weeks a lot of tennis players pull out of Tokyo Olympics due to various reasons such as scheduling, injury and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in March Isner said he would not be playing at the event because ‘it is not a priority’ at this stage in his career. A decision he has no regrets about.
“I think I did the right move not going and its sort of a similar move I made not going to Australia,” he explained. “Times are different and we as the players certainly respect that and for Australia, it’s not something I wanted to be a part of and being away from my family that long and having already competed at the Olympic games before I feel like I have that experience and it was absolutely amazing and at this point of my career it wasn’t on my priority list and everyone is different and for me, it’s about being close to my family, traveling with them and they are here right now which I am certainly loving”.
Unfortunately, Los Cabos will be held behind closed doors as opposed to Acapulco when they had some capacity of fans and the Dallas, Texas resident was asked about that as well.
” It’s certainly been different and we respect the decision to have no fans here but for me, I would rather have fans but we understand why and as a tennis player I don’t feel like I have a right to complain at all because we get to play”.
Another hot topic that has been buzzing lately was the Naomi Osaka situation where she came out and announced she wasn’t going to do press any more due to mental health.
” I think it’s important to talk to the media and to give back as much as possible and I don’t believe the media is our enemy but at the same time you have to respect everyone’s opinion, I certainly don’t know what Naomi is going through and I am not going to judge at all, she’s a megastar and it’s not my right to agree or disagree”. Isner said.
Stefanos Tsitsipas recently came out and said that he would like to have on-court coaching allowed in Tennis and once again Isner was asked to give his thoughts and opinion of the idea which he thinks isn’t a good idea.
” I think there is merit in what he is saying but I personally disagree with that and this is coming from someone who played four years of college and we had coaching every single point during our match but what I think is cool about tennis is you don’t have coaching and it’s a good differentiating factor from the other sports going one on one trying to figure it out by yourself which I think is unique so I don’t personally love the idea”.
Isner is the number two seed and isn’t scheduled to play until Wednesday night in the second round where he will either face Evgeny Donskoy or Jason Jung.
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.
Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation.
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune.
However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing.
“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”
Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face.
“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said.
25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match.
Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th.
Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
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