Top American star John Isner has been hard at work preparing for the 2014 season. The former top 10 player had essentially missed two Grand Slam tournaments in 2013, when he suffered a quadriceps injury that forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open as well as the second round of the Wimbledon Championships.
Now, after proper rest and recuperation, Isner is back on the courts strengthening his knee and cautiously preparing for his first Aussie Open in two years.
“I don’t like to completely take so much time off, but for me it was the right thing,” Isner told ESPN. “I rested my knee a bit and now it’s feeling OK. About 10 days ago, I started to get out on the court and work on my game. In the past, I’ve come back and hit earlier, but I’m at a stage in my career where don’t need to hit four hours a day for two months prior to the Australian Open.”
The American won 39 of his 63 matches in 2013, which include his first clay court title (Houston) and Atlanta and earned more than $1.2 million this season.He ended his season ranked at no. 14 on the Emirates ATP rankings, his fourth consecutive year finishing in the top 20. Considering there have only been nine other players who have accomplished that level of consistency, it is something that Isner is proud of.
“I’m very, very proud of that fact. I would love to finish in the top 10, but that’s not my main focus. If I’m fit and taking care of the right things, everything else will take care of itself.”
Isner, whose best Grand Slam performance was reaching the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in 2011, admits that his main focus this season will be his ability to conserve energy during the first week of the Grand Slam events. Having not reached the second week of a Slam event in two years, Isner holds his size accountable and intends on performing with more intelligence on court.
“I haven’t made the second week of a Grand Slam the last two years. My goal is to win those first few matches more quickly and go from there. I’m so big, I wear down faster than most players. Sometimes, I don’t conserve enough energy winning those first three, four matches.
“For me, it’s being smart.”