Isner: The “it” American tennis player

Photo courtesy of SI.com. John Isner (pictured above) is best known for an epic first round match at Wimbledon in 2010. Could he be the new American "it" player?

By Josh Kramer

It is not too difficult to get the attention of the American public regarding men’s tennis these days.  If an American goes deep into a major tournament, or dare I say wins one, they are the next American hope.  Expectations have never been lower as the American public waits for that next great American tennis prodigy.  Sadly, the future of American tennis does not look bright.

After being spoiled by the McEnroe/Connors era, and then the Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Courier era, no American has stepped up to the plate.  Different players have become the “it” guy of the moment.  The guy that many hoped could be the next great American Grand Slam Champion.  But none of the “it” guys have lasted the test of time.

Roddick has been in the mix for years, and has been the most consistent of the bunch by far.  James Blake has shown glimpses.  Donald Young made America think he was the real deal, yet he has never lived up to all the hype (currently ranked 111).  Ryan Harrison is looking to break through, but currently still finds himself just ranked 82nd (which is a sign of improvement).  And then of course Mardy Fish has been the main American contender these days.  Fish currently is ranked a career high 8th, and is having the best year of his career without question.

But in the nation’s capital, John Isner, the tallest of all the Americans, has been making some rumblings.  Many expected the former Georgia Bulldog star to take off after his epic victory over Nicolas Mahut in the 2010 Wimbledon Championships (consequently, he beat Mahut again in the 2011 Wimbledon Championships).  It didn’t happen.

In a round of 16 match that was delayed due to rain, Isner defeated fellow American and good friend James Blake in a 3rd set tiebreaker.  The 6 foot 9 Isner is currently ranked just 35th in the world, but has the ability to break through during the American section of the summer season.  What better way to get Americans excited about men’s tennis again then to watch an American light a fire during the 6 week US Open Series?  I remember when a young star by the name of Andy Roddick put US tennis on his back and rose to the number 1 ranking in the world during the US Open Series of 2003.

Could John Isner be the next in line?  Is Isner the real deal?  We will find out over the course of the next month.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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