Isner: Indian Wells Doubles Title Sparked Singles Success
Eager for matches after a disappointing 2-6 start to his 2018 season in singles, Isner teamed with Jack Sock and took the doubles title without dropping a set. With an ATP Masters 1000 doubles title under his belt, the American headed to the Miami Open presented by Itau and promptly won his first ATP Masters 1000 singles title by defeating Alexander Zverev in the final.
“Coming into this tournament [last year], I had no results to lean on. But the doubles went my way and that meant everything for me,” said Isner. “I finally left a tournament feeling good about my game. Winning this event is a huge accomplishment and it was a good springboard for the rest of my 2018.”
Isner returns to Indian Wells this year as the eighth seed. From his doubles title last year to a singles runner-up showing in 2012 (l. to Federer), he’s created plenty of positive memories at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The American also readily admitted his results here have fluctuated and said he won’t be leaning on his past highlights.
“I won the last match I played here and not a lot of guys can say that,” joked Isner. “Everyone knows how tough this tournament is, though. I’ve tripped up in the first round and I’ve made it to the final. There’s a big delta in what I’m capable of doing here.”
To ensure he stays match tough, Isner is teaming with Sam Querrey in the doubles draw. They’ll face top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut in a blockbuster first-round clash. The American is hopeful more doubles success at this event will add confidence that carries into his singles game.
“Matches are matches. We all practise a lot, but you can’t emulate match play,” he said. “As everyone knows, my matches can be inherently close. Playing a lot of matches gets me tougher in those moments where it comes down to a couple of points here or there. If I’m not playing with much confidence, I can very easily lose a lot of close matches for a few weeks in a row. I think I’ve turned the corner on that this year, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Isner also has his family with him in the desert, including his wife Madison, and their six-month-old daugher, Hunter. Being content in his personal life has carried over to success in his professional life. After enjoying a career-best season at an age where many of his peers have retired, the 33-year-old said he has no plans to stop competing anytime soon.
“I want to play as long as I possibly can,” said Isner. “I see Roger Federer still doing what he’s doing at 37, with four kids, and he’s still one of the greatest of all time. Eventually, I won’t be playing this game anymore, but I’d like to do that on my own terms.”