Isner talks about Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

John Isner is finally back on court, this time at Wimbledon. Due to injury, the American couldn’t play on clay at all. In fact, at the end of March at Miami, he reached the final, and he lost to Roger Federer. 

Right after Miami, his foot became swollen, and later, he had mono. Until a couple days ago, he hadn’t hit a ball. It was a very long time, the first time, to recover.

In the first round at Wimbledon, Isner beat Casper Ruud in straight sets, and on Thursday, he will face Mikhail Kukushkin. Isner may be a better player, but as he said, when a player returns, they can be rundown. It will take him at least a month to feel healthy again.

Isner reached the semis at Wimbledon last year, but the 33-year-old has not made it to a final at any Grand Slam. But he knows that the best players — the 30-year-old-plus competitors Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic — are way above over the rest. Once in a while you can upset them, but it is rare. When they play against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, they can try, but that doesn’t mean that you can fool them. Because they can knock back most any shot, make them dizzy, become frustrated.


Isner said that the top three are still dominating. It is early at Wimbledon, but they are the three favorites, hands down.  

“It’s incredible. I mean, eventually they will slow down, maybe that’s six years from now. Who knows? But it’s absolutely remarkable, the stats that the big three have in Masters Series and Grand Slams over the last ten years, even more than that,” Isner said. “So it’s incredible. At the same time, you can consider yourself very fortunate to play in this era, just to say that you played with these guys week in and week out. But at the same time, it’s a bit unfortunate [for us].

“But, for me, I’ll take it. I have been right in the thick of it. A lot of players have had it worse than me. Look at a guy like Andy Roddick, incredible Hall of Fame player, but he ran up against Roger so many times in big finals. I think without Roger on the scene, Andy [Murray] could have eight Grand Slams.”

Murray has won three Grand Slams, twice at Wimbledon. In 2003, Federer won Wimbledon (grass) for the first time. The same with Nadal, in 2005, when he won Roland Garros (clay). In 2008, Djokovic won Australia (hard court). For 16 years, they have nearly monopolized the Grand Slam trophy case.

“It’s amazing to look at the Grand Slam stats. I mean, what has Roger won, 20?,” Isner said. “And he’s, like, he can’t even say he’s the greatest player of all time at 20 Grand Slams. It’s incredible. These guys are pushing each other. Rafa has 18 and then Djokovic is 15, not slowing down. It’s remarkable. These guys are pushing each other. I think when all’s said and done, it’s going to be arguing who’s better, Michael [Jordan] or LeBron [James]? It will impossible to tell.”