by Rick Limpert, Special for Tennis Grandstand
One may be playing the best tennis of his life, the other is struggling to stay healthy. That would be a quick synopsis of the top two seeds heading into this week’s Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, an ATP 500 event going on this week in Memphis.Coming off what he called “the best win of his career”, John Isner has passed his countryman Andy Roddick in the ATP rankings and is the No. 1 seed this week at the Racquet Club of Memphis.
John Isner ©Rick Limpert
Looking cool and confident, Isner seems to be taking this all in stride. “Now something is expected out of me, so I have to be ready, explained the 6′ 9″ righty.
Now ranked No. 13 in the world, a good week might get Isner closer to the top-10. It’s a goal, and it’s something I’ve worked hard for,” added Isner.
The indoor courts in Memphis seem to suit Isner. He’s a former finalist in singles and a past doubles champion here. He opened play Tuesday night against a tough lefty in Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Isner showed why his serve is one of the biggest weapons in tennis. After basting 26 aces in a 7-6, 7-6 win, Isner moved to 3-0 in his career against Muller, but they have all been close affairs.Even though he may be the defending champ and a three-time winner of this event, Andy Roddick remains a question mark heading into his first match on Wednesday.
A win over Canadain player Milos Raonic last year in the finals is etched in the memories of tennis fans, but Roddick remembers the diving forehand he hit on match point to clinch the victory.
“Listen, there’s probably about 10% skill and 90% luck on that one,” Roddick said in a conference call. “I used all 90% of that luck. But it was a shot I certainly couldn’t believe at the time.”
Injuries sustained earlier this year in Australia and last week in San Jose have left Roddick a bit short on match play heading into this tournament. he opens with play with Xavier Malisse of Belgium.Roddick also said he enjoyed watching the marathon Australian Open final last month between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The high level of tennis impressed Roddick.
“It almost looked like kind of the tennis you see when you play XBOX, where the guys really don’t get tired and they just hit whatever shot they want,” Roddick stated.Should Isner and Roddick both reach the finals on Sunday, fans could expect some big serves and great shot making by these two American players. It’s a big event on American soil, so there’s plenty of reason for motivation.
Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer that covers sports, technology and the intersection of sports and technology. He is based in Atlanta and his writings can be found on Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, Examiner.com and CBS Atlanta. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell.