“Not great.” That’s how John Isner described his season to date in press on Saturday after losing his opening match 7-6, 3-6, 4-6 to Lleyton Hewitt. After today’s defeat, Isner has a 6-6 win/loss record for the 2013 season thus far. After the Indian Wells event last year, the American had a 14-5 record and his finals appearance here at the BNP Paribas Open sent him into the Top 10. Saturday’s loss will catapult him out of the Top 20… The American’s troubles started early this season when he had to sit out the Australian Open with a knee injury; however, Isner is adamant that his current struggles have nothing to do with health, it’s all about the confidence.
After his five set loss to Thomaz Bellucci in last month’s USA-Brazil Davis Cup tie, Isner said, “For me, you know, my confidence, it sort of comes and goes very quickly for me it seems like. I think a lot of that out there today was between the ears.” He uttered similar sentiments in press after his Indian Wells defeat saying he’s been practicing well but can’t seem to bring that momentum into his matches. When asked why, he quipped back, “You tell me. I don’t know.” Confidence certainly wasn’t the only factor in the match considering Isner’s opponent, Lleyton Hewitt, is a two time Grand Slam champion and well known for his ‘never say die’ attitude on the court. The Australian veteran may be ranked 98 in the world, but there is no sure thing when it comes to facing Hewitt. At 32, he can still give even the best players a run for their money. As Isner put it, “there’s no shame in losing to him, certainly.”
John Isner isn’t ready to throw in the towel on this season quite yet, saying, “I believe things will get better. As long as I continue to believe that, then you know, I just hope that things will get better, and I do believe that they will. Just gotta keep plugging away.” He’s only defending 45 points in Miami (1 match win) so that’s a great chance for Isner to win back some of the points that will drop off after his poor showing this week in Indian Wells. Isner was unwilling to comment on the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Serbia, which will take place in Boise, Idaho from April 5th-7th. After his disappointing loss in Jacksonville, a good showing against Serbia could be just the confidence boost he needs.