Jul/19

22

Isner Conquers Newport for Fourth Time

It all began for John Isner in Newport over a decade ago and his dreams continue to come true here. Isner made his ATP debut in 2007 after a college career at Georgia and this weekend wrapped up his fifteenth overall ATP title and fourth Newport championship with a 76 63 triumph over Alexander Bublik.

Isner, the Hall of Fame Open champion in 2011, 2012, 2017 and now 2019, broke a three-way tie with Greg Rusedski and Vijay Amritraj, for the most Newport titles. Isner has a match record of 23-5 in Newport in hisp nine appearances since 2007.

“I remember when I first played here in 2007, my very first ATP tournament, I didn’t enjoy the courts that much, because I didn’t know how to play on these courts,” Isner said. The big man lost his first ATP match to Belgium’s Dick Norman. “I wasn’t serving and volleying, I just wasn’t doing the right stuff, in my opinion, and to sit here now, to be able to say I’ve won this tournament four times is something I never thought would be possible.”

Isner and Bublik congratulate each other on a fine match.

The Hall of Fame Open is Isner’s fifteenth title on the ATP Tour, for the 22 year old Bublik it was his first final.

“It’s my first final, of course I’m going to remember this day forever,” Bublik said. “Playing John … he’s a great player, old generation, so he taught me a little bit how to play in the important moments.”

Bublik’s creative style of play which features underhand serves and showboat shots, provoked some harsh reactions from the usually conservative Newport gallery. He was booed several times all week for executing his underhand serve delivery which was successful on several occasions. Bublik also demonstrated a Nick Kyrgios flair for trying tweener shots.

Call him a hot dog or a showboat, Bublik does not particularly care. “Guys chanting boos, they don’t understand what’s happening. Who cares?” he said. “We’re just entertaining the crowd, we played a great final.”

If other players or traditionalists are displeased about Bublik’s creative efforts and ideas on court, Isner refused to criticize the prospect who has exhibited an abundance of potential to become an elite, popular competitor.

“He’s an interesting guy for sure and he has his own way of playing tennis. He’s certainly a bit quirky, but I mean that in a good way,” Isner reflected. “I personally don’t think it’s a great tactic, but there’s nothing wrong with it at all. It’s completely within the rules, but I don’t think it’s a high-percentage play.”

Isner is a percentage operator on the court, reliant as always on his lethal serve which produced week-low five aces on final Sunday. Isner was broken in the eleventh game of the first set, but he broke back to force a tiebreaker which he won. Isner faced two break points in the final, saving one.

Newport was Isner’s second tournament since suffering a foot injury during his Miami Open 60 64 final loss to Roger Federer in March.

“I’ve won this tournament three times before, I’m very comfortable here and I know that if I play the right way on this surface, I can be very, very tough to beat,” the 34 year old Isner remarked. “I think I proved that this year, and I proved that three other times as well.”

Next, Isner travels to Atlanta where he is the two-time defending champion.

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