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TENNIS “THE INNER GAME” OR MAYBE IT’S JOHN ISNER’S SUMMER OF 2017

Congratulations to our champion, @johnisner! #DellTechOpen – Photo by @tennishalloffame via Instagram.

 

 

“It’s just simple: just keep fighting and keep believing, try not to show weakness out there – John Isner.

 

This quote symbolizes John Isner’s career as a tennis player to a tee (pun intended). Win or lose the big American battles to the very end. His competitive spirit was on full display in the famous Isner versus Mahut 2010 Wimbledon match. The first round match went over three days, and lasted eleven hours and five minutes, before Isner prevailed 70-68 in the fifth set.

 

Ever since that remarkable match, John Isner has become the flag bearer of American tennis. He has carried this mantle for his ten years on tour and in an era with greats like Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, Isner has done an admirable job for keeping our hopes alive. The American also keeps a positive mindset on and off the court, and makes sure he takes time to give back and interact and with kids and fans. Isner plays in charities, which includes the Ebix Charity Challenge that benefits the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where his Mother, Karen was successfully treated during her two battles with colon cancer. Isner makes it clear that his Mother is his hero in life.

 

After a tough second round loss to Dudi Sela in this year’s Wimbledon Championship, John Isner sat down with his team and regrouped. Isner has always been known for his serve and forehand, but he knew he had to work on his return game. Isner and his team put on their hard hats and got to work. The focus for Team Isner was to not only be aggressive on his service games, but also in his return games. He made a slight adjustment to his return positioning, making sure he stayed low, and to swing away when he got the opportunities. Implementing this tactic would make Isner dangerous on both his serve and return games. Isner also worked on calming his mind and to not view has break chances in the return games as huge points. Instead, he chose a zen like outlook and treated the points as any other point.

 

John Isner of the US holds the winner’s trophy after defeating Ryan Harrison of the US in the men’s singles final match at the BB&T Atlanta Open tennis tournament at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 30 July 2017. EPA/ERIK S. LESSER

After Isner’s semi-final win against Gilles Muller in Atlanta he said, “Confidence is very hard to gain, and it’s very easy to lose. Right now, I’m feeling confident, and I know that if a certain point doesn’t go my way, I just want to win or lose that point the right way”

 

In Timothy Gallwey’s Inner Game of Tennis, Gallwey studies down how tennis players are able to get into the zone. He breaks down a self one and self two. Self one deals with the tennis player’s mind, which voices what shot we want to hit, and then commentates whether we hit a lousy shot or a good shot. Self two of the tennis player focuses on just playing the ball, or being one with the ball. It is a natural, zen state, which Gallwey instructs that tennis players can achieve by quieting self one, and focusing on self two. Self two also allows the player to be in the present and to keep it simple by focusing on the racket and the ball, but most of all, it is to trust yourself and the stroke.

 

This trust and belief is evident in the improvement of Isner’s game this summer. He has improved his return and his ability to focus on self two. Last weekend, Isner relied on his newfound strategy to capture his 11th career title in Newport, Rhode Island. This momentum and confidence has catapulted Isner’s summer and he won the BB&T Atlanta Open this past Sunday for the fourth time in his career and his 12th career title. Isner was once quoted by saying, “I’m a late bloomer. Whatever happens, I’m proud of what I’ve done.” Isner is playing some of the best tennis of his life and in his early thirties can only improve. His game is more than a big serve and forehand and he displays the wholesome Captain America qualities not seen in many athletes today. As John Isner continues to grind it out on tour, he also reminds us how important it is in life to “keep fighting and keep believing.”

 

Written by – Justin Chaffee for 10sBalls

 

Tennis Pro at the Bridgton Highlands Tennis And Golf Club in Maine in the Northeast of America