John Isner is feeling right at home at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, and that’s not just because he leads a stacked field of 10 Americans at the ATP 250 event.
The 36-year-old, who is joined by countrymen Taylor Fritz, the 2019 finalist, and 2017 champion Sam Querrey, is set to make his debut at the hard-court event in Mexico on Thursday. He will be contesting just his seventh tournament of the year, after reaching the quarter-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Korda) and Madrid (l. to Thiem).
The second seed, currently No. 39 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was keen to keep his expectations in check as he looks to build up some momentum in his favourite part of the year: the North American summer hard-court swing.
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“I think this summer is a good chance for me to prove myself, because my ranking has dropped a little bit. That’s because I haven’t played much, in my opinion,” Isner said in a pre-tournament press conference. “So I think I need to try to prove myself, that I can get back to the level that I’ve been at for the past decade, which has been a very consistent Top 20 player. I’m looking forward to getting back to that level, and I believe I can do it.
“I don’t expect too much out of myself [this week], but I know that I can play very well if I do the right things on the court.”
Isner was supposed to make his Los Cabos debut last year, when the tournament was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the tour’s restart, he has played an abbreviated schedule and has made it a top priority to continue spending quality time with his family: wife Madison, and their two young children.
The Isner brood is set to expand, as the American announced that he and his wife are expecting another baby. The couple welcomed daughter Hunter Grace in 2018 and son John Hobbs in 2019.
“I haven’t played much since the Tour shut down last year. The Tour has looked different since we started coming back, and I have a family and a wife who is pregnant again,” he revealed. “There has been stuff at home within the past nine to 12 months that I have felt has been more important than tennis.
“But this time of year is a time that I really enjoy. I love playing on the hard courts in North America. I’m here doing that again – I’m going to play a lot this summer and I hope I can do well.”
Isner will begin his Los Cabos campaign in doubles on Tuesday, partnering with Mexico’s Hans Hach Verdugo against third seeds Divij Sharan and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. In singles, he awaits the winner of Jason Jung and Evgeny Donskoy in the second round.
Top seed Cameron Norrie leads the field in Los Cabos, and the Brit will play the winner of Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden and Elias Ymer after receiving a bye into the second round.