Saturday, January 23, 2010
American hopeful John Isner
Hailing from Greensboro, NC, American hopeful John Isner is playing in the round of 16 (4th round) of the Australian Open. John is not only having his best performance at major to date but is currently at a career high #28 in the world. Even more surprising is the fact that John is the second highest ranked American on tour (#7 Roddick). John has made tremendous strides in his game, all while trailblazing a much different path for aspiring American juniors. The typical aspiring tennis phenom attend tennis academies such as Bollettieri and Saddlebrook. Here juniors have more time on court than in the classroom in hope to actualize every once of their ever growing potential. Attending public school and living at home John fostered his foundation in tennis by playing in the USTA. Here John competed at the state, regional, and national level. He competed against all types of juniors, including other successful college stars such as Andy Orban who attended Maryland but also played less well known USTA journeymen like myself who ended up playing at small liberal arts colleges. John's game improved tremendously while he attended the University of Georgia and helped them win back to back national championships (07 & 08). His non-traditional path has fostered the possibility that it maybe more beneficial for an aspiring tennis star to attend an university, improve their game, obtain a free education, and mature as young adults. John's unforeseen success has provided him opportunities only available to high profile athletes. One particular connection John made recently, is with Carolina's all-star receiver, Steve Smith. Steve has been hanging with John and his crew this week in Australia and currently is rooting on John from John's players box. Other notable all-star football receivers in Australia watching tennis is T.O. The unrestricted drama ridden free agent recently sparked a friendship with the other American hopeful Andy Roddick. Personally I would rather have Steve in my box, but that is the obvious choice for any panther fan.
John unfortunately lost to Murray, who is one of the favorites to win the tournament, and will obviously be disappointed, but as a Georgia alumnus he will be surprised and elated to hear that our unranked Georgia Bulldogs men's basketball team defeated #8 Tennessee in Athens this afternoon. In speaking of the UGA men's basketball team, props goes out to Mark Fox for so far silencing the ever boisterous critics such as AJC columnist, Mark Bradley. Maybe the students here will start to attend the never filled up Stegeman Coliseum. Although John just lost to Andy Murray we hope that he continue his unprecedented success as a fellow North Carolinian, Georgia Bulldog, and a four year college attendee. We will be behind the big man for the long haul.