The American is enjoying a Kit-Kat each round at Wimbledon, and is hoping for two more.
Wimbledon, England—It took 41 Slams and over ten years since he played his first major, but American John Isner is finally into the semifinals of a Grand Slam, and he believes he can keep it going.
After his 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Canada’s Milos Raonic, Isner is amped and ready to take on his next challenge, facing No.8-seeded Kevin Anderson for a spot in the Wimbledon final.
“Pure elation right now,” said the only player left at Wimbledon that has yet to be broken. “Very, very happy to be in this position right now in the semifinals. With how I'm feeling physically and mentally, I'm in a very good spot. I think I can keep doing damage here.”
Isner ranks second behind Sam Querrey for most appearances at a major before reaching a semifinal, and he’s happy to do it at a place where he was formerly only known for playing the longest match in tennis history and never reaching the second week.
That 11 hour and 5 minute marathon, won by Isner 70-68 in the fifth set, is a memory from 2010 that Isner will always cherish, but this year he’s intent on creating another memory.
“Of course, everyone is going to remember that match in 2010, and rightfully so,” Isner said. “I like to think that since that match, I've done a lot of good stuff on the court performance-wise. But for a lot of people, that's definitely the lasting image of my career. I think if I can keep going further here, I can maybe squash that.”
He has already done a good job of squashing it, by defeating two seeded players at a Slam for the first time and by serving incredibly throughout his first two matches.
“This is amazing,” he said on Wednesday. “It's by far the best Grand Slam I've ever played in my career, and I've been playing for 11 years. I'm super happy. To do it here at Wimbledon makes it even a little bit more special.”
“At 33, I feel like I’m playing the best tennis of my life”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2018
Isner’s rise has been a result of hard work, perseverance and a commitment to steadily improving the tools necessary to win on the grass, like closing at the net and making passing shots. It’s been a sweet ride for the American, made even sweeter by his choice of post-match snack.
“I just had a Kit Kat before I came in here,” he told reporters with a smile on Wednesday. “That's the truth. I had a little bit of a sugar craving. That's not a normal occurrence for me. I think after each win throughout these 10 days, I've had a Kit Kat. I'm not going to change that now.”
What has changed is Isner’s chances of reaching the final now that Kevin Anderson sent shockwaves through the draw when he bounced eight-time champion Roger Federer in quarterfinal action on Wednesday.
But the American doesn’t believe he’s lucked out by any means. In Anderson he knows he’ll be facing a red-hot Top 10 player that is playing the best he’s ever played on grass.
“I mean, it's not like I have a huge opportunity now,” Isner said. “Look how well Kevin is playing. It's going to be extra tough.”