John, College Coach Manuel Diaz and Assistant Coach Will Glenn
Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, John enters the professional tennis arena following a highly successful college career at the University of Georgiawhere he played from 2003 to 2007. As a freshman, he finished runner-up for the NCAA doubles title with partner Bo Hodge before winning it as a sophomore with partner Antonio Ruiz. As a junior, he led Georgia to the finals of the NCAA team championships where they finished runner-up falling to Pepperdine in Palo Alto, California in May 2006. However, the team battled back to go undefeated his entire senior season, capturing the National Indoors, SEC regular season and SEC tournament titles and finally the NCAA championship in front of their home crowd at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia in May 2007. With John at the # 1 singles position and playing doubles, Georgia lost just one match in his final two years. He spent most of 2007 ranked # 1 in NCAA singles play and reached the finals of the NCAA singles championship following the team national championship. At Georgia John achieved All-American status all four years and became UGA’s all-time winningest player. At Georgia, he was coached by Manuel Diaz and assistant coach Augustine Moreno then Will Glenn.
John and his mother
Fresh out of college, John started his professional career with a world ranking of #839 in June 2007. He won his first tournament of the summer, the USA F14 Futures, beating the top three seeds along the way. Then, after first round losses in a Challenger-level and an ATP-level tournament, he beat five top-300 players and three seeds to win the Lexington challenger in July to improve his ranking to #416 after just one month.
The following week at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., Fernando Gonzalez’s late withdrawal freed up a wild card spot, which was given at the last minute to Isner. John entered the tournament and recorded his first-ever wins over top-100 players. He won 3rd-set tiebreakers on five consecutive days, beating #73 Tim Henman, #47 Benjamin Becker, #189 qualifier Wayne Odesnik, #12 Tommy Haas, and #54 Gael Monfils, to reach the final. He fell 6-4, 7-6 to Andy Roddick in the final match, but his incredible week raised his ranking to #193 in the world after just 6 weeks as a pro.
John at the Legg-Mason Classic
His success at the Legg Mason earned him Wild Card entries into three more ATP tournaments, the Masters Series event in Cincinnati a week later, New Haven, and the US Open. He lost in the first round in Cincinnati to quarterfinalist #15 David Ferrer. The following week in New Haven, he beat #49 Becker a second time before falling to Ferrer for the 2nd week in a row.
In his US Open debut he defeated the 26th-seeded player, former quarterfinalist Jarkko Nieminen, 6(4)-7, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4, firing 34 aces along the way. He proceeded to win his second round match vs. Rik De Voest 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4), before losing in the 3rd round to the top-seeded Roger Federer 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. Isner aced Federer 18 times, and finished with 66 aces for the tournament.
Since the US Open, he has played Challenger-level events and has been invited to join the US Davis Cup team as a hitting partner.
“John will always have a chance to win with that kind of serve.”
– Dave Wheaton