End of an Era: Michael Mmoh Concludes John Isner’s Tennis Career at the US Open
John Isner’s remarkable 17-year tennis journey concluded on Thursday as he faced defeat in the second round of the US Open at the hands of fellow American Michael Mmoh. The match unfolded over five gripping sets with scores of 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7).
Bid Farewell to a Tennis Legend
Just a week before the tournament, the former world No. 8, John Isner, had publicly announced on social media that he would retire after the US Open. Following a nearly four-hour match, the 38-year-old Isner, his voice quivering with emotion, addressed the packed audience at the Grandstand.
Isner stated, “This is precisely why I’ve dedicated my life to hard work—to play in atmospheres like this. I may not have won every match, as today’s result shows, but playing in front of this crowd with the support I’ve received is truly special.” As he left the court, he was met with a standing ovation from the spectators, and he paused to acknowledge their appreciation before exiting.
Reflecting on Isner’s Remarkable Career
Extraordinary achievements marked John Isner’s tennis career. A standout at the University of Georgia, where he won the NCAA doubles title in 2005 and secured the team title in 2007, Isner turned professional in 2007 and exceeded even his expectations throughout his career.
Isner humbly admitted, “I believe I’ve surpassed my expectations. I never envisioned such prolonged success.” His accomplishments include clinching 16 ATP singles titles, eight doubles titles, reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2018, and consistently finishing in the year-end top 20 for ten seasons. For eight of those seasons, he held the distinction of being the highest-ranked American male player. Additionally, Isner has the ATP record for the most career aces with a staggering total of 14,470, and he added 48 more to his tally in his final match. He also holds the record for the fastest serve in ATP history, clocking in at 157.2 miles per hour.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray praised Isner’s serve, describing it as the best in the sport’s history due to its remarkable technique and versatility.
Notable Moments in Tennis History
Beyond his impressive stats, Isner is perhaps best remembered for his role in the longest match in professional tennis history. During the first round at Wimbledon in 2010, Isner triumphed over Nicolas Mahut in a marathon that extended over 11 grueling hours, spanned three days, and involved a staggering 183 games.
Although Isner currently ranks No. 157, he faced challenges in the current season. His first-round victory over Facundo Diaz Acosta marked his first significant win of the year, and it was just his ninth victory in total. In discussions with the media, Isner candidly attributed his decision to retire to health concerns, particularly a persistent foot injury that hindered his training and overall performance.
Isner explained, “I wanted to continue playing for as long as possible, but my results this year didn’t align with that goal. Health-wise, it has been a challenging year, with a nagging foot issue that persisted. I could not train adequately, and playing without sufficient practice wasn’t enjoyable. The struggle to regain full health and competing at less than 100% for an extended period this year took a significant mental toll. Combined with a series of losses, it became a discouraging experience.”
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Embracing New Beginnings
With tape on his left knee and right calf during his two matches in New York, Isner expressed no regrets about his retirement decision. He eagerly anticipates spending quality time with his wife and four children while exploring new opportunities, including television work as an analyst and venturing into business endeavors.
Isner was celebrated in a ceremony at Louis Armstrong Stadium following his first-round victory. Highlights from his illustrious career were showcased, and the tournament presented him with a framed picture. His family and friends, including former players Sam Querrey and Bob and Mike Bryan, joined him on the court.
However, Isner assured the crowd that this was not the final farewell. He declared, “It’s not goodbye just yet. I’m still very much in the game and in good shape, so I intend to extend my journey for as long as I can.”
A few hours later, Isner officially retired from professional tennis by participating in a doubles match alongside Jack Sock. Sock had also declared that the US Open would be his final tournament. Regrettably, they were defeated by Robert Galloway and Albano Olivetti with a score of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (10-3) at Court 12.
Other Highlights from the US Open
In other US Open action, Jannik Sinner advanced to the third round with a commanding 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 victory over fellow Italian Lorenzo Sonego. Jack Draper, making a solid comeback for the tour following a shoulder injury, scored an impressive upset by defeating Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4, 7-5. Alexander Zverev, the No. 12 seed, secured a victory over fellow German Daniel Altmaier with a score of 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Court 17. Zverev humorously referred to the court as the “weed court” due to the lingering scent of marijuana. He will face No. 19 seed Grigor Dimitrov in his next match after Murray’s 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 loss, which saw Murray commit 45 unforced errors in Arthur Ashe Stadium.