- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For a player whose career was redefined when he participated in the longest match in the history of the sport, John Isner took very little time to eliminate Tobias Kamke from the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Tuesday night. Isner needed fewer total points in his win over Kamke than games in the fifth set of the record-breaking match he played at Wimbledon last year.

Isner’s first-round victory over Nicolas Mahut took 11 hours and 5 minutes over the course of three days, shattering the previous record by well over four hours. He won the fifth set 70-68 and served a record-setting 113 aces.

But on Tuesday, 62 points and six aces were enough for a 6-1, 6-3 victory to send Isner into the third round.

“I felt good,” Isner said after the match. “I didn’t really know how I was going to play tonight because I didn’t play last week, and it wasn’t that I hit the practice court so hard in my week off. It was more resting time. I think it’s paying off because I’m confident right now. I don’t think I really needed the volume last week.”

The 26-year-old American played collegiately at Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to an NCAA title in his senior season. He began his professional career in the summer of 2007 ranked No. 839 in the world, but he vaulted up the standings to finish the year at No. 107.

Since that time, Isner has continued to improve, earning recognition as the ATP Most Improved Player in 2009. His highest ranking, No. 18, came immediately after his historic performance at Wimbledon. He has five titles in his career, three in doubles and two in singles. The most recent came at the 2011 Hall of Fame Tennis Championships last month.

Isner currently trains with James Blake at Saddlebrook Academy in Florida. He joked that although he regularly takes food, particularly yogurt, from his friend’s refrigerator, Blake knows Isner’s member number at the local grocery store and charges purchases to his account.

The two Americans faced each other for the first time earlier this summer in Atlanta. Though Isner won the match, he described it as a war and said he was very fortunate to come out with the victory.

Blake and Isner will take the court together Wednesday to play in Legg Mason’s doubles bracket before facing each other in singles Thursday.

“It was similar in Atlanta,” Isner said. “The night before we played singles, we played a doubles match together there. It’s the exact same situation. I love playing doubles here, especially on the outer courts. It’s a more intimate setting. The fans are right on top of you.”

But even with the excitement of his upcoming matches, Isner couldn’t end the night without a question about his match at Wimbledon.

“I thought I was going to get off the hook this time,” he said with a laugh. “I expect that. What we did those three days was pretty extraordinary. It got a lot of attention, and rightfully so. I get asked that, if not every day, every other day. it’s pretty cool — I’m just glad I was able to share that experience with [Mahut].”

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