The American Davis Cup player John Isner was certainly dejected during the first round tie against Chile in Santiago but after a couple of days he relaxed and returned to a more steady ground. From Santiago the...
The American Davis Cup player John Isner was certainly dejected during the first round tie against Chile in Santiago but after a couple of days he relaxed and returned to a more steady ground. From Santiago the tennis circus carried on to the first of the ATP Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells, in the California desert for the BNP Paribas Open, certainly one of the nicest tournaments on the circuit. However it’s a long haul from Chile to California – Santiago to Dallas to Palm Springs and then a short drive. All up about 15 hours travelling in one stretch. Isner however had left Santiago on the Sunday night and spent Monday in Dallas. It so happened that we were on the same flight from DFW to PSP and it just so happened we were sitting together. He was at the window, I was on the aisle. I offered to change places so he could stretch his long legs, remember John is just about two metres tall. He was very polite saying he was fine where he was. I didn’t want to get in his space. I felt I had done that on the Friday before when he lost his singles match at Davis Cup and felt a bit bad about it, but I had been told to follow him into the USA lounge on-site. He was pretty quiet on the plane, choosing to read basketball magazines. We both nodded off to sleep at times; I was pretty drowsy having just flown in from Santiago. We spoke a bit, like about the nights out at dinner the USA team had in Santiago and the very funky hotel they stayed at which was the W. “It was a really nice hotel and we had some really nice dinners out,” he said. “Santiago was a nice place.” The flight attendant recognised him and wished him well. She was certainly a throwback to the ‘80’s. Talk about BIG hair, surprised she was able to get through the door, a short skirt and high heels that could do some major damage ... and she had the southern accent to boot. “Dallas” the TV series eat your heart out! I was reading an in-flight magazine and in it was a story called “Celebrity Traveller”, it was on Andy Roddick. In it Roddick said he likes to “get out into nature” and I showed that to Isner who smiled and commented: “No way he would have said that.” That’s what I thought which is why I showed it to John. Andy is not quite the nature loving kind of guy. The aircraft came into Palm Springs and hit the runway hard. On reflex I just exclaimed: “Geez!” Isner shot me a look with another smile. While taxiing I said to him: “Look I’m sorry if I invaded your space last Friday, I didn’t mean to.” He responded: “No. No, that’s fine. It’s okay.” John is a quiet guy, reserved, a bit shy. He was so down after that singles loss; saying he let the team down. The fact is if you have given it your best then it’s not a case of letting anyone down. He should remember that. At the baggage carousel I gave him some more news: “You can’t get rid of me that quickly, we’re in the same car to the hotel.” “Oh good. That’s cool,” he said.