Isner right to be upset by Washington scheduling


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John Isner was not only upset by Steve Johnson at the ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington. He was pretty upset by tournament organizers, too, who scheduled him on an outside court.

An ATP 500 event is a big deal, and in American men’s tennis right now, John Isner is the biggest deal of them all. The recent Atlanta Open winner is playing every week of the US Open series, the 250 events included, where names like his bring bums to seats, while many of the big names are just showing up for the big ones.

His reward was to be put on the Grandstand court at 6pm and not the Stadium Court. That honor did go to another American though, Jack Sock, who was competing in a high profile match with second seed and Canadian Milos Raonic. Sock has been doing his bit for U.S tennis, too, winning the Wimbledon Doubles trophy with Vasek Pospisil and the 21 one year old has just earned a career high ranking of 60 which bodes well for the future. Giving him a taste of the highlife court wise when up against the game’s highest ranked ‘young gun’ was certainly not a bad idea, who knows how that might motivate Sock, but whether or not it was the best idea remains to be seen.

After all, if, like Isner you are leading your country, working hard week-in, week-out and promoting the game, what kind of reward is it when you do not get to play in front of your homecrowd on the best courts? Isner said after the match that the simple fact was he did not like playing out there, and that while Johnson beat him ‘fair and square’, he would have fancied his chances more on Stadium. Those might have been reservations worth listening to had they been aired before the match. After all, the chances of Isner making it though to the final and winning the event, are higher than the other Americans who trail him by more than 50 ranking spots.

The loss sees Isner drop out of the top ten, leaving the elite of the ATP without an American amid its ranks.  That fact should leave quite a few high up in the USTA feeling a little upset themselves, longer than it will take Isner to get over his Johnson and scheduling upset. Isner has been upset before by his home country, his match against Monfils at last year’s U.S Open in which his home crowd cheered for his opponent comes to mind, and recovered. The question is how long will it take U.S tennis to get over its current state? And how much sympathy can be had when their best players are treated like work horses and not show ponies they should be proud to parade?

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