Australian Open 2012: John Isner No Longer Lone Ranger of American Men's Tennis
It hasn't been that long since America was a relevant nation in the world of men's tennis, has it? Since the ATP was dominated by the likes of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier, since Andy Roddick looked like the next big thing?
It certainly seems like more than eight-and-a-half years since an American emerged victorious from a Grand Slam event, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, American Men's tennis isn't like it used to be. John Isner, who stood as the last hope for the Yanks to end that dubious dry spell at the 2012 Australian Open, was ousted by Feliciano Lopez.
Roddick was forced to retire on account of an injury during his second-round match against the Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, further signifying the 29-year-old's discouraging decline from a member of the tennis elite to another also-ran tossed onto the ever-growing pile of former champions and woulda-coulda-shoulda-been trophy winners.
How will John Isner fare from here on out?
Mardy Fish, Roddick's childhood friend, followed up a career year in 2011 with a second-round bow-out of his own, though at the hands of Colombia's Alejandro Falla in straight sets rather than by the failings of his own body.
That left Isner as the lone American contender and, well, how quickly he lived up to that billing.
The last hope for a sports-crazy nation that once dominated tennis, both men's and women's, now rests in the enigma that is Serena Williams.
Isner was a dark-horse contender to begin with. He's the guy who combined with French qualifier Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 to stage the longest match in the history of tennis—11 hours and five minutes. Isner ultimately won, 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68...to move on to the second round.
At 6'9, he's one of the tallest tennis players in the world, with plenty of actual talent to boot, at least enough to reach the quarterfinals at the 2011 US Open.
That said, he failed to even take down Feliciano Lopez on Friday, crushing our hopes in the process.
Not that it was an easy task and it didn't get any easier with the hopes of the Red, White and Blue placed on his shoulders, giant as they may be.
But, from a pure size standpoint, if there was anyone who can bring America's tennis drought to an end, it was John Isner.
If only those us back in the states were able to adopt Novak Djokovic as our own.
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