The 2014 Australian Open is off and running but one of the United States’ best male hopes for an Aussie championship was knocked out in the first round. John Isner had to retire from the tourney with an ankle injury, reports Douglas Robson of USA Today Sports.
This early knockout is a big disappointment for U.S.A. men’s tennis as Isner was the only seeded American male and, as such, the one expected to go the farthest. Martin Klizan of Slovakia got out to an early lead by winning the first set 6-2. From there, Isner fought valiantly, but it seems the lower leg pain was just too much for him to handle. Despite taking the second set to a tie breaker, Isner lost and found himself down two sets to none and opted to retire from the match.
With a 6’9.5’’ frame, lower body injuries should not be all that surprising for the big-framed Isner, but that does not make his retirement any less frustrating. American men’s tennis has been pining for a strong contender since the heydays of Andy Roddick. With all of the amazing athletes the U.S. produces, it is a wonder that we have not had a truly legitimate great in men’s tennis since the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. To put that in perspective, it has been over a decade since either one of those men brought a major championship back to the States.
It is time for men’s tennis to have a revival. For so long, fans have hoped that Isner would continue to grow and develop into a future tennis star, but his performance in his six years as a pro have only proved him to be a mediocre star. Aside from a couple of wins against number one Novak Djokovic in some non-major tourneys, Isner’s career has seemed to plateau. At 28 years of age, Isner is not getting any younger and any hope of U.S. men’s tennis returning to greatness with Isner seems to be doomed. Alas, we must continue to wait for the promised one to return us to the top.