BigJohn's portion of the press conference USA at France
April 3, 2012
Q. John, with Mardy not here, does that change your mindset, your mentality, your approach now to Friday?
JOHN ISNER: No, I don't think so. I went into this tie thinking I was going to be No. 2, the No. 2 player, but obviously now I'm the No. 1.
It doesn't change anything. I got to go out there on Friday and try to win a match for us no matter who I'm playing.
For me, it's still the same.
Q. This is a question for John. John, how do you feel with the clay? (Indiscernible.)
JOHN ISNER: I love that guy. You should have been a lawyer. (Laughter.) The answer is no. I'll tell that you right now.
No, the clay court is a very nice clay court. It's one of the best clay courts in the world, in my opinion. I haven't practiced on it too much.
But a court is a court. For me, I'm going to go and try to play my game. Like I said, it's a very, very nice clay court, so I don't anticipate bad bounces or anything like that.
So as far as the speed or anything like that, I haven't even thought about it. I don't know if it's fast or slow or not.
But, I don't know. It's fine. I'm going to go out there and (indiscernible.)
Q. John, you never came to Monte‑Carlo before, so it's your first time in the country club that's also the place of the Monte‑Carlo tournament. So I heard you were going to stay over or not?
JOHN ISNER: It's still‑‑ as of right now, I'm planning on playing Houston, back home in the U.S. so I'm going to fly back to the States. I'm going to have to make a decision whether or not I'm going to play the tournament in two weeks' time.
It's either come over here and play the tournament, then after that go back home, or stay home and practice for, what is it, Madrid and Rome or whatnot.
So I got to a couple decisions to make.
Q. Did you surprise yourself by playing so well on clay?
JOHN ISNER: No. It's like once you practice on it and practice on it well for three, four days, you become comfortable. I knew when I would get out there and start playing a match, getting in match mode, I was going to feel even more comfortable in the match than I did in practice.
You know, adjusting to the clay, I didn't think I was going to have any issues with it, and that was the case.
Q. Davis Cup is a different competition. Your successes in the US Open and Indian Wells, did they help you for this match?
JOHN ISNER: I was asked that yesterday. I don't believe so. It's a different match. It's a different type of match because it's Davis Cup.
To me, no matter who I was going to play today, I was going to feel confident no matter what. So that was the case today. I went out there and I played very well. Simple as that. I was very happy with how I played. I was very happy that I was able to help the team out.
Q. At the end it seems that the match was a bit more tense. Was it because the conditions were changing, it was getting colder, or was it because the intensity was more?
JOHN ISNER: I think Gilles started to play better, for sure. It's never easy to close a match out against a player of his caliber, especially in Davis Cup.
I expected a tougher third set, and that was the case today. I could easily still be playing in a fourth set out there right now. I mean, I had to save some breakpoints and was able to do so.
That third set, it could have gone either way. I was glad it went our way.
Q. Do you ever remember winning a break on such an unbelievable point?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I would have to think really hard about that. For sure, that was one of the crazier points I've won. To do it on such a big point, essentially it was kind of a match point. If I win that, I'm able to serve for the match.
So I was very fortunate to win that point, and it was very, very crazy. I don't know, it went my way, and I'm glad it did.
Q. What part of your game pleased you most today?
JOHN ISNER: I would say my forehand. I didn't really serve that great today. I could have made more first serves. But my forehand today, it was on, and I was going for it. I wasn't holding back. That was the game plan.
Really, you know, I tried pretty much on every point, especially when I was returning, to either win or lose the point on my forehand. So I was out there going for it. A lot of them found the right spot for me. Very pleased with how I hit that shot.
Q. So whatever the result of the doubles tomorrow, you will have a tough match to play against Jo. Did you see the first match with Jo and how do you see that upcoming match?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I was able to watch. For the most part I was in the locker room watching Jo play Ryan. You know, it was a very good effort from Jo. He's, what, No.6 in the world for a reason. He's obviously a very good player. I will play him on Sunday. We've played twice and have had two really good matches. I also expect to have another good match on Sunday.
It's going to be a very important point for us whether we're down 2‑1 or up 2‑1. I'm looking forward to that challenge. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Q. Can you assess the day from your captain position, Jim?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Sure. The first match was a tricky one for Ryan and for Jo. I thought that both of them played a little bit underneath their capabilities. I expect both of them to play better on Sunday.
But those are tricky matches. Ryan is out there looking for experience and Jo on the other hand is expected to win. You see how that plays on both players.
I think the good side from putting the American hat on, looking at Ryan's game, there's a lot of potential there. I think he's an unpolished diamond and there's a lot to work on to get better. He's already as good as he is.
It's exciting for us, those of us that are caring about American tennis, to see someone like Ryan who is willing to put the effort in. He's going to get better and better. We're going to potentially need him on Sunday. He's going to need to get better soon, on Sunday.
Gilles will be a big challenge. We didn't get to see Gilles play very much today because this guy did what he's supposed to do, which is be emphatic, dominant, take the racquet out of the hand of his opponent. I would expect Gilles to feel much better on the court on Sunday, and I hope Ryan will, as well.
For us, 1‑1, that's what it is. I think we're content with that. We'd love to be up 2‑0. Obviously, we'd hate to be down 2‑0. 1‑1 seems about right, and tomorrow will be a great doubles match tomorrow between four great doubles players.
Q. John, how much were you looking forward to playing today and how did you feel when you stepped out there?
JOHN ISNER: I felt great out there today. When Wednesday came and we were practicing, I was very, very antsy. I wanted to play the match as soon as possible.
I woke up this morning feeling very good. I didn't know, but I had a feeling that today was going to be a good day for me. That was the case. Because of that, it was a pretty good day for our team. We're 1‑All instead of 0‑2, so I'm very glad to have helped out in that way.
I'm going to sit back tomorrow, rest up, watch the Bryans.
Q. Jim, you say Ryan is an unpolished diamond. When you see him smashing the racquet, you don't want to take the fire out of him, but you want him refocused. What's the trick?
CAPTAIN COURIER: When I talk about him being unpolished, I don't talk about his attitude and his energy on the court, I'm talking more specifically about his game and things that he'll need to be better, things that he can do better to maximize his potential.
I think he's in the process of organizing his best game. And I think that will take some time with his everyday coach, Grant Doyle. They're working diligently at it.
You don't want to snuff out someone's fire. Ryan is a high‑energy guy. My job is to help him manage that energy, particularly when we're playing best‑of‑five sets, two matches in three days, metering that energy out as opposed to spikes and crevices, that's what I'm trying to help him with.
He'll in due course, like all of us do, get better at it. I was a lot like him when I was at his age. I was very emotional. I learned how to compress those emotions into a more consistent band which led to more consistent results. That's where we're heading now.
But let it be said, I don't think I've ever broken two racquets in one game. That was impressive. That was impressive.
Q. John, it seems like you flourish with Jim. Mardy Fish said he saw a huge change in your game in the five days in Switzerland. Chile seemed to work for you. What is about Jim?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I'm happy to leave (laughter).
JOHN ISNER: Well, he's obviously a handsome man (laughter).
He's obviously a great captain and he's been there and done that before as a player. He always stepped up for his country for Davis Cup. It's been a gradual thing for me.
To be honest, my first tie with him I didn't play well at all. Ever since then, since the end of 2011, started playing very well. With my coach Craig Boynton, we've been working very, very hard, working on a lot of things. It started with him. At the end of 2011 I started playing great. Then 2012 came along and I was very confident in my game, and Jim has helped out a lot, as you can see.
Along with Jim, and especially my coach CB, I've been putting together more consistent results and playing like I should play. I think today was a good example of that, as well.
It's good. For me, very, very happy to have Captain Courier on my side. It's good to put in a good four days of work and practice, get in the right mindset coming into this match ‑ coming into any tie really. It's been a good week, for sure.