"I've felt helpless on the court"- John Isner picks Novak Djokovic as his toughest opponent among Big 3

John Isner
John Isner finds Novak Djokovic tougher to face than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

American ace John Isner finds Novak Djokovic the toughest to face among the Big 3. The 37-year-old is considered one of the biggest servers in the sport and currently holds the record for most aces in tennis history.

In a recent interview on the Baseline Intelligence podcast, Isner revealed that he finds Djokovic the toughest to face as the Serbian manages to read his serve very well.

"It's probably Novak. Even though I played Rafa on clay off the top of my head, I played him on clay like four times. I think, once at the French Open, you know, that's one of the toughest tasks in our sport, in sports period. It's beating that guy on clay and but even more so than that beating him at as we know Roland Garros," he said.
"But I would say it's Novak, it when he's locked in and dialed and taking my serve standing on the baseline returning, my first serve and just anticipating where my service going," he added.

The former World No. 8 also spoke about feeling helpless while facing the Serbian.

"I've felt helpless on the court, probably on one hand where I knew I had no shot and I wasn't even, I was having huge trouble holding serve and three of those times have been against Novak.

Isner also recalled their 2015 China Open clash, which took place in freezing conditions.

"I played him in Beijing years ago. I'm just gonna try remembering, 2015. In the quarterfinals, its a big match, a big tournament and I was fired up to play him in the quarters and going to bed that night and look on my weather app and just checking out the weather. We were playing at night the next day. I just wanted to see the weather and boom, a cold front came through and in China and it was like, 48, nearly 48 degrees Fahrenheit for my match against Novak and In Beijing, a tournament where he like, never loses," he said.
"He had some 23 match winning streak there. I was like I'm screwed. It's 48 degrees and heavy conditions against Novak, who never loses this tournament, There's no shot it. I went out there, It was freezing. Freezing cold, zero free points and it was two and two. So to answer your question, it's Novak," he added.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner won that clash in Beijing 6-2, 6-2 to improve his record to 27-0 there. That win also saw him record 23 straight sets in the Chinese capital.

After the match, he stated that the conditions didn't help Isner's serving ability.

"Conditions didn't help him, didn't help his serve, even though he was serving around 200 average. But I was managing to pick up balls from each corner on the return. I was feeling like I can get a lot of balls back in play and make him move, which was one of the intentions tactically in order to be successful today," Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic to begin Astana Open campaign with clash against Christian Garin

Novak Djokovic pictured at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Novak Djokovic pictured at the 2022 Laver Cup.

Following his triumph in Tel Aviv, Novak Djokovic will look to make it back-to-back titles on the ATP tour this year when he begins his Astana Open campaign.

The former World No. 1 will face Chilean Christian Garin in his opening match in Kazakhstan. Djokovic has beaten Garin in both their previous meetings.

The Astana Open has a packed field that includes the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Hubert Hukarcz.

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Edited by Anirudh
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