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Hard work ahead for US men with John Isner withdrawal

John Isner smiles during practice
by Benjamin Snyder
Wednesday 26 June 2013

With Sam Querrey of the United States departing on Day Two of The Championships against the Australian youngster Bernard Tomic in five sets, hopes for American men to succeed mostly rested on John Isner’s large shoulders and giant frame.

But it was the body of the 6ft 9in athlete that ultimately failed him.

Bidding to reach the third round at the All England Club for the first time, Isner started his match against Adrian Mannarino looking in prime form. He started with one of his signature, unreturnable serves and capped off the game quickly to go up 1-0 in less than a minute.

But on the changeover, something seemed off in the world No.21’s fitness and he began clutching his left knee, walking noticeably more gingerly. Minutes later and after a medical timeout, the man responsible for winning the longest match in tennis history (70-68 in the fifth set in the 2010 Wimbledon first round) retired unable to hit the shot with which he dominated his opponent minutes before.

With Isner gone, only four American men remain left in the Draw and without their seeded countrymen. Rajeev Ram, who is also slated to play on Day Three of The Championships, is the only remaining US player from the bottom half of the Draw.

Still in the top half of the Draw and looking to advance to the third round representing the United States are veteran James Blake, a former No.4 and new father, Bobby Reynolds, 33, who faces world No.1 Novak Djokovic next and No.112 Denis Kudla.

Isner’s injury woes come at a time in American tennis when three-time runner-up at Wimbledon Andy Roddick retired at the US Open last September. On the first day of the Fortnight, Roddick tweeted to his fans about how he missed competition. “I miss you @wimbledon!! Have a great fortnight and I'm pumped to watch it unfold!” he wrote to his over one million fans, who in turn replied with numerous, “I miss you” messages.

But while the men lost their two top players at the All England Club by Day Three, there’s promise enough for at least one player from the United States to be victorious, or at least into the second week. On the women’s side of the Draw, world No.1 Serena Williams, the top seed and a 16-time Grand Slam champion, attempts to defend her Wimbledon title.

She started off with a strong statement in the first round and appears to bear the burden once more of being widely recognised as the player from the US with the best chance for securing a Wimbledon win.

Into the second round for American women as well are No.17 Sloane Stephens, who is due to player later on Day Three, Christina McHale, Alison Riske, and Madison Keys.

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