John Isner Wasn’t Pleased By The US Open Crowd Support For Monfils
by Tom Gainey | August 30th, 2013, 10:03 am

American giant John Isner was pushed to limit last night by Gael Monfils in a tough 75, 62, 46, 76 win on the US Open’s Louis Armstrong court.

Isner is the American No. 1 and playing in his home country, most would have thought he’d have the full crowd support over the entertaining Frenchman Monfils. But it just wasn’t the case with a large number of fans loudly rooting for the foreigner, a fact that puzzled Isner.

“[Gael’s] a fun loving guy and an exciting guy to watch no matter where he is playing, but honestly it was a little bit surprising,” Isner said of the crowd support. “I know the New York fans, they like to see long matches and fifth sets and whatnot, but, you know, it’s not like there was no one cheering for me. I was a little bit disappointed in that, actually. Not going to sugar coat it. It was certainly, if I was playing him in France, it certainly wouldn’t be like that.

“I could say something else, but I’m not going to. No, it was fun overall. It was a lot of fun, and when the match finally ended, to be able to soak it in, was a lot of fun.”

The win puts Isner into a rematch Saturday against Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German beat Isner in a 5-setter in the same round last year in a match that ended well past 2am.

It’s crazy,” Isner said looking ahead. “That match last year was very disappointing for me how it went about. I sort of lost it I lost it in the fifth set there, but he’s extremely solid. He’s been so solid for so long now. He’s made his way through his first matches pretty easy, as well. Going to be a tough match. You know, I think I played him last year. I think his game plan against me is going to be, in a few days, a lot like it was last year. I feel like he, you know, focused on getting a high percentage of first serves in, taking a little bit off his first serve and sort of trying to grind me down that way, which he did last year. Maybe a few adjustments I will have to make, but I’m looking forward to it.”

If Isner wins he could meet Rafael Nadal on Monday in the fourth round.

Here are some of the highlights from what was a very entertaining match:

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37 Comments for John Isner Wasn’t Pleased By The US Open Crowd Support For Monfils

M Says:

Tsk. Oh, John.

Maybe it’s you.


(Also, has the cocky Southern frat boy considered that fans come from all over the world for the tournament, and are not just us NYC-ers? Perhaps by that hour he was playing in front of a bunch of Frenchmen. Fernando Gonzalez’ Chilean fans used to travel with him wherever he went. JMDP’s Argentinian fans went to Wimbledon to take him to lunch. This happens.)

Anna Says:

I thought I was in Serbia a few years ago at IW watching one pf Novak’s matches. I was told their is a large Serbian community in LA who make the trip every year to support Djokovich. There probably was a loud French contingency at the match last night, but I think most of the fans just wanted to see more than 3 sets.

Ty Says:

He almost went there… but John is too smart to pull out the almighty RACE CARD!

Ty Says:

“Do you see the similarities mate?”

Eric Says:

Maybe if John weren’t literally the most boring professional tennis player in history…

Ben Pronin Says:

LOL, Eric, pretty much!

Brando Says:

@Eric: I lol’d! :-)

M Says:

Hmph. Yep, I knew it.

Toughen up, Johnny boy.

@Eric – there is also this.

Eric Says:


wow. So John’s just gone from being “meh” to “gross” in my books. Put his interview and tweet together; I think we all know what he’s saying.

Ben Pronin Says:

This is really flying over my head. Is Isner being racist? Is that what “I could say something else” is implying?

hawkeye Says:

Again, don’t take him out of context. This is what he said:

“You know, I played a similar match when I played Tommy Haas in Paris. I had about five people cheering for me, and those were the five people in my box. So the French people were cheering for the German there (laughter). I could say something else, but I’m not going to.”

It’s not racism.

hawkeye Says:

^^^ BTW, it was the writer of this article that took Izzy out of context.

He IS boring though.

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know what else he could say there either, but ok. That makes more sense.

hawkeye Says:

This raises a good point. About a year ago, the media put pressure on the tournaments not to post full transcripts because they wanted exclusive rights to them to increase readership. Their argument was why should they send journos to tournaments if people could just read the transcripts themselves.

Tournaments caved under pressure for about a year but have more recently started to go back to posting transcripts in a timely fashion.

I like to read the articles and see the transcripts also.

Media often take players out of context for various reasons.

Ben Pronin Says:

Is that why I haven’t been able to find full transcripts all year?????

That blank space is for all the explicitives I’m throwing at the media.

Brando Says:

NO WAY is Big John a racist based on this. Come on now let’s get real on that one!

Being called a racist is a huge accusation and ALL big John said re La Monf is positive things.

His beef- IF at all- is with the crowd, a American crowd.

IMHO i think he could be thinking- at worst is-:

These guys are quick to support others than their own, whereas elsewhere they would always back their guy regardless of the other guy.

That’s it.

Big John is over reacting to this entire episode but I can kind of see what he feels iffy about.

He’s a nice guy though: so let’s not accuse him with something that is way,way inappropriate and uncalled for.

Eric Says:

I mean I wouldn’t call it racist (a la Hewitt’s infamous remark Ty quoted), per se, but Isner’s saying that the crowd was rooting for Monfils instead of him because they’re not real Americans like his god-fearin’ white southern buddies. (“#godscountry,” really? Really??) Although, ironically, the “crowd wanted to see more tennis” explanation is obviously right if they started supporting Monf in the third set.

Peter Says:

Usually John has an incredibly boring game, but the highlight reel looked entertaining enough.

M Says:

@Ben – in an attempt to break it down, Johnny boy is being

1) Provincial. I’m an admitted NYC-er, but I also endeavor to be, as someone at another event complimented me on last night, “una persona del mundo”.

You’re a Southern boy who doesn’t particularly care for NYC? Too bad. You’re also representing your country at an international event that happens to be held here because it’s an international city. Plus, you’re supposed to be a *professional*. Suck it up.

2) Entitled. If you are the #1 American player – which to me is by itself a depressing stat considering his abysmal return of serve – you aren’t automatically guaranteed crowd support just because you show up. You *earn* your support with your court performance, just like everybody else.

(How is this one even hard?)

3) (just plain old) Stupid. If you haven’t played tennis long enough to know that nobody comes out to Queens – at night – fighting their jet lag if they’ve come from overseas to see the Slam – just to see a popular player straight-setted, then you haven’t played tennis long enough.

And you especially haven’t played it long enough to shoot your mouth off like that. The crowd wanted more tennis! (Say it with me – how is this one even hard?)

4) (yes, probably a little bit) Racist, b/c that’s just how I think he is (based on what I’ve observed of him to date, both from far away and up rather close and personal – perhaps even more than I preferred – in Miami).

And what to me is most racist about the assumptions underlying his whining, if anything, is that there would be a bunch of people of color in the stands – who speak whatever language (has he noticed Le Monf isn’t even American?) – cheering Le Monf and booing him? Okay. #whateverdude

However, I don’t like having discussions on boards about who and what “is” or “isn’t” racist, since I’ve run into way more than my share of people who think

a) acts can’t be “racist” unless they’re covered in hoods and burning crosses and anything and everything else should just be “let slide” (these are people that usually aren’t sufficiently enlightened to understand semi-advanced concepts like colorism and institutional racism, so I have better things to do than to try to disabuse them of their antiquated notions) and

b) that being CALLED racist is actually worse than DOING something racist, which … o_O. I can’t be bothered trying to explain to those people, so I usually let Jay Smooth break that part down.

I do hope that helps.

hawkeye Says:

Here’s a blog on the practise of delaying transcripts…

“Fans also like to make their own judgements when it comes to controversial quotes. I, for one, have gone to a presser many times when a favourite has been slaughtered by the media. I’ve often found that journalists have sensationalized the comment to get more views. By reading the transcript myself, I can make my own judgement. I know other fans feel the same way.”

The article above is a perfect example.


Ben Pronin Says:

Hawkeye, I can’t tell you how depressing it is to learn this. What’s the point of a full interview if the public can’t see it? Why not just ask a juicy question and leave? I’m very disappointed in everyone who was involved in letting this happen.

M, I don’t know. I don’t see anything racist here. I agree that John is acting entitled by thinking he just has to show up. To me that seems like the biggest thing here and John is being a baby.

James Says:

John was visibly surprised when the crowd started chanting “Monfils! Monfils! Monfils!” Understandable. He’s the no.1 American male tennis player but got less support from the crowd than Monfils, a foreigner, in NY, USA. He’s obviously upset about it.
But I don’t think the crowd was anti Isner or pro Monfils. They just wanted a longer match, more entertainment. And sure Monfils is much more entertaining than Isner.

hawkeye Says:

Yep. Just the perfect storm. Night match after dull one sided matches with engaging Monfils. Fans weren’t unpatriotic. They were just looking for an exciting match and they appreciated LaMonf’s antics.

That said, it was still a bizarre situation and overall Isner handled it pretty well at the end. Was careful not to incite the crowd a la Nole post match SARS incident. Nole has grown a lot since then too of course.

andrea Says:

i am scratching my head over john’s complaints. he was interviewed a few weeks ago when he fell out of the top 20. apparently that was the first time since the rankings system started that no American man was in the top 20.

the interviewer wanted to know how john felt about being out of the top 20 and what it meant for American mens tennis. john essentially said that he doesn’t focus on that. he plays the game but doesn’t worry about whether an american is in the top 20 or whether he should be the face/saviour (not exact vernacular) of american men’s tennis.

and then he’s surprised when american’s don’t cheer for him?

andrea Says:

BTW..that tweet with @godscountry makes me cringe.

hawkeye Says:

Andrea yes I saw the same interview and thought the same. Can’t have it both ways. Also his tweet won’t get him any extra crowd support in NYC.

It’s like he was guarded in his on court interview but couldn’t help himself afterwards.

Anna Says:

It was all so good at the on court pressor, Darren Cahill was full of praise for the fact that he took the high road, but then he had to chide the crowd for not buying America in his off the court pressor, and now his tweet makes him look like a jerk. Unless he’s wearing blinders he has to know this sort of thing happens in courts around the world. You pit a French or German player against Roger Federer in France or Germany and 9 out of 10 times they support Roger. Last night was probably a one off. but if he keeps pouting about it he will lose fans. How do young men become fully grown with their heads stuck in “Mayberry”?

S lenner Says:

Didn’t anyone ever considered that, perhaps the majority of fans are not from the US
, like may be on vacation or Or perhaps they are nonresidents living in United States.
Anyone that lives in New York City or has been in New York City knows that there is a distinct possibility that the majority of the fans very well may be people from outside of United States

Kissmygrits Says:

White, male privilege is a helluv a drug. Poor BIG John is strung OUT!!! LOL! He’ll be OK.

Kissmygrits Says:

4) (yes, probably a little bit) Racist, b/c that’s just how I think he is (based on what I’ve observed of him to date, both from far away and up rather close and personal – perhaps even more than I preferred – in Miami).

And what to me is most racist about the assumptions underlying his whining, if anything, is that there would be a bunch of people of color in the stands – who speak whatever language (has he noticed Le Monf isn’t even American?) – cheering Le Monf and booing him? Okay. #whateverdude
So… I see you have met him. LOL! The more you get to know him, the less you like him. He is just an all around jerk. At least Roddick was a likable jerk. And that tweet just says it all really.

Michael Says:

That must be a little frustrating for Isner who would have normally expected the home crowd to root out for him all the way. But it was Monfils who was the centre of attention and he garnered the crowd support with his antics. Players like Monfils give that extra energy to the crowd to get invigorated and mobilise behind them. May be, Isner has to learn a trick or two from Monfils as how to enliven the crowd and stand behind him.

Alex Says:

There is no law that people have to support their home player. Personally I never do that. Because I’m not interested in those people. There are just some players who are quite popular, Monfils and Haas are two of them. Too bad for Isner, but his game is quite boring I have to say.

queen Says:

Well now he can go home and enjoy his southern comfort. Bye bye John.

Nativenewyorker Says:

“Was careful not to incite the crowd a la Nole post match SARS incident. Nole has grown a lot since then too of course.”

Yes, this was a smart thing. You do not want to make a New York tennis crowd mad! Djoko learned that the hard way!

I thought the crowd appreciate the sportsmanship of Monfils when Isner’s serve was in but was called out. He didn’t have any more challenges left, but Monfils offered to give it to him. Isner did decline, but the crowd gave Monfils a stsnding ovation. Then they cheered him on as he played some great shots to win that third set. They did want to see more tennis and were also appreciative of how entertaining and fun Monfils made the match.

I don’t have a problem with it at all. It shows that the fans are fair enough to cheer for a guy who is enjoyable to watch, who is making a good effort and competing well. That’s what it’s all about. Isner just needs to get over it.

Okiegal Says:

You folks that do not see the problem of John not getting crowd support from the US fans……shame on you!!! Trust me on this…..if you were an American and fighting to win and the crowd was cheering on a German, Frenchman etc……you would be crushed just like Isner. I thought their behavior was horrible. Whether you like Isner or not…..he is a US citizen…..end of story.

Tootie Says:

I’m glad the German beat him in the next round; John doesn’t wear well.

Super Says:

It seems I’m late to the party, but I’m surprised by the comments on this page.

For one, John always seemed to me to have the best temperament of any of the American players.

Two, the racism brigade is very quick to judge him based upon their interpretation of what Isner is thinking. That is simply low, and the automatic assumption of guilt is disappointing.

Three, it is obvious that the French crowd is one of the most biased and obnoxious crowds in the world. It’s part of playing in the French Open, I understand that. Yet they will do their utmost to ‘support’ their players, including chanting and crowd-waves in order to break the rhythm of players from other countries, as well as often booing them when they have the ‘audacity’ to check line marks. So when a player like Isner doesn’t get crowd support, and the crowd then supports a French player, one can understand his frustration.

Why is the French Open the only major tournament not to have hawk-eye?

[Does anyone still remember Monfils vs. Roddick at the French some years back? They decided they were going to continue the match in the dark, because Monfils wanted to keep playing.]

Since when is missing your home-town considered racist again? Do people here believe that New York City is the epitome of decency and fairness?

All of these vitriolic comments for having an opinion. Would people be raising an eyebrow at Isner if he played Gasquet instead?

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