Isner looking forward to Olympics

John Isner said one of his goals when he became a pro tennis player was to play for the U.S. at the Olympics.

Devastated that he didn't make the 2008 squad for the Beijing games, he said Tuesday he is very excited to be on the team that will play in London. Isner is one of four U.S. Olympians playing at the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station this week. The top seed and the top-ranked (No. 11) American in the world will play his first match Thursday.

"We have a very strong squad," he said after playing at a clinic with some Atlanta-area teenagers. "We are going to try to represent our country well, be good sportsmen and lay it all out on the line."

In London, Isner will play singles and will team with Andy Roddick in doubles. Also representing the U.S. will be Atlanta's Donald Young, who was beaten in the BB&T on Monday, and Ryan Harrison. The chase for the gold medal will start July 28. Isner and Roddick will travel to London on Monday.

Aside from representing his country, Isner is looking forward to playing for several reasons. The event will be played at Wimbledon, which he called the mecca of tennis.

"You can walk on the grounds and feel the history of the place," he said.

And he's looking forward to playing in what he expects will be a lively atmosphere.

"It'll be very similar to college tennis, like my time at UGA," he said.

Isner said he has played his best tennis this year in team situations like the Davis Cup. He kick-started the year in February with a victory over Roger Federer, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, in the Davis Cup. That win catapulted Isner into what has become one of his best seasons, with wins over Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (also in the Davis Cup) and last week's tournament title at Newport, R.I.

"I thought, if I can beat a guy like that [Federer] in front of his home country and 10,000 fans who didn't want me to win, then I can give a lot of people a run for their money," he said.

He hopes to continue that success in London. He and Roddick have never played doubles together and they won't do so this week at the BB&T. Isner said they are focusing on the singles matches this week. Isner has reached the last two finals in Atlanta, losing both to Mardy Fish.

Once they get to London, Isner said he and Roddick will have some limited practice. Their plan is to hold serve and put a lot of returns in play.

"We are going to be a tough team to beat, for sure," he said.