John Isner’s U.S. Open and tennis career end in a fifth-set tiebreak loss

John Isner, of the United States, reacts after losing to Michael Mmoh, of the United States, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

John Isner, of the United States, reacts after losing to Michael Mmoh, of the United States, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

John Isner’s career ended with a final-set tiebreaker.

The former University of Georgia star put a volley into the net to end the match and what he had announced would be his final singles tournament, falling in the U.S. Open second round to fellow American Michael Mmoh 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7) Thursday in New York.

“It’s tough. I like to think I work as hard as I can,” Isner told a Grandstand crowd that erupted in cheers as he trailed off into tears.

The 38-year-old Isner, who needed a wild card to get into the draw at Flushing Meadows, blasted 48 aces and won 86% of his first-serve points in a match that also included 63 unforced errors. Several times, the 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) Isner fell to the ground while diving to make volleys.

Isner reached a career-best ranking of No. 8 in 2018, shortly after reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon. He won 16 singles titles and hit 14,470 aces, an ATP Tour record. That includes 113 in the longest match in tennis history, a first-round Wimbledon win against Nicolas Mahut in 2010 that lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes and ended at 70-68 in the fifth set.

Next up for the 89th-ranked Mmoh will be Jack Draper, who upset an apparently ailing Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4, 7-5, extending his return to the tour after being out more than two months with a shoulder injury.

On Friday

Ben Shelton vs. Aslan Karatsev, third round, 12:30 p.m.

Elise Mertens vs. Coco Gauff, third round, 7 p.m.

Where/when to watch on TV

Noon on ESPN, 7 p.m. on ESPN2