After giving it a lot of thought, John Isner said on Monday that he will not compete in men’s tennis in the Summer Olympics in Brazil.
At No. 16, Isner is the top-ranked American on the ATP Tour. As many as four Americans will receive invitations to Rio.
“It’s a decision I didn’t take lightly,” the former All-American at Georgia said.
Isner participated in the Olympics in 2012 where, as the 10th seed, he was beaten by top-seeded Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
There were a few factors that led to Isner deciding not to play.
Among them are he is the three-time defending champ at the BB&T Atlanta Open. He said he loves playing in Atlanta. He didn’t mention it, but if he wins again he would become the first American active on the ATP Tour to win an event four consecutive times. That feat has been accomplished four times by players of other nationalities who are still competing.
There is also a scheduling issue. The BB&T Atlanta Open will be played July 30-Aug. 7, the week before tennis begins in Rio.
“Logistically, it would be pretty much impossible for me to do both,” he said.
Another factor affecting the decisions of many players is that the International Tennis Federation decided that playing in the Olympics won’t offer points, which are how the players move up or down the ATP and WTA rankings. Points were offered in London in 2012.
Isner said playing in the Olympics isn’t about prize money or points, but at this stage in his career he said he wants to rest that week as he focuses on the bigger tournaments in the hardcourt season. The Western and Southern Open, a 1,000-point tournament, is the week after the Olympics. The U.S. Open, a 2,000-point event, begins two weeks after that in New York.
Should other U.S. players follow Isner and elect not to complete, it may open the door for Atlanta’s Donald Young. He is the eighth-highest ranked U.S. player on the Tour at No. 84. He also competed in the 2012 Summer Games at the All England Club in Wimbledon, where he was beaten in the first round. If Young has a good spring, he has a chance of making it to the Olympics.