American tennis star John Isner is known for bringing some serious heat with his serve everytime he steps on court. Earlier this year, the current world No. 9 took his record up a notch when he reached a significant career milestone, serving up his 10,000th career ace at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship. Number 10,000 came on his 19th ace of the match - a 138 mph serve fired down the T on the first point of the fourth game in the thrid set.
"Ten thousand aces is an incredible achievement," said Isner after losing the match, despite hitting 28 aces. "It is bittersweet to hit it in a loss tonight, but that’s just how it goes sometimes."
Isner's accomplishment puts him in the elite company of just three others ever in tennis history to have served 10,000 aces--joining Ivo Karlović, Roger Federer, and Goran Ivanišević in the record books. Thanks to the quick thinking tournament staff and security in Houston the ball from the milestone moment was carefully set aside and sent to the International Tennis Hall of Fame to be showcased among the great stories of tennis history.
Isner, who has been a champion in Newport three times (2011, 2012, 2017), is frequently asked about his serve, but is quick to point out that it is an aspect of his game that he hasn't changed all that much.
“That’s something that fortunately for me I picked up at a very early age. I’m sure if I watched footage of myself in college, my serve’s a little bit different,” Isner told ATPWorldTour.com after the milestone match. “But for the most part, maybe I used to move my front foot a little bit. I used to start back, take a step forward. My front foot stays still now. But the overall motion hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve seen footage of me as a freshman in high school, it’s the same serve.”
The ball - red clay dust and all - is now displayed in the Recent Acquisitions case at the museum. It will be visible through the summer. Plus, fans can come out to see big-serving Isner in action in Newport this July when he returns to defend his title at the 2018 Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open, July 15 - 22. Tickets are on sale now on HallofFameOpen.com