Olympian gets gold-medal sendoff

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July 23, 2012, 10:37 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston, Mass.) - There are just 4 days until Opening Ceremonies.

First time Olympian John Isner played a tune up match in Middleton for the Boston Lobsters  then left for the airport.

The world's 11th ranked player is hoping to bring home the gold.

He has a booming serve, clocked at over 140 miles per hour, and a crushing forehand, but no matter what he accomplishes in his tennis career, the name John Isner will forever be tied to a marathon.

Not the 26.2 miles.

Something much much longer.

The 11 hour, 5 minute, 3 day, 138 game marathon he played and won at Wimbledon in 2010.

"It's a special place, not just for me, for everyone. Everyone wants to do well at Wimbledon. Everyone looks forward to that tournament probably the most all year," Isner said.

But this time will be different.

He'll be playing at Wimbledon as a first time Olympian.

The 27 year old from North Carolina, who also plays World TeamTennis for the Boston Lobsters, will leave the hardcourts at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, MA behind for that all familiar grass at the All England Club.

Towering over this 5 foot 8 inch reporter, the 6 foot 9 inch Isner has high hopes for Olympic success, hoping to be the first American man to win a gold medal since Andre Agassi in Atlanta 1996.

"It's the toughest tournament in the world. It's a smaller draw than the Grand Slam, a 64 draw. But everyone is playing it, all the top guys are playing it," Isner said.

For so many athletes in these London games, the hard work over a lifetime is specifically geared for the Olympics.

But not for John Isner.

"To be honest, growing up, it was not a dream of mine. Tennis traditionally is not an Olympic sport. And to be honest, I didn't know I was going to play professional tennis until I was in college. That's when my game improved the most. So I've been a late bloomer all throughout my career and I still think I am a late bloomer. I know my best tennis is ahead of me," Isner said.

Fans, Crustacean Nation they're called, hope its ahead of him too.

They enjoyed the matches, singles, mixed doubles, doubles - and perhaps equally, the proper Patriotic sendoff, a police escort to Logan - and a flight to the London Summer Games.

Isner  will not only be playing singles but also doubles with Andy Roddick.

He said even though mixed doubles is an Olympic sport for the first time, he's not going for the trifecta.

Tennis begins Saturday at Wimbledon.

Tags: London, Josh Brogadir, John Isner, Olympics 2012, Boston Lobsters
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