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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Isner Talks About Parental Support in Deuce Magazine

John Isner is the highest-ranked American male tennis player on the ATP tour. He is known for being laid back and a very good sport, and yet, he has a fiery competitive side. This is nice temperament to have for a professional tennis player. Isner competes with the best of the tour, but he also is down-to-earth, good person. John credits his family for helping him become a mature competitor.

In the ATP's Deuce magazine John talked about how his mother supported him during his junior years living in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"My mom was the perfect tennis parent," says Isner. "She was not too demanding, but always supportive. She encouraged me to practise tennis and basketball but she never forced me into any sport." (from John Isner: The Fire Within, Deuce)

Isner adds to the evidence that you do not need an overinvolved and controlling parent to be a professional tennis player. A parent can develop a good person and a good athlete.

Furthermore, I would suggest that Isner's intrinsic motivation (or fire) to compete is partially coming from the balanced support he received as a junior. He was able to develop his passion for tennis, never being forced to do something that he did not want to do.

Parents please remember this story. The next time you are upset because your child may want to take a break from a sport and you are thinking about forcing them to play, remember that intrinsic motivation or the fire does not come from someone telling you to do something. In the long run it has to come from the athlete. Ultimately, you likely are not facilitating the development of a professional tennis player but you are facilitating the development of a happy, healthy, decent adult that has passion for tennis and can use that passion to stay fit and enjoy life.


  1. Excellent point, Larry. I can't agree more with your analysis. The genius is within, not outside. It's so true in tennis, but also in every aspect of our life.
    Chris Mondor

  2. Thank you Chris, finally some one recognizes my keen analysis. In all seriousness you put it well - "The genius is within, not outside." Isner has a great draw so I am expecting a long run in to the second week of the Open.