Wedding invitations tend to have two reply options that are something like "accepts with pleasure" or "declines with regret." John Isner could have used a third: "It depends on whether I make the semifinals of the only major grass court tournament in the United States."
The 26-year-old American was planning on going to his older brother's wedding on July 9 until he received a wild card into a tournament in Newport, R.I. Isner debated whether to take it and skip the nuptials. Ultimately, he did accept the entry to the tournament but had a contingency plan that would have allowed him to play in the event and make the wedding.
He said to reporters:
"I told myself I was going to take the offer here and the only way I was going to miss the wedding was if I got to the semifinals. "If I'm in the semis, that's great. It's going to stink that I'm going to miss the wedding, but if I'm not in the semis, I can make the wedding. It definitely turned out to be a great decision.
Isner got to the semifinals and missed the wedding. Any disappointment was erased the next day, when he defeated Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-6 to win the tournament. It was the second championship of his professional career.
If I'm Isner, I'm making sure my other older brother schedules his wedding for the second weekend of the U.S. Open just in case there's something to this. Baptisms can be slated for potential round of 16 matches, Bar Mitzvahs for Davis Cup ties. Any match that isn't a first-rounder at Wimbledon against Nicolas Mahut should have a family function fall on the same day.
For what it's worth, Isner said Nathan was cool with the whole thing.�"He understands," Isner said. "His fianc�e, his wife now, maybe not."
Her disappointment might be curbed by the fact that Isner has said he'll be paying for the newlywed's honeymoon. Plus, while having John there doubtlessly would have been nice, the bride can take comfort in the fact that her brother-in-law's 6-foot-9 frame would have made for some asymmetrical wedding pictures.