John Isner Returns to Action

February 18, 2014 04:43 PM

Isner Back in Action
Two-time Winston-Salem Open champ John Isner will return to the courts today for the first time since an ankle injury forced him to retire from his first round match at the Australian Open a month ago.

The 6-10 Greensboro native is the second seed at this week’s Delray Beach Open and will open play in tonight’s feature match against fellow American Michael Russell, who is coming off of a semifinal appearance last week in Memphis.

Isner reached the semifinals in Delray Beach last year and will be competing in a solid field with four other top 25 players, including top seed Tommy Haas.

Doubles Specialist
Who played at the Winston-Salem Open last year and has already beaten the top-ranked Bryan brothers twice in 2014? If you answered Eric Butorac, you’re right!

Butorac, an American doubles specialist who teamed with Frederik Nielsen to reach the semifinals in Winston-Salem last year, has been red hot to start the season. With new partner Raven Klaasan he reached his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, beating the Bryans in the Round of 16, and last week beat them again in the Memphis final to earn his 15th career ATP doubles title.

Known as “Booty” on the tour, Butorac played college tennis at Division III Gustavus Adolphus and has gone on to earn more than $1.2 million playing doubles, proving that successful pros can come from a variety of tennis backgrounds.

Klahn Climbing the Rankings
A glance at the ATP Rankings reveals that the third-highest ranked American behind John Isner and Sam Querrey isn’t Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Donald Young or any of the other young players who have been touted as the next American star – it’s the under-the-radar Bradley Klahn.

Klahn, a three-time singles and doubles All-American at Stanford, has been quietly climbing the charts since turning pro in 2012 to reach his current peak ranking of No. 66 in the world.

Despite playing in only 13 career matches on the ATP World Tour, Klahn has amassed ranking points in tennis’ lower levels, winning five Challengers and one Futures tournament in the past year in addition to reaching the finals in four others. His small sample size at the tour level makes it hard to predict where his career will go, but his is a name to watch as the season continues.