Isner, in turn, envied Rochus' speed and maneuvering, and, while he knew his height was an advantage – one of Isner's second served bounced high over Rochus' head, Rochus's height can be a plus as well. While Rochus played most shots "at his hip," Isner said, "I was hitting balls from my shoelaces."
Isner overcame the historical odds this week to become the first top seed to win the tournament since the event's inaugural year, 1976. The "No.1 curse" had also been known as the "Casino Curse," as the Hall of Fame grounds are on the site of the Newport Casino.
Isner picked playing in Newport over attending his older brother Nathan's wedding in "the middle of nowhere" in Virginia. And, while Nathan had no issue with Isner's choice, the bride, Kerrie Jo, was "maybe a little less understanding." Isner's winner check will contribute to appeasing the newlyweds – he is paying for their honeymoon as a wedding present.
Boys Gone Wild
Tournament Director Mark Stenning should be patting himself on the back, not only for running a successful tournament, but also for his prediction skills. Not only did wildcard John Isner win the tournament (perhaps that was key to Isner's defeat of the "Casino curse" – would-be top seed Grigor Dimitrov lost in the Second Round), but fellow wildcards Matthew Ebden and Ryan Harrison surprised by winning the doubles title, beating fourth seeds Johan Brunstrom and Adil Shamasdin in the Final, 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.
What do retired top players discuss when they see each other? Beauty secrets, of course. Andre Agassi was seen Sunday complimenting Todd Martin on his shape ("You look great!") and enquiring about work out regiments.
Exhibiting Verbal Skills
On Sunday morning before the Singles Final, the latest inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Andre Agassi, paired with former coach Brad Gilbert to face Australian doubles legend Owen Davidson, who was inducted in 2010, and Todd Martin in an exhibition. Agassi and Gilbert won the pro set, but their time on court was hardly a serious affair. Wearing microphones and only following match rule half-heartedly, the players delighted the spectators.
Here are some of the most memorable moments of the fan-pleasing affair:
- Andre Agassi may claim to stand for helping children reach their potential, but he was all for stifling that of several ballgirls and a teenage line judge in the match by jokingly berating their skills. At one point, as one of the girls tripped getting to a ball, Agassi kneeled down to show her how to properly tie her shoes.
- Todd Martin also got on his knees, to serve, after Brad Gilbert kept suggesting the 6'6'' Martin try to understand how the diminutive singles finalist Rochus would feel serving on Center Court later in the day.
- Agassi's next stop after Newport was to be the Boston Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park yesterday, and when a red-and-white-colored plane flew over the court, the match announcer said, "Andre, your ride to Fenway is here." "Looks more like a Medivac," joked Gilbert. When the plane came about some minutes later, Owen Davidson said, "Hope there's room for four!"
- Agassi, after failing to hear a call, "Was I the only one drunk last night?"
- For the day's awkward moment: After Gilbert completely whiffed on a return swing, he blamed the bad ball bounce on the miss. "Gotta blame somebody," joked Gilbert. "Andy Murray," said Owen Davidson quietly to Murray's former coach.
- After Todd Martin joked that he'd like a Corona beer, a yell came from an off-court cart selling the tournament sponsor's beer, "Would you like lime with that?" Sure enough, a can of beer soon appeared, and Martin proceeded to set it up on court to use as target practice on Agassi's service."
- After the conclusion of the match, organizers came up with an idea to auction off the players' autographed racquets for the benefit of the Hall of Fame. The winning bid for four invaluable racquets, including the first one that Agassi used as a Hall of Famer - $13, 000; that's $750 more than Doubles Titlists Ebden and Harrison received.
For more photos from Sunday, please CLICK HERE