Statistically, it was one of his best serving years since joining the tour.
Nevertheless, he slipped nine spots down the rankings to finish 19th in 2019 with only one tournament victory coming at Newport in July.
Isner with his quality of serve will continue to be in the mix for top 30 again in 2020. Words that come to the forefront of my thoughts for him are giant, serve-machine, awkward and competitor.
Giant: Isner is 208 cm (6′ 11″) and towers above the majority of his opponents. Although his size is a massive advantage for serving, it is challenging for his movement and other areas of his game. He has trained very well to remain durable and consistent over his long career.
Serve-machine: Isner is a serving machine. His entire game is built around his serve even more so than most of his contemporaries. He consistently pounds down service winners from his giant frame. It is the biggest weapon in the top 30 – as an example, he makes around 71% of first serves and wins 81% of those points for a service game win rate of approximately 95%.
Awkward: Not surprisingly, he often looks this way when returning and moving around the court. He has a big turning circle and looks anything but an elite tennis player at times.
Competitor: Isner has a very determined and focused attitude on the court. He can always be relied upon to fight for every point until its time to shake hands at the net.
Likes: I enjoy watching him serve bombs under the highest of pressure situations. It is enjoyable to watch him play a top returner.
Dislikes: Outside serving, he is not an aesthetically pleasing player to watch. His matches can be quite dull to watch when he is playing another big server and points are short and keep going with the server.
Areas for improvement: Too many to mention, in reality, any aspect of his game outside serving could be improved. His statistics apart from the service place him well below the average top 100 players and his backhand is exceptionally poor. His homework is to work on a return strategy. He tends to have a high error count on return because he has worked to be more aggressive, but I would argue he should be making more returns that can get him to at least a neutral position. From here, he would be at least asking the question to his opponent to do something with the return.