Big John reveals he's a Dockers fan


If only John Isner was born in Australia.

At 2.06m tall, with good overhead ball skills and the remarkable stamina to be able to run for more than 11 hours, AFL talent scouts would have drooled over the American as a teenager.

But the fact he comes from a country that mostly doesn't know where Australia is on the globe yet alone have an affinity with its national football code, hasn't prevented Isner from developing a love for the game, on his way to an international tennis career.

And he proudly pledges that he is a Docker.

While representing the US in the Hopman Cup at the Burswood Dome, Isner revealed his passion for AFL and displayed an extraordinary amount of knowledge on Fremantle for someone who has never seen the purple live in action.

Isner's roommate during his time at University of Georgia was WA's Strachy Bobusic, who naturally had a keen interest in AFL. Bobusic is Isner's hit-up partner at the Hopman Cup.

"I love all sorts of football and I actually barrack - I like that word - I barrack for the Dockers," Isner said after the US's first-round tie against France, which the Americans claimed 3-0 on Monday.

"My college roommate Strachy is from Perth and he's a Kangas guy. He'd be playing that stupid fight (theme) song at 3am in our apartment. We would also watch the grand final at 3am too. That's how it all got started."

So why choose the Dockers when there were other teams to influence his decision, some with some strong internal lobbying from Bobusic?

"When I first came here it was either the Dockers or the Eagles. I figured everyone seems to pull for the Eagles so the Dockers seemed to be forgotten. So I went for them," Isner said.

"It stinks I won't be able to go to a game while I'm here. I went to a Twenty20 game last year but the Warriors aren't in town this year so I'm disappointed."

Isner hopes strong results on the Australian circuit, including the Open in Melbourne later this month, will lift him towards a top-10 placing in 2011. His highest ranking was 18, one position lower than his current spot.

But the 25-year-old with the booming serve became a remarkable anecdote in tennis history when he and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut took 11 hours, five minutes to complete their first-round clash at Wimbledon last year.

Isner eventually won 70-68 in the fifth set.

The pair resumed their hostilities at the Dome on Monday. Fortunately, the clash this time lasted just 90 minutes but the result also went to Isner, 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Isner said he and Mahut now had a bond they would share forever.

"We've become really good friends off the court," Isner said.

"You ask him. Before the match we never spoke one word to each other. Now we text each other quite often and I've got to know he really is a class act.

"It was fun to play him again."

"We'll share that moment for the rest of our lives and I'm sure we'll share that contact even after we're done playing tennis."