Monday, February 13, 2012

Davis Cup Stars Isner and Harrison Will Play in Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Ryan Harrison
  • Ryan Harrison
Memphians might get to see the next "best tennis player in the world" this month.

John Isner beat Roger Federer in a Davis Cup match last week but he won't be top seed in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship at the Racquet Club February 17-26th.

Isner beat Federer 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 on an indoor clay court in Switzerland, Federer's home. If anything the Racquet Club courts are more of an advantage for the 6'-9" Isner, who was runner-up in the tournament in 2010. Tournament director Peter Lebedevs said Isner will be seeded second or third based on his ranking this week. According to The New York Times, Isner is seen as a possible world top-ranked player in the near future.

Another rising American star, Isner's Davis Cup teammate Ryan Harrison, is also coming to Memphis, but the 19-year-old from Shreveport will have to fight his way through the qualifying tournament to earn one of four spots in the main draw. Harrison won his match 7-6, 7-6, helping the Americans to a 5-0 sweep.

Does this matter as far as putting fans in the seats? Maybe not, even though the worst seat at The Racquet Club is as close to the court as a $100 seat for a basketball game at FedEx Forum. The fact is there's SportsCenter material and there's everything else. Without Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic — or Venus or Serena Williams on the women's side — Memphis has a hard time expanding the tennis appeal.

Racquet Notes: Good story on Kane Waselenchuk in the Times this week. Waselenchuk is the top-ranked pro racquetball player, and played several times in Memphis. He had a streak of 137 wins broken due to an injury recently. Previously, the longest streak was 54 matches.

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