Practice Partner: Isner ‘Pretty Sweet’

John Isner told us yesterday that he’d be practicing with a left-handed junior to prepare for his fourth-round match tomorrow against Fernando Verdasco, a power leftie. We caught up with the lucky junior, 17-year-old Evan King, after they hit on Practice Court 2.

King called the experience “pretty sweet” and had nothing but praise for Isner. “The guy’s incredible,” he said. “When he doesn’t even try, he bounces his serve over your head.” Did he give Isner a cross-court workout? “Hopefully.”

King himself doesn’t play for a couple of days. He’s the top-ranked player in the USTA Boys’ 18-and-Under group, and he’s competing here–and hitting with the pros–while his fellow freshmen move into their dorms at the University of Michigan. He was clean-shaven, but that’s a recent development. “Coach is making me shave [my beard],” King told, a Michigan sports site, last week. “He says it’s all about representing Michigan. He doesn’t want me to look like a bum.”