Thursday, July 11, 2013

Isner Bares All For ESPN's Body Issue

American John Isner plays tennis in the buff in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue, which annually celebrates the physique of athletes.

“This is something I never would've imagined myself doing,” he told ESPN The Magazine. “Tennis players aren't jacked like football players, but we are certainly in good shape, and if my photo shows that in any way, that will be good.”

The 6’9” Isner, who once used to call his belly his “reserve tank”, turned down ESPN’s offer to appear in the issue last year before mustering up his courage to be photographed nude in Palm Springs.

Though he shared that he’d “done a good job” of toning his stomach, he revealed the one area of his body he wish he could change.

“I would like to have a bigger chest, but right now, when I'm playing tennis, is not the time,” he said. “A big upper body is not a great thing for tennis, and for me, flexibility is important. But when I'm done playing tennis -- which is hopefully a long way away -- I'll have time to work on that.”

He also stated that the biggest challenge with his body was not his height, but rather “Keeping myself limber and not so stiff.”

“I've been on the tour now for six years, so I've played a lot of matches and spent a lot of time on airplanes,” he said. “When you take a long flight, you're sort of naturally stiff.

“Nowadays, I feel like I need to warm up five extra minutes to get myself feeling better. The most important part is lower-body activation to make sure my glutes and lower body are firing properly. That's when I'm feeling the best. I also travel with a chiropractor, and that's been beneficial. When we're on the road, he works with me every day.”

Isner is the first ATP player to feature in the Body Issue since James Blake, who joined cover girl Serena Williams in the inaugural edition four years ago. The 2013 issue has eight different covers, featuring the likes of 77-year-old golfer Gary Player, Olympic volleyball champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

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