Longtime Georgia men’s tennis coach Manny Diaz has seen his former players go on to compete at such august events as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open and the Davis Cup.
But this week, Diaz will have a former player hunkering down where no other ex-Bulldog netter has ever been — the Olympic Games.
John Isner, who from 2004-2007 was an eight-time All-America selection and led the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA championship, will make history as the first Georgia tennis player to ever reach the Olympic Games, which this year are being held in London.
“It’s a big honor for John and it’s a big honor for UGA to be represented by John” said Diaz earlier this week. “It’s the biggest honor to be representing our country. I think John feels that way, and he mentioned it to me last summer, as early as a year ago. And when he learned that he was going to be asked, he was ecstatic. It’s a great honor to be involved with the world’s greatest athletes of all sports.”
The highest-ranked American in the world at No. 11, the 6-foot-9 Isner is one of 25 current or former Georgia athletes appearing in this year’s Games. At the All England Club in London, he’ll play singles and will form a doubles team with Andy Roddick (ranked 22nd) and will be joined by fellow Americans Bob and Mike Bryan, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison on the U.S. men’s team.