Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Neverending Match at Wimbledon

© T. Hindley/Prosport

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut made history at the All England Club at Wimbledon this year during their epic first round match. They started playing their match on Tuesday and after it was 2 sets all, the match was suspended for darkness. On Wednesday, they resumed their match in the fifth set where there are no tiebreaks. Both men held their serves over and over and over again. 10 hours later, their match was suspended yet again for darkness. It was 59-59 in the final set. Today, they played about an hour amidst all of the buzz and media and finally John Isner d. Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68. Epic doesn't even begin to cover it. The numbers speak for themselves...

Lasting 11 hours, 5 minutes, including an 8-hour, 11-minute final set (over three days), their match is the longest tennis match played... ever. In fact just the fifth set alone would've broken the old record of 6 hours, 33 minutes. The old record of total games played is 122. Isner and Mahut combined won 183 games, 138 of those coming from the fifth set. Both men blasted past the old record of 78 aces served in a match, surpassing the century mark--Mahut 103, Isner 112. Finally, the previous longest fifth set in Grand Slam history is 21-19. That score looks absolutely small compared to their 70-68 final score.

What else is there left to say except to congratulate both players who held their serves 80+ consecutive times. It's too bad someone had to lose, but that's the nature of the game. Huge props to Mahut who had to endure a last-minute presentation that included on-court interviews and a photo op. Both are still playing doubles, which is remarkable in itself.

I'm already hoping for a rematch sometime soon. Also, who thinks Mahut should be given an automatic wildcard at next year's Wimbledon (if he needs it of course)?

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