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Isner vs. Mahut: Part 3

June 24, 2010

The most incredible tennis match in the history of tennis is probably going to come to an anti-climactic end tomorrow (Thurs, 6/24) on Court #18 at Wimbledon, but that’s no reason not to watch it.

The broadcasters and sports-writers covering it ran out of superlatives long before they suspended play (again) today, and eventually just started saying things like “incredible”, “unbelievable”, and “amazing”.  There really aren’t words to describe what has unfolded over the past couple days, so lemme give you a quick rundown:

The contestants are one John Isner (USA) and Nicolas Mahut (France).  John Isner is the #2 ranked player in America.  At 6’9″, he’s the tallest player on the men’s tour.  He’s ranked #19 in the world, and was seeded 23rd in this tournament.  Nicolas Mahut (“May Hoot”) is 6’3″, and is ranked #148 in the world.  He wasn’t seeded at all, and in fact, had to qualify to get in the tournament.  This type of matchup (#19 vs #148), while never a complete “walk in the park”, is usually -normally – a fairly routine, “3-sets, maybe 4, and done” type of deal for the heavily favored seeded player.

But not this match.  Not by a long shot.  Already this match has broken record upon record: longest match, longest 5th set, most points scored, most aces, most combined aces, etc.  And not just broken the previous records, shattered them.  At 7hrs and 6-min, the fifth set alone has already lasted longer than any tennis match in history (previous record: 6 hrs 28 min), and it’s still not over!

John Isner "pulling on his shorts" ~ You would be too if you played 7hrs of tennis

Think about that for a second: this match started on Tuesday.  They played 4-sets, and had to suspend play around 9pm London Time on Tues night.  Play resumed around 2pm today as they started the 5th set.  After 7-hours of play (I still have a hard time processing that), they had to suspend play once again with the score tied at 59-59.  That’s 59 games per player.  If we granted them 10-games for a typical, 6-4, one-break-of-serve set, that’s almost 12 sets worth of tennis in the 5th set alone!  Staggering. Incredible.  Unbelievable.  Amazing.

Find a way to watch this match tomorrow.  This isn’t about tennis anymore; this is about the will to win, and the ability to manage nerves under unimaginable pressure.  If you can’t get to a TV, see if you can pick it up on ESPN-360.

For more info, check out “Isner vs. Mahut Suspended for Second Day” on the NYT “Straight Sets” blog.  Also check out “Isner-Mahut Locked In Historic Match” on

Good stuff.

(To be continued…)


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2 Responses to “ Isner vs. Mahut: Part 3 ”

  1. Pancake on June 24, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This tournament is NUTBALLS CRAZY!! Great write-up. I’m in transit tomorrow so I won’t get to watch it as it plays out, but I hope you do a follow-up!

  2. anncine on June 24, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Jackson was telling me about this. Unbelievable. I think they should just sleep on the tennis court at this point since it appears to be their new place of residence. Very impressive super hero-type stuff here.