Isner vs. Mahut: Part 3
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!
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.
(To be continued…)