Wimbledon 2010, Gentlemen's Singles 1st Round, John Isner (USA) beats Nicolas Mahut (France)
Score: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68
Match started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday, with a playing time of more than 11 hours with the final set itself lasting over 8 hours. On Wednesday as the final set reached the 20 all stage, everyone's attention had shifted to Court 18 at Wimbledon. Soon the score updates and match details were pouring out everywhere. My Twitter and Facebook timelines were flooded with score updates. And at 59 all the match had to be halted due to bad light. The commentator announced that the game would resume for a third day on Thursday and reminded everyone that this was not a cricket match but a game of tennis which is going on. Thursday was a historic day because the Queen was visiting Wimbledon for the first time since 1977. But attention was totally on the goings-on in Court 18. Isner and Mahut played 20 more games before finally Isner managed to break Mahut's serve in the 138th game to win the match.
Probably every single professional tennis record got broken. Longest Match, Most Games, Most Aces (both player broke that by a huge margin). In fact the final set itself was much longer than any tennis match ever played. The match already has a wiki page of its own now. The scorecard failed during the match as it could not keep up with the number of games. And the best twitter comment was about Norwegian officials rushing to Court 18 to negotiate a settlement between the players. It even managed to steal the headlines from the ongoing football world cup.
It was a remarkable game representing probably everything that is good about sport. Two players fought long and fought hard. Neither conceded an inch but they played in the right spirit. And what really stands out is that in the bigger context this match meant nothing. It was just a first round match. There were no trophies or big prize money to play for. The winner was most likely going to emerge too exhausted to may be even stand on his feet, forget playing in the next round. Which was exactly the outcome. Isner lost in straight sets in just over an hour in the second round. He was exhausted but he did come to play the 2nd round and completed it, thus showing true respect for his opponent Mahut. Isner later withdrew from doubles. Sometime in sports it seems unfair that there actually has to be a result. This was one such instance.
This post is for the two men who gave the world a remarkable game of tennis to be remembered forever. To John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.