Isner, Mahut staging most amazing Tennis first-rounder in Grand Slam history at Wimbledon

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut is so improbable, so thoroughly preposterous, one searches for comparisons. Suffice it to say that the fifth set of last year's classic Wimbledon final -- Roger Federer over Andy Roddick, 16-14 -- looks rather paltry just now.

Try 59-59 in the fifth -- and that's right, it's still not over.

Isner and Mahut strolled onto Court 18 this afternoon at the All England Club to resume a first-round match that had been suspended by darkness Tuesday evening, tied at two sets apiece. They spent seven hours and six minutes trying to finish -- and failed. Around 9:10 p.m., pretty much the cutoff point for any Wimbledon match, it was suspended once again -- tied at two sets apiece.

In case your eyes glazed over the first time, you read it correctly: 59-59. That doesn't even register in tennis; it sounds like halftime of an NBA game.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports

9 Comments
Posted June 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Kendall Harmon wrote:

When I first heard reference made to this today in a chat room I thought it was a joke.

Simply amazing.

June 23, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
2. Ad Orientem wrote:

That defies belief.  People will talk about it for years, even decades to come.

June 23, 7:04 pm | [comment link]
3. Vatican Watcher wrote:

And idiots out there think Wimbledon needs a fifth set tie-break… raspberry

June 23, 7:18 pm | [comment link]
4. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Astounding.  They each have held serve 59 times, unable to break the other.  98 aces for the American; 95 for the Frenchman.

But imagine the bind this puts the tournament organizers in.  The third round is tomorrow, but the second round can’t be finished until the winner of this first round match is decided, throwing the whole schedule off.

Too bad that whoever finally wins is at a serious disadvantage in the 2nd round, due to exhaustion from this unbelievable marathon.  If a novelist had written about such an endless match, or a sports journalist had fantasized about one even half as long, it would be derided as silly nonsense.  But truth really is sometimes stranger than fiction.

This tremendous contest shows just how deep the pool of talent now is in professional tennis, especially among the men.  And such a fierce level of competition is great for the sport.

David Handy+

June 23, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
5. Sidney wrote:

One player is 6’3”, the other is 6’9”.  No wonder they can it so many aces at 140 mph.

Time to move the baseline back 10 feet and make the game harder for the big guys.

June 24, 1:23 am | [comment link]
6. azusa wrote:

This is almost enough to make tennis interes…

June 24, 1:24 am | [comment link]
7. Chris Molter wrote:

How many guys above 6’2 have won a Slam recently?  Is there anyone in the top 10 above 6’4?  Delpo is the only one I can think of.  The serve’s a big weapon, but it’s definitely not the whole of the game.

June 24, 8:13 am | [comment link]
8. evan miller wrote:

Good for Wimbledon for keeping with the no-tie-break rule, but I truly pity the winnder of this match when he has to play in the next round.  As Fr. Handy points out, he’ll be at a serious disadvantage. Perhaps going back to wooden racquets could resurrect the serve and volley game for the men and curtail some of these big serve and baseline slugfests.  I actually heard Martina Navratilove suggest that a few years ago.

June 24, 10:10 am | [comment link]
9. Chris Molter wrote:

#8,  I’d love to see an exhibition with the current top 20 given wood racquets.  Honestly, I think Federer would clean house.. the other men rely too much on pure power and/or the amount of spin that comes with modern materials.  Women’s side, I think Henin would own the rest.. Venus might adapt her game to become rather Gibsonesque, though.

June 24, 10:57 am | [comment link]
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