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Monday, June 28, 2010

Sport Thoughts(Isner Mahut)

Isner Mahut match

One of my earliest tennis memorys as a kid stems from during rain delays at Wimbledon, BBC would show footage of a classic tennis matches one that excited me (esp Sue Barker showing a unique smile before this one) was a 1969 SW19 match between Passarell and Gonzales, which was then the longest match in Wimbledons history! Now it was not just the lack of chairs tie breaks or the use wooden rackets that excited me, I used to wonder how long a set could go on minus tiebreak for before the players passed out as in theory could go on forever but reality near impossible, I thought maybe 42-40, it would take about over 10 years after watching this seeing my childhood question put to the test! At a first round Wimbledon match on Court 18

The set ended up being longer than I imagined and indeed longer than the previous 4 sets. Intresting players involved young up and coming American John Isner seeded Top 20 vs experienced French journeyman Nicholas Mahut a promising junior that had dropped a bit in rankings and had to qualify for Wimbledon with tough draw beating Britains Bodanovic in another marathon set 24-22 and former Top 20 Stefan Koubek to get to round 1!

Watching it was truly amazing on and off, first saw it at parents 28all and was truly amazed it was fun at first but as more games passed you wanted someone to end this set as looking more tired and spaced out. The state of the art scoreboard struggled to keep up to date with score even. They mostly aced each other or struggled to return serves towards the end. Eventually although looking more tired it was Isner that edged it 70-68 the longest tennis match in history, longest set, most aces, points games. So many records.

Even stranger was the on court presentations on Court 18 after the match, seemed like some bizarre final than a first round match. I imagine it was last thing Mahut would have wanted.

Mahut played doubles not long afterwards, while a tired injured Isner pulled out his second round match and is now the talk of chat chows news in the US! It shows how impressive the fitness levels of tennis pros are.

But praise to the pair of them for this strange, amazing classic encounter and will be nothing like it shame one had to lose.

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