Big John Isner of the U.S., standing at 6 feet 9 inches, along with his opponent, Nicolas Mahut of France, gave everyone a reason to cheer at Wimbledon on Thursday, June 24. These two players made history by playing the longest match ever in tennis history. It all started on Tuesday, June 22, after a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes. In the end, the scores were 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. In the fifth and final match, Isner’s backhand sailed by Mahut as he charged the net.
After all the media hoopla with the famous Isner-Mahut match making tennis history, there is still a Grand Slam tournament going on. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have to now compete in other doubles matches that were postponed earlier due to their lengthy singles match.
Now for Isner’s second round, after three exhausting days, with the final match lasting eight hours and 11 minutes on Thursday, he then played at noon on Friday, June 25, against Thiemo de Bakker of Netherlands. Unfortunately, Isner lost in the second round without serving a single ace in just 74 minutes. It was extremely obvious he was still exhausted, even though he had momentum. He also required medical attention for his neck and shoulder during this second round match. To make matters worse, Isner is still scheduled to play in a doubles match with Sam Querrey on Friday. Coincidentally, Nicolas Mahut was scheduled for a doubles match on Court 18 that was later played after the historic singles. He and doubles partner Arnaud Clement lost in the first set 6-7 (4) after the match was suspended for the day.
This is not the first time Wimbledon or the Grand Slam has seen a lengthy match during the first round of the men’s singles. In 1969, two Americans, Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell, battled it out for five hours and 12 minutes. What is remarkable about the first 1969 record-breaking match at Wimbledon is that Gonzales was 41 years old and Pasarell was 25. However, in 2004 at the French Open, two Frenchmen, Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement, played for six hours and 33 minutes. It’s interesting to note that Mahut and Clement are currently doubles partners at Wimbledon. Now, they have both participated in historic tennis matches.
As far as the impact on the rest of the Wimbledon Championship, it’s not surprising that Isner eventually lost due to sheer exhaustion. In the event another match goes into overtime, something needs to be changed as far as contingency plans for re-scheduling and adequate recuperation for the tennis players involved. The Middle Sunday on June 27, which is a day of rest and relaxation, may see a rare scheduled match. Granted, the Wimbledon Championships received more media attention than usual in its first round due to history being made with the longest professional tennis match. Otherwise, it will be business as usual.
Diane Pucin, Wimbledon: After three days, American John Isner prevails in longest tennis match ever., Los Angeles Times
Phillip Chan, “Wimbledon 2010 and the Longest Match Ever Played”, Associated Content
Stephen Wilson, Marathon man Isner loses in 2nd round at Wimbledon, The Associated Press
2010 Wimbledon Championships, Wikipedia