I didn't witness a minute of this history-making, 11-hour match because of work. It's no excuse. I should have fired up the ESPN3.com feed and said to hell with work, but I'm a coward. The point is the John Isner and Nicolas Mahut Wimbledon match will go down as the best sports story of the year. Unless Team USA wins the World Cup, but it will still be close.
People who don't follow tennis, a match going 70-68 in a set and lasting 11 hours is beyond ridiculous. It's a struggle to even find an accurate analogy to another sport. Imagine a college football game going into 20 overtimes. Or a baseball game going at least 100 innings. That's basically what these two athletes did over the past three days.
I won't recite all of the stats, but both players had more than 100 aces. Most Grand Slam champions will not have that many aces in a tournament. Granted, Wimbledon is on grass and results in more aces than any other surface. But it's still an absurd number of aces. Andy Roddick would have had more than 200, but we're digressing.
One of the big winners of this match was neither Isner or Mahut (obviously, seeing that he lost), but was Thiemo De Bakker. That's the man Isner plays in his second round match. De Bakker has been resting and patiently awaiting his for an opponent since Tuesday. It would be stunning if Isner wins that match. The effort and emotion put into winning such a close contest really drains a tennis player. Multiply that by drainage by 15, because that final set was about 15 times longer than the average tennis set. Hell, it was about four times longer than most tennis matches!
Jim Caple of ESPN's Page 2 took an interesting spin on the match by observing multiple sporting events that took place during the match. You can read it here.
Jackson Browne - Running on Empty
I watched it this morning. To be honest, Isner was the one who looked gassed. Mahut had one opportunity at 0-30, and Isner came up with more big serves. The last game seemed to me like Isner just said I can't do this much longer, I am going to go for broke and it worked. He was struggling to return serves and in that game he didn't seem to have much of a problem with returns. Helluva of a match, Mahut was extremely gracious in defeat and a great win for the Greensboro-native.ReplyDelete