There are no final set tie-breaks in Wimbledon (and the Australian Open), so if you're playing a final set, you better make sure you break your opponent early and hold serve throughout - otherwise, you're going to end up like Isner and Mahut. They played the final set for a grand total of six hours yesterday. The entire match, discounting the time they're spending on court right now, is about 10 hours long.
Of course, it's played over 3 days; but the very fact that the fifth set was played until 59-59 in the span of six hours? INCREDIBLE. How is it even humanly possible? How are they able to still serve aces after so long? Serving is straining on the back, and I bet they woke up today sore as hell; so how the hell are they still NOT BREAKING EACH OTHER RIGHT NOW?
All I can say is, whoever loses this match - as Roger says, there's got to be a loser - has my deepest sympathies. Imagine playing such an epic, marathon match, putting in so much effort to get the score to bloody 66-65 (as it currently stands, with Mahut to serve next), just to lose in the end. I don't even know who I support. I suppose I'd prefer the guy who can challenge Nadal to win - but then a-fucking-gain, I don't think either play would make it past the third round.
I'm just glad that the final last year mercifully ended at 16-14 final set. And I thought THAT was long - try 66-65.
HAHA I wonder if it'd stretch into the 70's. I think if I went to take a shower now and came back, they'd still be playing.
Gonna go watch the match now. They're actually showing something on Court 18. When has that ever happened? Incredible.
Oh, and Roger's through to the third round. He dropped a set, but he couldn't do anything against Bozoljac. The guy served aces virtually every point of the tie-break, and pretty much served his way into the tie-break.
Roger played pretty solid tennis though, yonks better than what he displayed in the first round. I think winning the opening set helped him. He's not very good at coming back from a two sets deficit to win, but winning the first set definitely gives him confidence.
Okay, gonna witness history!1111! now.
(PS. Poor Mohamed Lahyani - he was stuck in his chair for the whole six hours yesterday. AND THE SCORE BOARD BROKE BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY PROGRAMMED TO GO UP TO 47 GAMES HAHAHA. FUCK I LOVE WIMBLEDON. SO MUCH DRAMA!)
ETA 12.18 a.m.:
AND IT ENDS!
John Isner wins, 70-68.
Poor Mahut. Two bad volleys that he couldn't put away, and that was it. Got passed at the net twice, and then lost the longest match in tennis history. Isner was so happy that he fell to the grass, a la Roger when he wins the trophy.
Mahut looked quite sad. I started to root for him when the set dragged on, and he had 0-30 on Isner's serve in the previous game with some good play. Too bad he couldn't capitalise, but there was really nothing he could have done if Isner's serve was just too good.
Which it was. Many times I thought Isner was going to collapse from fatigue - his movement was sluggish, he couldn't run after the ball, and he was left wrong-footed at the baseline many times. I thought it'd come down to physical exhaustion - but kudos to him for keeping it together long enough to get a match point, then focusing enough to convert immediately with a nice passing shot.
This is one of those rare times when I wish someone didn't have to lose. Poor Mahut, really. After all that monumental effort.
But how often do you get to say that you played the longest match in the history of tennis? None of the top players have that distinction, and his picture with Isner, Mohamed Lahyani, and the score board will be kept in the Wimbledon museum forever. And prior to this, no one knew who he was; now everyone knows that he played the longest match in tennis history.
Matches like these, and the pure class and grace displayed by both players, really warm my heart. Isner was so kind to Mahut at the net, hugging him when players usually shake hands, and the tournament actually gave them souvenirs after the match. Isner said many nice things about Mahut. I suppose you can be cynical and say that it's easy for him to be gracious 'cause he won; but I think it's more difficult to be gracious when you're the winner, especially after such a long, historic match. He could've talked all about himself and basked in the glory of his win, but he immediately gave credit to his opponent.
This match has made me like Isner. I never really cared about him because he seemed like another big-serving (he's the tallest guy on the ATP at 6 feet 9) American one-trick pony and him being so tall means that his movement isn't as quick or as graceful as a player with normal height. Whatever I caught of his matches also bored me significantly.
But it's nice to see players hang in there, not give up, and just stay the course. I can't even fathom how the two of them managed this feat, because whenever I play tennis, I don't ever bother pushing myself past my limit. This is true for all other aspects of my life too. If I'd been one of them I would've given up like 50 games ago.
But they stayed the course, and were so gracious afterwards. Isner especially impressed me with the huge amount of credit he gave to his opponent. And Mahut, well, I hope nothing but the best for his career.