Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Most Gentlemanly Match Ever Played

John Isner of the United States and Nicolas Mahut of France have completed the Most Gentlemanly Match Ever Played.

The Tennis dual lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes.

The first four sets lasted 45 games. The match was then suspended on Tuesday, June 22th.

The match resumed on Wednesday which featured on of the most impressive set in Tennis history. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut went back and forth starting at 2:30 PM London Time and continued until just after 9 o'clock.

It was during this miraculous set in which we realized that we were witnessing something special. Isner and Mahut blew by tennis records by the dozen. Match time, games played, and aces were a few of the notable records surpassed.

The class and heart each player exemplified during this marathon fifth set is what made it such an incredible match. It was rare to see either man complain about a call; any quarrels were well justified. Isner - the biggest man at Wimbledon stands tall at 6'9" and 250 lbs - seemed exhausted but managed to continue to muster up the energy to maintain the match with his forceful serve. Isner's boldness to attempt his first serve after a fault gave him an edge several times in the lengthy fifth set. Once Isner's serve was wearing out he managed to unless a powerful forehand.

Mahut played absolutely brilliantly. Before the third day, there had not been a won break point since the second set. Mahut played the entire fifth set down as he was continually was burden by being four points away from a devastating loss. Throughout the second day, Mahut seemed to have the advantage as he came closer to breaking Isner several times. The energy Mahut exerted was incredible. Mahut had to match Isner's strength with his own craftiness. Mahut memorably dove twice for balls that were out of reach. Each time he was applauded for his efforts. The first time Mahut dove, Isner could do nothing but smile at Mahut's efforts.

Their class was epitomized when a bathroom break was finally asked for as the sun was waning. Both competitors had gone the entire day without bathroom breaks and had only a few snacks to eat. The two exchanged a few polite words on their way to the bathroom which showed the conciliatory nature of the match.

The match was suspended again tied at 59-59 in the fifth set, but not without much protest from the crowd.

This dual was finally completed on Thursday, June 24th. After 11 hours and 5 minutes, after 138 games in the fifth set, after 183 total games, after 112 Isner aces, after 103 Mahut aces, after exemplar class and relentless effort, The Final score line read (I'd like to mention that the stadium score line ended after 47-47 in the fifth set): 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.

Isner won the fifth and historic set thus clinching the match; however, there were no losers on Court 18.

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