Poor Nicolas Mahut. Probably was deflating enough that he lost his first-round match at the French Open. Then the Frenchman went to his news conference. That began with this curious exchange with a reporter, according to the official transcript, which wound up making the rounds on Twitter:
Nicolas Mahut: Congratulations? I lost.
Q. You lost? Okay. So what happened out there?
Nicolas Mahut: Are you serious? Did you watch the match?
Q. No, I didn't. I was told that you won. I'm sorry.
So much for John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut redux.
Those two men met in the longest match in tennis history - more than 11 hours spread over three days in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010, with Isner winning 70-68 in the fifth set - and then, incredibly, were forced to play each other in the same round at the same tournament a year later.
They were drawn last week to have a possible third career Grand Slam meeting in the second round of the French Open. But it won't happen, because France's Mahut lost his opener on Monday, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 to Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin. Isner, an American seeded 10th, won his first-round match on Sunday.
Mahut said the thought of facing the 6-foot-10 Isner once more did cross his mind, "because everybody talked about it".
"Obviously," Mahut added, "would've been very nice to have played Isner."
Said Isner: "We always seem to get near each other when it comes around this time of year. ... He's such a good guy, so I'm always rooting for him to win."