Isner, Mahut’s 11-hour grind
The world’s longest tennis match finally ended at Wimbledon on Thursday when John Isner claimed the incredible fifth set of a three-day epic against Nicolas Mahut 70-68 after 11 hours and five minutes on court.sports Updated: Jun 25, 2010 01:25 IST
The world’s longest tennis match finally ended at Wimbledon on Thursday when John Isner claimed the incredible fifth set of a three-day epic against Nicolas Mahut 70-68 after 11 hours and five minutes on court.
The American, seeded 23rd ended the contest with a backhand passing shot after another hour of play on Court 18 after the match had resumed at 59-59 in the deciding set after it was stopped by bad light on Wednesday.
“I am a little bit tired,” an elated Isner said after the match.
“When you play a match like this with an atmosphere like this you don’t feel tired. This crowd was fantastic.
“The guy (Mahut) is an absolute warrior. I want to share this day with him, it was an absolute honour. I wish him the best and see him somewhere down the road and it won’t go 70-68,” Isner said.
Isner completed an eye-watering 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 first-round victory with every vantage point taken by a packed crowd on Court 18. Isner fell to the ground in disbelief and after the two players hugged at the net Mahut sunk into his chair and covered his head with his towel.
“It was just amazing to play today,” Mahut said. “The crowd, the last three days were amazing. You were just completely fantastic. John deserved the win. He just served unbelievably.”
Isner served 112 aces, Mahut 103 as they both eclipsed the old world record of 78 held by Ivo Karlovic. The match had already beaten the record for the longest set, longest match, most games in a match and most games in a set.
The previous longest match was the six hours 33 minutes epic between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement at the 2004 French Open.
Umpire Mohamed Lahyani, who sat through the longest match without even a toilet break, actually wanted it to go on longer. “I sat there for 10 hours but I wanted them to go on to a hundred games each,” he told London’s Evening Standard as he left the court last night. “It has been an amazing game. It is something very special.”
But Isner’s mother, Karen, wasn’t excited by the length of the match. She said, “I can’t bear it - it shouldn’t happen. There should be tie breaks. This is crazy. Insane, “ she said.
“I just wanted him off the court. I wanted him to stop playing”.
A total of 114 balls have been used during their battle.