Remember where you were when John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon says Al Dannity because this was a once in a lifetime event.
Before this week John Isner was the surprisingly little known US number 2 and Nicolas Mahut was just another qualifier likely to make an early exit from a Grand Slam. After four sets with just two breaks of serve there was no indication of what was to come.
This match on Court 18 evolved from a contest, into a marathon, and then a war. Two players with no record to speak of on grass suddenly found themselves in the greatest match of all time in the biggest tournament on grass, or indeed any surface, in the world. This fact wasn’t lost on the players “We just played the greatest match ever in the greatest place to play Tennis,” said a defeated and exhausted Nicolas Mahut after the match.
In the end someone had to win and Isner eventually triumphed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 70-68. Gracious in victory, the American had kind words for his opponent “The guy is an absolute warrior. To be able to share this day with him is an absolute honour and maybe it won’t go 70-68 next time,” said Isner.
How did this happen
It took a remarkable mix of factors for this kind of a match to occur. Even crazy long sets usually don’t reach a 30 game total because one player will give way to fatigue first. Their fitness level had to be remarkably tightly balanced to go this long, the same goes on mental strength. Isner and Mahut’s overall ability on the surface also had to be phenomenally close.
Finally all of this has to affect the way the duo played. As neither player showed a sufficient difference in fatigue, the difference in energy being expended on service games as opposed to return games increased.
There is no precedent
If there is one thing we know about Sports betting it’s that anything can happen and never has it been better demonstrated than this match. This epic didn’t just shatter Tennis records, it beat longevity records in all kinds of sports. The longest ever Boxing match was in 1893 between Jack Burke and Andy Bowen, lasting 7 hours 19 minutes. The longest ever Baseball game was a Triple A match between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981, lasting 8 hours 25 minutes, while the Major League record is 8 hours 6 minutes, set by the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers in 1984.
All of those times pale in comparison to this 11 hour 5 minute epic, shattering the previous record of 6 hours 33 minutes, set by Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement in 2004. Both players exceeded 100 aces, shattering the previous record of 78 which was held by Ivo Karlovic. The final set alone, lasting 138 games, shattered the previous record for most games in a match of 112. In all it took 183 games to decide a winner of what was undoubtedly the greatest match of all time.
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