LONDON— Wimbledon 2010 – Sports enthusiast from different nations set their eyes in Africa for the World Cup, but on the other side of the globe, two unheralded players on a distant court at Wimbledon creating another sports history. The American, John Isner, and Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut, tore up the record books as their epic first-round contest that immediately became the longest match in the history of tennis.
The match was locked at 59-59 in the final set after 10 hours of exhausting match but surprisingly there isn’t a winner. The game was suspended because of bad light. The decision meant that, incredibly, the contest would go into a third day, having been called off at two sets all on Tuesday for the same reason. The classic match is scheduled to be completed on Thursday afternoon. But Wimbledon organizers may want to keep a court vacant for Friday, if necessary.
“Nothing like this will ever happen again,” said by exhausted Isner. “He’s serving fantastic, I’m serving fantastic. That’s all there is to it.” While Mahut added: “We played for too long.”
In the history of tennis, they smashed the previous record of six hours and 33 minutes set at the 2004 French Open, when Fabrice Santoro beat fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 16-14.
“It is reasonable to say that it is the longest official tennis match in history,” International Tennis Federation spokesman Nick Imison told AFP, and followed up that it was certainly the longest in the Open Era records.
“Someone has to win, we will come back tomorrow and see,” Mahut said while taking a breather.
Roger Federer, six-time Wimbledon champion, whose earlier second round win over Ilija Bozoljac was stunned by events on court 18, said: “I love this! I don’t know if I was crying or laughing. It was too much.”