Every year, I religiously watch Wimbledon tennis coverage. I’m up at 6am for weekday coverage and I have “breakfast at Wimbledon”‘ 8am Sunday morning for the men’s final. Anyone who knows me, knows I love the sport. This year Wimbledon had one of its most exciting moments in tennis history. This past Tuesday a match was started between John Isner an American and Nicholas Mahut of France. The game was postponed due to darkness and scheduled to resume the following day. What happened overshadowed Wednesday’s events, including Queen Elizabeth II at Wimbledon for the first time in 30 some odd years. The two players were at 2 sets a piece, when they moved into the 5th and final set. Wimbledon does not employ a tie break on the final set, so the players have to slug it out until one breaks the other’s serve and then holds his own serve. Well, Isner and Mahut were tied, so the played and they played…. and they played. When they got to about 50 games a piece in the 5th, the scoreboard couldn’t keep up. These two players, neither player well-known or a big draw or the top players, suddenly had everyone’s attention. As tired as they were, they were making the shots, Isner had several match points, but to no avail.
Finally, darkness came again and the match was yet again postponed until Thursday. At this point they had played nearly 10 hours. Both players were exhausted, mentally and physically. Thursday both came back on the court to try to finish the match. After 11 hours and 5 minutes (some 5 hours longer then the previous longest match record) Isner broke Mahut and held his serve to win 70-68 in the 5th! He moved on to play the next day…. where he understandably lost in straight sets. But he along with Mahut will live on in tennis history with “that match that bumped the Queen off the headlines”. The two guys, most people hadn’t heard of outside of the tennis world, are in the world record books!
If you are interested in learning more about Wimbledon and its history you might want to try “Strokes of Genius” which is about one of the greatest men’s finals ever played between defending champ Roger Federer and “The King of Clay” Rafa Nadal. There is also “A Champion’s Mind” the biography of 7 time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras. And of course there is Wimbledon’s official website, which during the tournament gives the latest news and latest scores.