Despite the pleas of the crowd “We want more! We want more!” John Isner and Nicholas Mahut concluded the most ridiculously long tennis match ever.
The Wimbledon game began Tuesday and extended through Wednesday before being suspended due to darkness.
The match resumed at 59 all on Thursday.
“The fifth set on its own was longer any other game in history at this point… its pretty extraordinary,”
observed Scott Bordon, head of TV for the Laureus World Sports Awards, which are awarded annually to sportspeople who have been outstanding during the previous year.
The longest professional tennis match before today belonged to Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement in the 2004 French Open. Santoro finally prevailed after 6 hours, 33 minutes.
Other records fell, both men broke the record for Aces served by a single player in a match.
Even the electronic sign had enough after such a long match, finally unable to keep the high numbers. The chair umpire’s voice cracked at the 77th game and he needed a neck massage to keep up his record setting performance.
“It makes me proud to be a tennis player,”
said John McEnroe, working the BBC broadcast.
At the 40th game, American Andy Roddick tweeted:
“Seriously….. doesn’t anyone have to pee ? umpires included.”
(In fact, the two players only took their first bathroom break at 58-all, nearly six hours into the fifth set)
Wimbledon, like the Australian Open and French Open, does not employ the tiebreaker in the fifth set – although today’s match might create a movement to change that.