2010 Wimbledon Coverage
Day Three Thoughts
I was all set to come home and write about a full day of tennis at Wimbledon. You know, the sun shining on the pristine lawns, sending that aroma of soil and chlorophyll up through the stands and across the grounds as hope sprung eternal for the remaining players on the court. I even woke up early, deciding to get old business out of the way. Flipping on the computer, I dialed up Court 18. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut were warming up, preparing to resume their first-round encounter which had been forced to suspend play the prior evening after the completion of the fourth set.
Of course, when I wrote this yesterday -- "Seeded one higher [than #24 Marcos Baghdatis], John Isner was sitting at two sets apiece against France's Nicolas Mahut when play was suspended for the evening to resume tomorrow. He would return to play another day, hoping to avoid the same fate as his fellow 25-year-old..." -- I had never expected that today would end with an early ouster avoided but without any resolution to which of these two men would advance to play Thiemo de Bakker in the next round.
It's funny to think that the Dutchman, who himself was coming off a 16-14 fifth-set survival against Santiago Giraldo and will certainly relish this resting period as his opponent is lined up, might end up getting cold after having to sit on the sidelines so long between matches. Yet here we are...
It was a record-shattering day at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon today, as Isner and Mahut spent seven hours on court without any decisions finalized as to who would emerge the winner. Their fifth set alone, yet to be completed after the encroaching nighttime forced a second straight deferment of play with the score all knotted at 59-59. Think about that... 59-59. It is a scoreline wholly unfamiliar to tennis, something unprecedented that will be looked back upon decades from now as some absurd anomaly... or perhaps even the turning point when staid old Wimbledon finally decided to revise its rules on fifth-set tiebreakers in extreme circumstances of this nature.
I find it hard to write all the superlatives, especially given that the match will begin anew at 6:30 am here on the Pacific coast of the United States and the records will even grow further. But the single-day records suffice at this moment. Coming into the fifth set, Isner and Mahut had played 2:52 yesterday. In that time span, they completed 45 games (including tiebreaks in the third and fourth sets) and played four sets.
On Wednesday, Isner and Mahut played 118 games, shattering the previous record of 83 games played by Andy Roddick in a win over Younes El Aynaoui in the 2003 Australian Open... and that was for a full match, including a 21-19 fifth set. Their 7:06 on the court just today shattered the prior match length record of 6:33, set by Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement at the 2004 French Open.
Currently at 163 games and counting, with 9:58 elapsed on the clock before the timer starts back up tomorrow, all that's left now is to finally crown a winner...
STAY TUNED FOR ALL MY THOUGHTS ON THE THIRD DAY OF THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS!