Ten hours over two days, 118 games, two suspensions due to darkness, and 881 points should be more than enough to decide a winner in any sports game. But it's not enough for American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
The two tennis players are still battling it out in their first round Wimbledon match, which was suspended for the second time on Wednesday and will resume on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. There is absolutely no question that this is the longest tennis match in history, in terms of games or time played, and both players seemed to know they were a part of something special.
â€œNothing like this will ever happen again," Isner said on Yahoo Sports. "Ever."
As everyone well knows from last year's 77-game final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, fifth sets in Wimbledon do not have tiebreakers. At this point, it is difficult to tell whether anyone, fans, players, commentators or otherwise, is wishing that rule had a provision attached to it.
Isner and Mahut first took to the court on Tuesday and were tied at two sets apiece when the match was called for darkness. The American had won the first set 6-4, but lost the next two 3-5, 6-7 and rebounded in the fourth 7-6. All that took a little under three hours.
On Wednesday at 2:04 p.m. the men stepped out onto the court again and the epic match restarted. So far the 23rd-seeded Isner has gotten 98 aces and 218 winners, but the 148th-ranked Mahut is close behind. He's gotten 95 aces and 217 winners. Even more impressive is the Frechman's ability to hold off the towering 6-foot-9 in all four match points Isner has had come his way. Mahut saved each one, and both men have managed to hold serve in the fifth set. Hence, the reason the match continues.
The previous longest match was 6 hours, 33 minutes in 2004 at the French Open. The most games played had been 112, set in 1969. Both of those records were broken in the fifth set alone. I don't know if there are any records left to break, but if there are, come Thursday afternoon I'm guessing they too will be history.