Will It Ever End???

Written By: achangeofends - Jun• 23•10

I’m so glad that I didn’t sleep in this morning. I started the morning off watching the USA vs. Algeria football match. I’ve been following the World Cup pretty closely, so I didn’t mind that it preempted Wimbledon considering the position of the US team. As a quick side note, congratulations are due to team USA for finishing first in their group for the World Cup. World Cup matches may not be available on the big screens at Wimbledon, but the players are certainly following along in the locker room.

Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe the television sports package, so I couldn’t switch over to the channel showing Wimbledon. However, at noon I got to start watching some tennis. What I didn’t know was exactly how much tennis I was getting myself into. After checking out the Wimbledon website, I was expecting to watch Roger Federer’s match. I barely believed my eyes when I began watching the Isner/Mahut match and saw the scoreline. I’m sure that most people had the same reaction I did. I believe it was somewhere around 28-28 when I tuned in. I was hoping to get some things done today after I finished watching this match, but somehow, what I assumed would be at most 30 more minutes turned into a grueling battle that I’m not sure is ever going to end. At 9:10, tournament officials decided to call the match for a second night because of darkness. The score stands at 59 all in the fifth set. This match has shattered all previous records of match length, set length, and number of aces. My guess is this match will end fairly quickly in the morning as one of the players will probably recover slightly better overnight than the other. I’m not going to venture a guess as to who will win though. The big question at this point is what happens to the second round match for the champion of this epic. Since this match started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday, the winner will be scheduled to play the second round on Thursday as well. Maybe the Wimbledon directors will have a heart and give the guy and extra night, but I wouldn’t count on it, depending on how long tomorrow’s continuance goes on. Anyway, Thiemo de Bakker should be pleased after winning his five setter (although significantly less epic) because no matter who wins tomorrow, de Bakker will go into the second round much better rested than his opponent.

I think I’ve explained that this match is incredible, but I would really like to pay tribute to the effort that John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have put in to this battle. The last 30 or 40 games may not have been the prettiest tennis in the world, but playing seven hours of tennis in one day is a feat by itself. In seven hours, neither man faltered, neither succumbed to injury or exhaustion. By the end of the day, John Isner looked like a man who wanted to die, lumbering onto the court after the change over and stretching out a ridiculously long arm (he is 6’9”) and hitting a clean return. I guess he was saving any extra energy for when it counted. On the other hand, Mahut looked relatively un-fatigued, although at times both men seemed to be stunned by what was happening. Well into the night, Mahut was still launching himself into the air to hit the ball and picking himself up off the grass to start the next point. Ironically, in the end, it was Mahut who refused to continue play while Isner proposed they finish out the match under the lights of Centre Court. Like I said, the rallies may not have been the most exciting we’ve ever seen, but somehow these guys tired at nearly the same rate, neither having enough energy to finish off the other or yielding to the exhaustion and giving up the next game. I for one cannot wait to see the end of this match tomorrow, provided that ESPN actually shows the end of the match. I did not appreciate the Australia/Serbia World Cup match being show instead of the tennis match I had already invested several hours in just because it ran over its allotted time. I hope they get a lot of angry letters from tennis fans who feared they would miss the end of this match.

You may not recognize it, but the photo above is actually Court 18, where this match has been taking place, during the off season for Wimbledon. The courts look a little different when there are fans, a net, and the court has been outlined. In case you were wondering, all of the photos I use of the blog (unless otherwise stated) are my own photos from visits to various tournaments and locations (which is why they may not always match quite perfectly.)

It may not seem like it, but there was actually other news at Wimbledon today. Roger Federer was pushed to four sets by a qualifier. If you read my previous post, I’m not going to change my predictions just yet. Federer hasn’t lost yet and each match is a new start. Wimbledon sometimes has magic effects on people. However, that magic didn’t show up for Nikolay Davydenko, who was dismissed in straight sets by Daniel Brands of Germany. Well, that’s a name I don’t think we’ll be hearing much longer.

Centre Court should be extra exciting tomorrow. The Queen will pay her first visit to Wimbledon in over 30 years. For her viewing pleasure, the tournament directors have set up a star studded lineup: Andy Murray vs. Jarkko Nieminen, Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kai-Chen Chang, and finally Rafael Nadal vs. Robin Hasse. The three stars should have no trouble putting away these relatively unknown opponents and the queen should be home in time for an early dinner.

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