It's hard to express the sheer awesomeness of Isner vs. Mahut
WIMBLEDON, England --
• It's a challenge to find the words to do justice to this surrealistic match -- even both combatants described it as dream-like -- a three-day infomercial for courage that ended
Much as we resist clichés, it is truly a shame there was a loser today.
There are winners and losers in sports -- those are the rules of engagement. We get that. But there's something almost cruel about being part of a global sports event and walking away, yes, with pride and respect and gelled head high, but no material trappings. You wish there were a slush fund that tennis leaders could dip into and somehow reward an effort that gave so much dignity to the sport.
• The post-match press conference contained some revelations, not least Isner's declaration that Wimbledon should not have a fifth-set tiebreaker.
"I don't think so," Isner said. "Nothing like this, it won't happen again. Not even come close, so I think just keep it the same."
Like most fans, he sensed the surreality: "Honestly, when I left the match, I really thought it was a dream. I didn't think that type of match was possible," he said. "So I was really expecting to wake up, in all seriousness. I didn't sleep great. I only slept for four hours. I talked to Nic. He said he only slept for about three. So we're both kind of running on fumes right now. Yesterday, I didn't know what I was thinking out there, especially once the match got past, you know, 25-all. I wasn't really thinking. I was just hitting a serve and trying to hit a forehand winner is the only thing I was doing. Fortunately, that was going in on my service games. He was serving great and hopping around eight hours into the match, which was remarkable."
Isner could not explain why the match went so long: "Obviously we both served really well," he said. "That's the main thing. But even in that case, you can't even imagine it going past 20-all. I don't know. I guess it was just meant to be or whatever. You know, I mean, in a way I'm kind of glad it happened, although I am pretty tired. It's pretty nice to be a part of that match."
Remarkably, Isner said he thinks he can still keep winning. "I'm going to do everything necessary to get myself ready for tomorrow," he said. "I know my opponent; he's not the freshest one either. Not nearly like me. But I think I can I definitely think I can win." Don't forget, too, that his next opponent,
• A big assist must go to
Says Marshall: "It was a team effort, the USTA, the ATP, it seemed like everyone in tennis [chipped in] to make sure both guys were ready to go. This shows how hard John works on his fitness during the year. He got through because of what he's done in the months leading up."