Still, this could be the proverbial game-changer for Isner. Already he is on the cusp of the top 20, a player on the ascent whose age (25) is mitigated in tennis years by the fact that he played college tennis and only turned pro three years ago. In a sport that requires such mental fitness, how does he not draw confidence in the future, in the knowledge that he prevailed 70-68? (Once you've been to 68-68 and pulled, how bad is a third-set tiebreaker?) I suspect many players would gladly swap a few rounds of wins for a self-esteem boost like that. Isner will take some time off to heal both his body and spirit. But when he returns to the hard courts this summer, he may well do so as a different player.
• Any other year,
• Before the Federer-Nadal juggernaut, the last player to win Wimbledon was...
A few questions:
• Amen. For the USTA, this is an easy way to generate a lot of good will and do right at the same time. We spoke yesterday of the unfairness, Mahut generating so much interest and good will for tennis and then leaving the court with nothing but a first-round loser's check (and a souvenir bowl.) But look at it this way: because of that match, he'll get wild cards at the French Open, a likely wild card at Wimbledon and, if David's wise recommendation is followed, another at the U.S. Open.
• Those are my only choices? Can I downgrade "stupidity" to "insensitivity"? The club really tries to see to it that all potential finalists have at least one "tune up" on Centre Court. So that adds a wrinkle to the scheduling. Also, I liked
• I'm told that Mahut didn't mind and was, in fact, eager to leave court 18 a winner.
• Several of you suggested that. I'm not sure I'd advocate renaming courts, but I like the idea of reserving him a wild card for next year.
• Someone else asked this, too. I'm showing
• Tons of you disagreeing with me and taking Blake's side in this one. I'd say it's running 9-1 anti-Shriver. Should Shriver have spoken in a quieter voice? Yes. Was her response unnecessary? Yes (though she was on live television). But Blake needs to let that go. It was an affront to tennis etiquette, some of you wrote. Fine, but so is the J-Block. My tennis colleague
• Can't they both be heroic in their way? No one's comparing a 70-68 tennis match to valor in the face of a terrorist attack; no one is equating serving aces to saving lives. But I'd contend that playing a match like that, and winning and losing with such grace, qualifies as "heroic," if on a totally different scale from firefighters and others risking lives.