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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Georgia's Isner Keeps Going... And Going... And Going...

I have no idea how to put into context how ridiculous the match between Georgia's John Isner and France's Nicolas Mahut was at Wimbledon today. More importantly, I have no idea how to put into context how amazing the efforts of those two men were. The match became more riveting every second, and as the two fought on and on and on and on… it was absolutely sports at their best.

Huge credit to Mahut, who served to simply stay in the match throughout. Credit to Isner, who appeared to not want to call it a day when the ref suspended the match -- thus putting it into its THIRD day -- due to darkness.

It was the longest match ever, both in terms of time and games. Not by a little bit. But nearly doubling both previous Wimbledon marks.

It was an absolute marathon to watch. The two men were nailing one ace after another -- each have nearly doubled the previous Wimbledon marks -- and neither had the energy to break the other's serve. You might think that the night off could finally allow them to regain strength and put this to an end tomorrow… but how sore are they going to be when they wake up in the morning? I can't fathom.

Anyway, here's a bit of perspective:

My favorite all-time sporting event to watch was probably the Syracuse-Connecticut six-overtime game two years ago during the Big East tournament. That lasted a grand total of 3 hours and 46 minutes -- more than six hours shorter than Isner and Mahat's match that still isn't over.

Isner and Mahat have played 163 games (and counting) in their match. Last year, Roger Federer needed only 264 to win the entire two-week tournament.

For a little Georgia perspective: Isner's match has lasted (so far) 9 hours, 58 minutes. Georgia's football team had a total time of possession of just 6 hours, 23 minutes the entire 2009 season. Jeremy Price, Georgia's starting forward for much of the season last year, played a total of 9 hour, 18 minutes all year.

For some historical context, the longest professional baseball game in history was played in 1981 between Pawtucket and Rochester (a game that featured Cal Ripken, as a matter of fact). They played 33 innings (32 one day, 1 inning the next) and Pawtucket won 3-2. The total time of that game was 8 hours, 25 minutes -- more than 90 minutes less than Isner's still ongoing match.

And let's say that you started watching the match in Atlanta but thought to yourself, "Boy, I wish I could enjoy this in person." Well, that wouldn't have been a problem. Because while Isner and Mahut have been playing for nearly 10 hours, a flight from Atlanta to London takes only about eight.

Seriously, this was one of the most remarkable sporting events I've watched in quite a while, and while I'm far from the world's biggest tennis fan, I'll definitely be glued to my TV to watch the conclusion tomorrow.


jm from louisville said...

the greatest athletic competetion and battle of the wills i have ever witnessed.



Andy said...

The sad thing is that the winner will be so spent that he will have little chance of winning the next round. I can't imagine having such an emotionally and physically draining match, and then playing out the rest of the tourney at top form.

Ginny said...

Epic doesn't even begin to cover it. There really are no words for how historic this was. I wonder just how many total records were broken.

My family and I have been Isner fans for years...since he played for UGA. I went to school the same time as him and my roomie and I used to talk to him in the dining hall. He was pretty hard to miss. One time, I was at Loco's with my parents and he was there and I got him to come to our table and introduced him to my dad. My dad was starstruck and Isner was sooo nice and humble. Great guy and DGD. He still reps UGA gear all the time. I will be crushed if he doesn't finish the drill tomorrow but I can't imagine how either of them could even lift their raquets after today. Truly amazing. Makes me feel like the most out of shape person ever.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of Isner. I hope he recovers in the short term and the long term. Great test of wills.

Jameson Hayes said...

Mr. Hale:

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