The numbers speak for themselves. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have shattered every record ever recorded in a single tennis match. And I’m sure everyone’s already read about all the aces, hours, winners, etc., that’s been topped. With 118 games in the final set already played, they’ve more than doubled the previous record of 48 (for a singles match).
There are some people who are blaming the awful return games of each guy for the length of this match. I have to agree. Yes they’re awesome servers, but neither one is returning nearly as well as they should be. But they’ve always been bad returners. Yet they’ve broken hundreds, if not, thousands of players over the course of their careers/lives. And here we are, each one has held over 70 straight times.
If nothing else, this is a testament to impalpable determination. We’re always talking about how tough and gritty someone like Rafael Nadal is. But here is Mahut, ranked outside the top 100, had to qualify for the event, nearing the end of his career at age 28, fighting like a dog for a place in only the SECOND round.
And his much taller but four years younger opponent is fighting JUST as hard for only his second CAREER win on grass. This has never been witnessed before in any sport or game or anything. It’s just incredible. For once I wish tennis was more like soccer and players could draw because this match is just that – a draw.
I’ve played plenty of tennis matches in my life. I’ve played plenty of other sports and games, too. I’ve had to study some of the most difficult subjects, taken some of the most difficult exams. And to witness these guys concentrate and not give in at all is unreal. For 7 hours today, both Mahut and Isner have kept their eyes on the prize without blinking for even a second.
We’ve all seen some incredible feats over the last 100 years since professional sports have become an intricate part of society, but we’ve never seen something this extraordinary. And like Isner said, “Nothing like this will ever happen again. Ever.”
This isn’t the greatest match of all time in terms of quality. It’s not the most significant match in tennis, even for the two playing it. And it’s for a place in just the second round of the tournament. And, again, in terms of numbers and statistics, it is maybe the most historic match in history. But if nothing else, at least for me, this is the most inspirational spectacle I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
Congratulations and good luck to both players tomorrow. I hope they both have a successful recovery for tomorrow and for the future.
My new motto is, “If Isner can hit 98 aces, then I can…”
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