Nicolas Mahut is in the news again — not for playing an 11-hour match at Wimbledon, and certainly not for his 2-4 tour win-loss record entering this week.
Mahut qualified this week at the grass court Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and today beat defending champion and No. 3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarters.
The Frenchman has accomplished virtually nothing at the tour level this year prior to this week, getting out of the first round at a tour-level event for only the first time weeks ago at the French Open.
Is it the better-than-solid serve? The sweet volley? What is it with the 33 year old and grass?
“I’m really happy with how I played, because last year I lost to him in the quarterfinals,” Mahut said. “I played really good tennis and today I played much better than last year.”
Mahut was the title winner at this tournament in 2013. Two years later he is so desperate for rankings points he has to play Challenger-level events just to get into tour-level qualifying at the upper-tier events.
Barely in the Top 100 right now, the Frenchman will have a golden chance at Wimbledon to climb back to a ranking that will regularly get him into tour events, since he has no points to defend from last year, losing first round at the All England Club.
Mahut’s claim to fame is the three-day, 11-hour Wimbledon match in 2010 against John Isner that the American won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68. Next month that match will come to life (sort of) on HBO in the form of the comedy-mockumentary “7 Days in Hell” starring former Saturday Night Live alumnus and tennis fan Andy Samberg, and Kit Harington of Game of Thrones.
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