Thursday, 24 June 2010

WombleTown: ‘In Search of Lost Break Points’ and other Proustian Endeavours (Epilogue)



» Longest match ever played (11 hrs 5 mins)

» Longest set ever played (8 hrs and 11 mins, itself longer than the previous longest match)

» Most games in a set (138)

» Most games in a match (183)

» Most aces served in a match by one player (Isner 112)

» Total aces served in a match (215 - Isner 112 + Mahut 103)


It will never be repeated again. Should it?


Andy Roddick bought and hand delivered a bucket of Italian food to John Isner last night.


I’m hoping a bunch of French players buckled down and did something similar for Mahut.


With their World Cup dream in tatters and their squad, by the sounds of it, in shambles, I’d say France could do with a hero right now. And they could do a lot worse than Nicolas Mahut,


I was backing Mahut if that’s not already obvious. Nothing against Izzy but I felt the height advantage and that of serving first meant the numbers were stacked against Nico from the get-go. Whenever that was.


I suspect only tennis nerds knew this match was even happening when it started out on court 18 a couple of days ago.


By the close of play yesterday, even Izzy’s fumes were running on fumes.


2 days, 11 hours and 16,000 calories later we have a result.



To those that say “it’s just not cricket”, or even tennis, for that matter, I say you’re absolutely right.


You may or may not believe in mandatory tie-breaks at 30 or even 50 all, but what we saw over the last couple of days transcends not just tennis, but sport itself.

Was there some bravado, just a little bit of machismo at play out there during the match do you think? Taking some pride in it’s length and perhaps wanting it continue? Probably.


Not that I care very much.


There really are no words to describe the mental resolve that sees you come out and hold serve 70 times.


And even less to describe the unadulterated guts that sees you play catch up 68 times.



At the conclusion of every game a deliciously poker-faced Mohammed Lahyani would read out the farcical scoreline. Never once did he lose control. Never once did it ever seem any less surreal. Like some Summer School workshop in Absurdist Humour.


What was perhaps more astonishing was that by the end of it, it was known as much for it’s shotmaking and net play as it was for those big serves.


You know your sport has broken new ground when it makes the main headlines, second only to England winning their crucial World Cup match.


Right in the thick of it yesterday, the soothing voice of Sue Barker could be heard assuring us that our “regular TV schedule would be restored at the conclusion of this match” (Good luck with that).


I couldn’t snap out of it. I didn’t snap out of it, choosing, or perhaps being chosen to, remain transfixed by this bizarre vision of tennis purgatory.


But normal service is indeed, now, being restored.



Whilst ‘Mahisner’ were thrashing it out on court 18, AbFab came through a five setter of his own next door on court 17.


The eyebrows still have it.


Now who or what will frame their fearful symmetry?

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