John Isner wins marathon match with Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon
John Isner finally brought an end to the longest match in tennis history today as he broke the serve of Nicolas Mahut to secure a 70-68 victory in the deciding set of their first-round encounter.
After 11 hours and five minutes on Court 18 and with a host of records having been broken, the 23rd seed found two crucial winners to break the resistance of the Frenchman in the 138th game of a remarkable set.
The pair first walked on court on Tuesday, and Isner – who hit 112 aces in the match – secured a 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68 triumph to bring the curtain down on one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the All England Club.
Upon the completion of the match - and a final set that lasted eight hours and 11 minutes - the All England Club announced the two players and match umpire were to be presented with awards to mark their achievement. Both players appeared to be spent forces at the end of the gruelling encounter, but received their mementoes with good grace before being asked to reflect on the match.
Isner said of his vanquished opponent: "The guy's an absolute warrior. It stinks someone had to lose. To share this with him was an absolute honour. Maybe we'll meet again somewhere down the road and it won't be 70-68."
Mahut was gracious in defeat, admitting that despite the gruelling nature of the contest it had been a tussle savoured by both men. "At this moment I'm just really thankful. It was amazing today," Mahut said. "John deserved to win. He served unbelievable, he's a champion. It was really an honour to play the greatest match ever at the greatest place for tennis. It was very long but I think we both enjoyed it."