July 1, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.

Isner-Mahut wasn't great tennis, it was a choppy battle of endurance

Isner-Mahut wasn't great tennis, it was a choppy battle of endurance
Isner-Mahut wasn't great tennis, it was a choppy battle of endurance

Last week's grueling, mind-blowing, amazing, scintillating opening round Wimbledon match between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut was a fatigue-defying display of will.

Both men played for just over 11 hours of tennis over three straight days, playing to a 70-68 Isner win in the fifth set.

A lot of people argue that it was the greatest tennis match ever. And their argument is terribly wrong.

The Isner-Mahut match was very entertaining to watch. The two men showed the heart, will and character that not many people could. Playing a tough game like tennis at such a high level for 11 hours is no joke.

But, do not confuse the circumstance with the actual tennis being played. It was an amazing feat, but merely subpar professional tennis.

After they were deep into the fifth set, neither player could muster up the energy to actually get a respectable volley going. A majority of the points scored in the fifth set were on aces that each opponent didn't even attempt to return.

Most of the time, it was a one-and-done swing for each point.

In fact, in a 70-68 match, Isner only had match point five times, and Mahut had break point even less frequently than that.

If I want to watch constant aces or one-shot volley's, I'll watch two old men with canes in one hand and a tennis racket in the other.

I watch tennis for the ridiculous volleys, the unbelieveable shots, the flawless strokes.

I can't expect either Mahut or Isner to be doing any one of those after 11 hours of tennis, so it merely made it a fun match to watch, but nothing that will be remembered beyond a few mentionings of the records they broke because of the length of their game. In five years, most tennis fans will say 'Yea, I remember that ridiculously long game at Wimbledon.... who was in it again? It went like 10 hours, didn't it?"

Neither played great tennis in the match. They both showed amazing heart and determination not to lose.

Mahut's accomplishment of serving 65 straight times with the chance of losing was almost more impressive than Isner's actual win.

And it didn't help that Isner went on to be swept promptly in the second round. He was visibly tired and wore out in his second round match, but that'll be expected after a marathon of tennis that the two played.

The names of Mahut and Isner will be spackled all over the tennis record books for a long time. It's going to be many lifetimes before there is ever a tennis match that long again, but for all the courage, fortitude, endurance and will the pair showed in their never-ending tennis match, it should never sniff some of the amazing tennis matches that have taken place for best ever.

Even Andy Roddick-Roger Federer from last year's Wimbledon finals was a better match. The skill level was higher, the stakes were much larger, and the tennis was more flowing and beautiful than the choppy 70-68 fifth set that Isner and Mahut played.

Too many times in all sports, people mistake historical for great. Just because history was made, it doesn't make a match or a game or a contest a great one. The competitors and the stakes determine that.

You are invited to send interesting, unusual and/or humorous items that could possibly be used in this space. If you choose to do so, please send it to [email protected].

If you prefer, you may send it to

Chisago County Press

Attn: Jeff

12631 Lake Blvd.

PO Box 748

Lindstrom, MN 55045

or, you may bring it in to the office.

Sports stuff would be great, but, please do not limit yourselves. Politics, religion, culture (pop or otherwise) are welcomed. Please do not feel offended if your contribution is not included.

Comments:

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

Events

March

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
25
26
27
28
29
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.

Events

March

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
25
26
27
28
29
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.