Video Of The Best Point From Wimbledon This Year

This is from the Gentlemen’s Senior Doubles bracket. The man grunting like Maria Sharapova, barking orders like an out of shape tennis junkie, and finally hitting the unbelievable trick shots is named Mansour Bahrami and he unfortunately went on to lose this match.

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Great Sports Writing: “Isner, Mahut and Endless Tennis”

With the first couple rounds of Wimbledon wrapping up this weeknd, take the time today to end your week with this captivating recount of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s remarkable five set war that took place during last year’s tournament.  The two famously played the longest match in tennis history with Isner eventually winning the fifth set 70-68.  They were coincidentally matched up again in the first round this year (I smell a fix) and the match ended in a three set Isner sweep.  I can’t do enough justice to describing the match, the effort exerted, and the amount of mental and physical exhaustion that took place and so I’ll leave it to Ed Caesar’s extraordinary ability to do it for you.  From GQ:

The trouble with these statistics, however, is that they tell only one story: the match was long. The numbers tell you nothing about why Isner and Mahut were able to play like that – service hold after service hold; ace after ace – or what demons entered their minds and bodies. They can’t tell you that, at the end of the second day’s play, Isner was so bereft of energy that he briefly desired any kind of conclusion – even a loss – because the prospect of returning to play the following day horrified him. And, of course, the statistics tell you nothing about what has happened to the players since the match. They cannot map the strange and intense kinship these men now feel because of their three-day dance in the London sunshine.

There are many reasons why professional tennis matches do not normally last eleven hours. Run-of-the-mill tournament matches are played over three sets, and include tie-breakers when the game score reaches 6-all in any set. Only three Grand Slams (Wimbledon, the French Open and Australian Open) and three international tournaments (the Fed Cup, the Davis Cup and the Olympic Games) play men’s singles and doubles over five sets, with no tiebreaker in the fifth.

Even at the tournaments where a marathon is technically possible, however, fifth sets rarely stray beyond 20 games, because one player loses concentration. By the time someone reaches the latter stages of a fifth set in a Grand Slam, he has normally expended a significant amount of energy. At some point, errors and fatigue decide the match.

But neither Isner or Mahut blinked. To understand why, and how, you have to understand the distance they travelled to that fifth set. As Boris Vallejo, Mahut’s affable coach, explains: “nothing comes from nothing.”

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope the weekend finds you on a golf course somewhere.

[GQ]

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