So said a commentator. No kidding.
Here’s the breakdown. The longest match in history. The fifth set outlasted the longest match ever just by itself. No match had ever gone to the 7th hour mark, this one is two minutes away from the 10th. 59-59.
Both shattered the aces record, which was previously 78 by Ivo. Tree had 98, Mahut 94. In fact, in that Davis Cup match where Ivo had 78, even if you combined his aces with Steps’ 18, they’re still 2 short of Tree from today. Tree had over 200 combined unreturnable serves. It was like when McGuire and Sosa both shattered the home runs record together. Something was seriously messed up. (I’m not implying that these guys are on steroids!)
And it’s not done.
I watched some snippets of it tonight, and it’s absolutely hilarious to listen to the commentary. At 37-38, they noted “every step seems an effort”, referring to Isner (it actually kind of reminded me of Delpo at the beginning of a match, but whatever). 20 games later at 48-49 they noted that Isner clearly had more strength left. Most people have referred to them as zombies by the end of the set, and that’s probably the best description. I can’t even imagine doing one thing for seven hours without really having anyone to talk to, let alone playing tennis for that long and having to concentrate, keep moving, and all that fun stuff.
By the end of it, both looked beyond drained. Exhausted. Brain dead. Only Sven knows what was going through their head as they stepped up to the challenge of holding serve for the 50th some odd time. “Alright, first serves. Just gotta hold here. Keep ‘em in. Is it bedtime yet?… Focus!”
Extra props have to be given to Mahut, who played catch-up for 7 hours today. Think about that. 59 times he had to hold serve to stay in the match. 59 times he held.
And so this first round match that started Tuesday will continue on Thursday, at Court 18. I hope they don’t break the scoreboard again.