The greatest tennis match of all time? Well, John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut at SW19 was, at 11hrs 5mins, the longest by a considerable distance, and the quality of the play beggared belief given the energy-draining duration of a marathon, ace-littered contest that spanned three days before Isner, a 6’9” American, won it 70-68 in the fifth set.
But measuring the best requires different criteria, not least the element of pressure. A first-round tie at Wimbledon isn’t the same as a final, and therefore Bjorg-McEnroe in 1980 and Federer-Nadal two years ago are still the benchmarks.
With Greg Rusedksi offering the view that unless a certain Brit won the tournament, this was the match Wimbledon 2010 would be remembered for, Isner, wrecked from the ordeal, was inevitably hammered in the next round, Chris Evert’s English ‘ex’ John Lloyd favours a tiebreak in the deciding set, arguing, “imagine if that had been Andy Murray on court for 11 hours, or Roger Federer or Nadal? The tournament would then be dealing with the incalculable loss of one of the favourites.”
Incalculable, eh. How ever would we cope.