Wednesday 20 September 2017

Game, set and at long last, match

USA's John Isner celebrates victory over France's Nicolas Mahut in their record breaking Wimbledon match
USA's John Isner celebrates victory over France's Nicolas Mahut in their record breaking Wimbledon match
USA's John Isner stands next to the scorboard after his victory over France's Nicolas Mahut
USA's John Isner consoles France's Nicolas Mahut after their record breaking match at Wimbledon

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut fought back tears as their epic Wimbledon battle was eventually decided after more than 11 hours.

American 23rd seed Isner eventually reigned supreme 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 to a standing ovation from a packed Court 18.

Speaking afterwards, Mahut said: "We played the greatest match ever at the greatest place to play tennis."

Isner, who described his opponent as an "absolute warrior", insisted he was not feeling tired, saying: "You don't feel tired out here today, this crowd was fantastic."

The pair were clapped and cheered as they walked back slowly to the locker room. Mahut was forced to lean on his coach for support.

After 11 hours and five minutes on Court 18 and with a raft of records having been broken, Isner found two crucial winners to clinch victory.

Isner hit 112 aces in the match to bring the curtain down on one of the most remarkable episodes at SW19.

The pair were presented with crystal bowls and champagne by the All England Club for their efforts.

British number one Andy Murray, who breezed through his second round clash in front of the Queen earlier, was quick to pay tribute to them.

He said: "Like everybody has been saying, it will never happen again - unless they play next year maybe. I'm sure physically it would have been incredibly difficult, but mentally to concentrate for that long must be so tough."

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