Locker Room Confessions: Inside the Isner-Mahut Epic

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Bionic Poster
Exactly 10 years ago, Wimbledon witnessed the longest match in its history (or anybody else's history) with this now legendary 1st round encounter between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut out on remote little Court 18.

Some stats:

11 hours, 5 minutes: Total match time. That’s four hours and three minutes more than the second-longest match, a Davis Cup doubles rubber between the Czech Republic and Switzerland in 2013.

8 hours, 11 minutes: Time taken to play the fifth set. You have to go to a different sport entirely for a comparison here. The longest baseball game ever played was eight hours and six minutes.

138: Games in the fifth set. That’s 26 more than have been played in any other match

215: Aces. Isner hit 112, Mahut 103. The previous record had been 78 by Ivo Karlovic

183: Total games played. That’s 71 more than the second-highest total at Wimbledon, in Pancho Gonzalez’s five set win over Charlie Pasarell in 1969

63: Times that Mahut served to stay in the match

3: Service breaks


You can't say Isner hasn't made his mark on Wimbledon. Because of this and other marathon matches prompted by his style of play, this most venerable and tradition-focussed of all tennis tournaments finally bit the bullet and introduced a 5th set tie-break . No more will we see stats like this posted for any future match there.





 
Last edited:

Federev

Hall of Fame
Exactly 10 years ago, Wimbledon witnessed the longest match in its history (or anybody else's history) with this now legendary 1st round encounter between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut out on remote little Court 18.

Some stats:

11 hours, 5 minutes: Total match time. That’s four hours and three minutes more than the second-longest match, a Davis Cup doubles rubber between the Czech Republic and Switzerland in 2013.

8 hours, 11 minutes: Time taken to play the fifth set. You have to go to a different sport entirely for a comparison here. The longest baseball game ever played was eight hours and six minutes.

138: Games in the fifth set. That’s 26 more than have been played in any other match

215: Aces. Isner hit 112, Mahut 103. The previous record had been 78 by Ivo Karlovic

183: Total games played. That’s 71 more than the second-highest total at Wimbledon, in Pancho Gonzalez’s five set win over Charlie Pasarell in 1969

63: Times that Mahut served to stay in the match

3: Service breaks


You can't say Isner hasn't made his mark on Wimbledon. Because of this and other marathon matches prompted by his style of play, this most venerable and tradition-focussed of all tennis tournaments finally bit the bullet and introduced a 5th set tie-break in the final. No more will we see stats like this posted for any future match there.





Mahut is not sad in that photo.

He is sleeping.
 

Legend of Borg

G.O.A.T.
might be slightly off topic but it does puzzle me when some people claim that if the 2019 Wimby final was played without the 5th set tiebreak, the outcome would have been different or that it would have benefited Fed

wouldn't Fed want to blitz through his opponent and end the match as soon as possible? why would it benefit him to continue grinding deep into the 5th set and continue to exacerbate the stamina disadvantage over someone like Djoker who's far more fit?
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
might be slightly off topic but it does puzzle me when some people claim that if the 2019 Wimby final was played without the 5th set tiebreak, the outcome would have been different or that it would have benefited Fed

wouldn't Fed want to blitz through his opponent and end the match as soon as possible? why would it benefit him to continue grinding deep into the 5th set and continue to exacerbate the stamina disadvantage over someone like Djoker who's far more fit?
Honest question...

Do you think the match revealed that Novak was “far more fit” than Federer?

I actually didn’t watch the match at all, but by the score line and what I read Fed seemed to hang in there all 5 sets w Novak - and actually came away with more points and non tie break games won.

Maybe though - the big points at the end showed Novak had a lot more gas in the tank when it mattered?

Recall also Fed had to go through Rafa to even get to Novak.

Anyway - just wasn’t sure Fed’s 6 years age difference with Novak wasn’t actually showing Fed was remarkably close in terms of fitness.
 

Legend of Borg

G.O.A.T.
Honest question...

Do you think the match revealed that Novak was “far more fit” than Federer?

I actually didn’t watch the match at all, but by the score line and what I read Fed seemed to hang in there all 5 sets w Novak - and actually came away with more points and non tie break games won.

Maybe though - the big points at the end showed Novak had a lot more gas in the tank when it mattered?

Recall also Fed had to go through Rafa to even get to Novak.

Anyway - just wasn’t sure Fed’s 6 years age difference with Novak wasn’t actually showing Fed was remarkably close in terms of fitness.
the match was strange

I was expecting him to wilt while the younger, healthier (plant based diet, health conscious, etc.) and more athletic Djoker was supposed to win out in a long grindy match which is what it turned into

thing is, Djoker looked like poo for long stretches of time while Fed wasn't letting up

I still think Fed woulda lost a regular 5th set if there was no tie-breaker

physicality and mentality are connected and the longer the match the more Fed would have mental lapses IMO

still, this match was bizzare in this respect but 9 out of 10 I would expect a long match to favor Djoker over Fed
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
the match was strange

I was expecting him to wilt while the younger, healthier (plant based diet, health conscious, etc.) and more athletic Djoker was supposed to win out in a long grindy match which is what it turned into

thing is, Djoker looked like poo for long stretches of time while Fed wasn't letting up

I still think Fed woulda lost a regular 5th set if there was no tie-breaker

physicality and mentality are connected and the longer the match the more Fed would have mental lapses IMO

still, this match was bizzare in this respect but 9 out of 10 I would expect a long match to favor Djoker over Fed
Agree w everything.
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
the match was strange

I was expecting him to wilt while the younger, healthier (plant based diet, health conscious, etc.) and more athletic Djoker was supposed to win out in a long grindy match which is what it turned into

thing is, Djoker looked like poo for long stretches of time while Fed wasn't letting up

I still think Fed woulda lost a regular 5th set if there was no tie-breaker

physicality and mentality are connected and the longer the match the more Fed would have mental lapses IMO

still, this match was bizzare in this respect but 9 out of 10 I would expect a long match to favor Djoker over Fed
As a fan it was a crushing loss to see him come so close.

But maybe instead of being so demoralized about Fed blowing it, I should give him mass kudos for just hanging in there and trying as hard he did.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
someone like Djoker who's far more fit?
Post any moment in the 2019
Wimbledon final where Fed ever looked tired, winded or less fit than Djokovic. In fact, post a single point which would indicate this.

You must have missed the entire second set where Djokovic was gasping for air and looked gassed.
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
As a fan it was a crushing loss to see him come so close.

But maybe instead of being so demoralized about Fed blowing it, I should give him mass kudos for just hanging in there and trying as hard he did.
He certainly hung in there betterer than 30-year-old fedr did at USO’11, going from 5-3 40-15 to losing 5-7.

I agree with eliminating a play-it-out 5th set TB for the first six rounds but the final could still be old school without affecting schedulIng and conditioning concerns that resulted in the new format nine years after the Isner Mahut fiasco. Had that match scenario happened in a SF, like the milder KAndyman Isner 2018 nightmare, stodgy Wimby would have been much quicker in their move.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
I truly think that the 12-all deciding set was a good compromise...

One surprising think about Isner-Mahut: No tiebreaks in the first two sets - not even a 7-5 set.
 

Service Ace

Hall of Fame
might be slightly off topic but it does puzzle me when some people claim that if the 2019 Wimby final was played without the 5th set tiebreak, the outcome would have been different or that it would have benefited Fed

wouldn't Fed want to blitz through his opponent and end the match as soon as possible? why would it benefit him to continue grinding deep into the 5th set and continue to exacerbate the stamina disadvantage over someone like Djoker who's far more fit?
More opportunities would have only benefited Federer the longer the match went. Even after blowing that career defining lead, Fed still was giving himself break points to once again serve for the match, just wasn’t able to convert by the time the score reached 12-12.

Tiebreakers too greatly favor the player that gets out to an early lead. Once the tiebreak began, Covid was able to use the momentum he built to get there to finish the job. Up until that point however he was just barely hanging in the match.

The new tiebreak rules definitely affected the outcome of the match and will go down as an ugly bolded footnote in the downfall of Feds legacy.
 

Fridge

Professional
More opportunities would have only benefited Federer the longer the match went. Even after blowing that career defining lead, Fed still was giving himself break points to once again serve for the match, just wasn’t able to convert by the time the score reached 12-12.

Tiebreakers too greatly favor the player that gets out to an early lead. Once the tiebreak began, Covid was able to use the momentum he built to get there to finish the job. Up until that point however he was just barely hanging in the match.

The new tiebreak rules definitely affected the outcome of the match and will go down as an ugly bolded footnote in the downfall of Feds legacy.
If anything the TB should have favored Fed. Instead Fed's mental fragility showed and Novak gave the arrogant British crowd what they deserved. A loss that will forever haunt Fed and every one of his despicable fans.
 

itrium84

Semi-Pro
I just wanted to read some interesting stuff about that epic Isner-Mahut match, you guys ruined it.

Sent from my Mi 9T using Tapatalk
 
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