My goodness, go into the deep dark woods of the U.P. for a few days and suddenly Wimbledon becomes the most exciting sporting event of the year. Even regulars at the Kewadin Casino in Christmas, MI were talking about the Mahut vs. Isner match last night. That’s how I found out it was going into a third day – my flight landed yesterday at around 35-35 (thanks, Delta, for the satellite TV at 30,000 feet) and I assumed it would be over by the time I picked my bag up. (Actually, my bag was delayed and didn’t arrive until this morning – coincidence?)
Forget anything World Cup may serve up (I got to watch Team USA score that goal against Algeria on the plane, too) – this is going to be the sporting photo of the year:
This one’s great, too, except that it kind of breaks my heart. Sorry there had to be a loser, Nico:
John Isner had a great presser – it was interesting how much of it had to do with the connection he felt with his opponent. Here are some highlights:
Q. Now that it’s over, how does it feel to be part of tennis and sporting history?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, uhm, it’s great. I guess something Nic and I will share forever really. I don’t think I’ve ever said five words to the guy prior to our match. Not that he’s a bad guy. It is what it is. Now when I do see him in the locker room at other tournaments, we’ll always be able to share that.
You know, like I said, I’m kind of glad it happened. Had I won in straight sets, I might be playing right now in my second round match.
Q. In the finish, was it the will to win or fear of failure that got you across the line?
JOHN ISNER: Oh, that’s a good question. I think it was more so the will to win. Obviously in the back of my mind is, as I’m sure it was with him, I don’t want to be on the losing side of this. It’s going to be a little bit better to be on the winning side.
But I think it was the will to win. Not that I outwilled him. I mean, obviously he gave it his all. I just kind of was a little bit more fortunate than he was.
Q. He did look devastated. Could you imagine what it would be like?
JOHN ISNER: No, I can’t. I don’t even want to think about that.
An added helping of amazing – Mahut came back out on Court 18 to play the doubles on Thursday afternoon, after the completion of his three day, eleven hour singles match. Isner’s also still in the doubles draw – at least on paper.
I’m writing this from a coffee shop in Munising that has some WiFi access (along with views of Lake Superior and an auto parts shop across the street) and trying to get caught up. Normally, just Roger Federer being forced to play nine sets in the first two rounds of Wimbledon would be the big story. But who has the time to stress, when there’s so much Wimbledon goodness to enjoy?
Love this quote, though:
Q. Is it strange to drop three sets in the opening two games for you? You wouldn’t have been expected to.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but I won six sets, you know, so… Kind of works. You got to win the right sets.
It must be catching – Rafael Nadal had his own five set struggles on Thursday, eventually beating World No. 151 Robin Haase of the Netherlands, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
And, then, of course there was the Queen’s visit, which I covered a little bit here. Andy Murray confirmed just how special it was to have her around:
Q. How special was it for you to play on an occasion like that?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s great. I think for all the players, it’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us. You know, you saw by the players that were there to obviously meet her this morning that, you know, it was a big deal for everybody.
Wow, I guess I should leave town more often. It’s good for the sport! Enjoy the tennis, everyone. I look forward to the updates.