Longest match ever won by Isner in over 11 hours
* Epic final set lasted over eight hours
* American finally breaks through
(adds quotes, details)
By Martyn Herman
LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - The world’s longest tennis match finally ended at Wimbledon on Thursday when John Isner claimed the incredible fifth set of a three-day epic against Nicolas Mahut 70-68 after 11 hours and five minutes on court.
The American 23rd seed ended the contest with a backhand passing shot after another hour of play on Court 18 after the match had resumed at 59-59 in the deciding set after it was stopped by bad light on Wednesday.
“I am a little bit tired,” an elated Isner said in an on-court interview.
“When you play a match like this with an atmosphere like this you don’t feel tired. This crowd was fantastic.
“The guy (Mahut) is an absolute warrior. I want to share this day with him, it was an absolute honour. I wish him the best and see him somewhere down the road and it won’t go 70-68.”
Isner completed an eye-watering 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 first-round victory with every vantage point taken by a packed crowd on Court 18.
Isner fell to the ground in disbelief and after the two players hugged at the net Mahut sunk into his chair and covered his head with his towel.
“It was just amazing to play today,” Mahut said. “The crowd the last three days were amazing. You were just completely fantastic. John deserved the win. He just served unbelievably.”
Isner served 112 aces, Mahut 103 as they both eclipsed the old world record of 78 held by Ivo Karlovic. The match had already beaten the record for the longest set, longest match, most games in a match and most games in a set.