Wimbledon marathon: Sad commentary for tennis
I’m like most everyone else. I couldn’t take my eyes off that Wimbledon marathon between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, which spanned three days and was won by Eisner 70-68 in the fifth set.
When the fifth set score reached the 30s, I started hearing about it and kept at least one eye on it the rest of the match, including the next morning. But while it was gripping theater and thrust tennis and Wimbledon back to center stage, it was not a great testament to the sport.
Those calling it one of the greatest matches ever are silly. In fact, it was the opposite. Few rallies. More than 200 aces, which sounds nice but is really like watching a dunk contest instead of a basketball game. No drama. Play, what, 183 games and have five match points?
The longer the match went, the less amazing the match became. Which doesn’t make sense. But the more you watched Isner and Mahut trade service points, the question became less how is this happening and more how will this ever end?
The technological trend of tennis toward machine-gun serves has tilted the sport. It’s harder than ever to break serve. It was darn near impossible in Isner-Mahut. They played 183 games and had two service breaks. Two.
Hardly ever was there a chance one would break the other. Neither had a prayer of consistently returning a save with any kind of hopeful positioning. It’s not a miracle the fifth set went to 70-68. It’s a miracle it ended at 70-68.
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