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Nadal, Serena amazed by marathon match

Incredible, heroic, amazing - just some of the words used by top tennis stars as they tried to get their heads around the longest match in the history of the sport.

World number one Rafael Nadal said he was blown away by the unprecedented battle of wills between America’s John Isner and France’s Nicolas Mahut.

Isner beat Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 70-68 in the Wimbledon first round.

“It was an amazing match,” said Nadal.

“I just congratulate both players because they did something amazing. To focus around 10 hours, that’s amazing, to not lose the serve in all that time. They made history.”

Serena Williams, the women’s world number one, said it had sparked worldwide interest from people not normally into tennis.

“It was on all kinds of different blogs that normally does not show sports. I thought that was cool,” the American said.

“I was thinking I was glad that it wasn’t me.

“This is like a once-in-a-lifetime thing. This is the first time this has happened. Maybe it will take another couple of hundred years to happen again.”

Maria Sharapova praised them for their extraordinary achievement.

“It’s amazing what they’ve done,” the Russian former world number one said.

“They’ve created some crazy news around the world, which is great for the sport. Even for people that don’t have any interest in tennis, they read about it and see it and think how amazing it is. It’s wonderful for our sport.”

Sharapova said she would not have lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

“It’s heroic,” she said.

“I’d be checking myself into the local hospital. It’s pretty incredible what they’ve done.

“It’s an amazing effort at that point in the match to come out and to be able to hit such powerful strokes and serves and just keep doing it over and over.

“But over a certain period of time, I think it takes a toll on your body mentally and physically.”

Meanwhile, British hope Andy Murray said: “It will never happen again - unless they play next year maybe!

“It’s pretty amazing, just very difficult to describe. Definitely will never, ever happen again,” said the world number four. “I saw Isner before the match in the locker room. He looked okay. He looked fine,” he added.

“I’m sure physically it would have been incredibly difficult, but mentally to concentrate for that long must be so tough.”

Women’s world number three Caroline Wozniacki described the match as “crazy”.

“I’m really sad for Mahut and very happy for Isner that he won. But it’s going into history, that match. Everything: most aces, longest games, everything. I mean, it’s crazy.”

LONDON, June 25, 2010, AFP

 

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