... is now over.
John Isner of the United States outlasted Nicolas Mahut of France, 70-68, in the fifth set of their epic three-day first-round match at Wimbledon on Thursday. In an astonishing display of endurance, the players fought for 11 hours and 5 minutes, breaking all records for length of match, games played, and aces served.
When it ended, the All England Lawn Tennis Club awarded bowls of commemoration to the players and the chair umpire, Mohammed Lahyani of Sweden.
How's that fantastic live blogger for the Guardian doing?
John Isner's serving arm has fallen off. Nicolas Mahut's head is loose and rolling bonelessly on his neck. And yet they still play on... It's 56 games all and darkness is falling. This, needless to say, is not a good development, because everybody knows that zombies like the dark. So far in this match they've been comparatively puny and manageable, only eating a few of the spectators in between bashing their serves.
But come night-fall the world is their oyster. They will play on, play on, right through until dawn. Perhaps they will even leave the court during the change-overs to munch on other people. Has Roger Federer left the grounds? Perhaps they will munch on him, hounding him down as he runs for his car, disembowelling him in the parking lot and leaving Wimbledon without its reigning champion. Maybe they will even eat the trophy too. Growing darker, darker all the while.
And his final thoughts:
Last thoughts before I ring me a hearse. That was beyond tennis. I think it was even beyond survival, because there is a strong suggestion (soon to be confirmed by doctors) that John Isner actually expired at about the 20-20 mark, and Mahut went soon afterwards, and the remainder of the match was contested by Undead Zombies who ate the spectators during the change of ends (again, this is pending a police investigation).
Still, if you're going to watch a pair of zombies go at each other for eleventy-billion hours, far into the night, it might as well be these zombies. They were incredible, astonishing, indefatigable. They fell over frequently but they never stayed down. My hat goes off to these zombies. Possibly my head goes off to them too.
It's a crying shame that someone has to lose this match but hey-ho, that's tennis.
The Pulitzer committee should give Xan Brooks a special, one-time-only prize for live-blogging. And sports/comedy writing. (Plus, he didn't like Trash Humpers, either. Good man.)