Monday, 19 November, 2018

Have mercy! Anderson and Isner demand rule change after Wimbledon epic

Novak Djokovic GETTYNovak Djokovic is starting to hit top form
Kristopher Love | 14 July, 2018, 07:33

We could go on, but we'll stop there and give you a taste of the social media reaction to the game instead. Federer has opened a chain of Pineapple Pizza bistros, Andy Murray is running for MP.

He stands at 0-5 with Nadal and 1-5 against Djokovic.

But for the two gladiatorial protagonists, and those involved in tennis, the contest was no laughing matter.

"It just seems cruel and unusual punishment for these guys", former champion John McEnroe said on the BBC.

It's also the longest match of Anderson's career in terms of total time on court.

"Honestly, I really hope that this is a bit of a sign for Grand Slams to change this format of five sets", a visibly drained Anderson said in a post-match TV interview.

Anderson agreed, adding: 'I really hope we can address this'.

The final set lasted just five minutes short of three hours.

The result came two days after Anderson stunned eight-time champion Roger Federer in four hours and five more sets, saving a match point in the process. My feet are sore, they're swollen.

It was one of three successful drop shots from the Spaniard in the tiebreaker alone, but Djokovic answered with one of his own to save the second set point at 7-6. If a match is 12-all.

"I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All".

"The amount of times it gets to that point is pretty rare".

The US Open is the only major that includes a fifth-set tie-breaker and, in the aftermath of their slog, both players felt a similar rule should be introduced to the other grand slams. The other three majors all play out the fifth set until the victor is ahead by two games.

Brian Norton was the last South African man to reach the final in 1921. I really feel for him.

Furthermore, longer-term grass data also is in favour of the Serb - over the last two years, he's won 1.0% more points on serve and 2.4% more points on return, and in the last three, 1.5% more on serve and 1.8% more on return.

Wimbledon doesn't use tiebreakers in the fifth set for men, or third set for women, so there's nothing to prevent a match from continuing ad infinitum. "I'm a different person, different player today", Djokovic said. All I can say is congratulations to John on such a great tournament.

Then, 122 minutes into the fifth set, the crowd went wild as a tired-looking Isner faced two more break points, only to save them with back-to-back aces as dark rain clouds gathered over Centre Court.

Despite the fifth set's historic length, both players did have chances to break each other's serve.

At a set apiece after an hour and 36 minutes of edgy tennis that fluctuated between excellent and flawed, they had just over an hour left until the 11pm curfew, yet neither could seal the deal in the second semi-final before the lights were dimmed under the roof on Centre shortly before that deadline, although they did their best.

"The effort they both put in and the performance and the guts, the way they competed - a lot to be proud of", said Justin Gimelstob, one of Isner's coaches.