Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gladiators

And I bet you thought last year's Wimbledon final was an epic.

16-14 looks like a pansy-ass walk in the park compared to what is currently in progress at Wimbledon - a match that has nearly doubled the length of any other tennis match in the history of the world ever. 59-59 in the fifth set.

How does that happen?

Who will blink? Will anyone blink? Is this match destined to go on and on and on forever?

It is such a shame that one of these dudes, one of these gladiators, have to lose this match. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, I salute you. You are both going down in my very good books, under the 'man of steel' category. This match is unprecedented and I very much doubt that we will see anything like it ever again. If you look up 'anomaly' in the dictionary, you get a livestream of this match.

You also get a livestream of this match if you look up 'endurance'.

This match is testament to the fact that tennis players need to have it all - speed, skill, endurance, incredible fitness - to succeed. It could be argued that tennis players are the best athletes in the world, because they have to be so versatile. There is so much that a tennis player needs to be able to do to succeed.

But beyond this - beyond the iron physicality that both Isner and Mahut have displayed - is the mental. Tennis is in the mind. This is point by point tennis, where everything matters. And neither has blinked. Neither has faltered.

Now that is strength.

Now that is an athlete.

Now that is a gladiator.