It is June 23rd today. I wonder if I will remember the date of this day. I will certainly remember the events, but when I look back, many years from now, will I remember that they happened on the same day?
The President fired General McCrystal for comments his staff made, which is sort of a big deal.
The United States Soccer team, with only 3 minutes of stoppage time, had a ‘Miracle on Turf’ if you will. The best player for the U.S. squad, Landon Donovan, who has been an inspiration throughout the tournament, put the ball into the back of the net in the 91st minute, to give the U.S. team a 1-0 win over Algeria. With that goal, the U.S. not only advanced, but won their group. In sports, this is a big deal too. I know I was cheering.
Across the pond, at the All England Tennis Lawn and Croquet Club, a little tournament they call Wimbledon was into it’s 3rd day. A young qualifier faced off against the #1 player in the world Roger Federer, who has more Grand Slam titles, than I have hand planes. I have 11 now, he has 16. Ilija Bozoliac who is the 152nd ranked player in the world, won the second set and gave Roger a test, something nobody would have expected. This normally would have been a lead story for most tennis fans.
BP let it be known that the cap on the well has slipped off, which is also news worthy.
None of these will be the ‘Event’, for which June 23, not to mention June 22nd and June 24th, will be remembered. For on this day, in 2010, at Wimbledon, two players, who nobody knows, began playing their 5th set from the match which was called, due to low light, the evening before. John Isner, from a player from the United States, and Nicholas Mahut, a 28 year old from France, began the day at 2:00 local time. Only one set remained to determine who would advance to the second round. By the time the sun set, one of them would be moving on at the most famous tournament in the world. Or so they thought.
For those who do not follow tennis, at the Grand Slams, the men play best 3 out of 5 sets, with the first four sets being decided by a tie breaker game, should the need arise. McEnroe and Borg played a tie breaker in 1980 which is legendary, the game took 22 minutes. When one reaches the 5th set though, there aren’t any tie breakers, they play until one player is ahead by two.
When I tuned into the match, after the U.S. had won their World Cup game, the line read, Isner vs. Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3) with the 5th set at 24-24. Again, that is 24 games to 24 games. This was incredible, but it was far from over. Isner had around 60 aces in the match, while Mahut had a few less. Each player served with such skill it made breaking almost impossible. The record for most aces in a match, held by Ivo Karlovic, was 78. It was possible that one of them might set that record.
The match continued and I remember getting especially excited when it reached 30-30, as that sounds like a typical game score, but it was a set score. The announcers couldn’t believe that it was going on so long. There were something like 23 matches which had started after they began their 5th set and had already finished. But they weren’t done.
Finally the ace record fell to Isner. Later Mahut would surpass it too. In fact, Isner had 98 and Mahut 95, so not only did they both beat the record, they smashed it. This was how it ended for the day, both men besting Ivo’s mark, but neither advancing to the second round. For you see, it was called for darkness at a little after 9:00 local time, with them tied 59-59.
They have been playing this match for over 10 hours, 7 of those hours today. The previous record was under 6. They played one set longer than the previous longest match! Are you kidding me?! Both men demonstrated incredible sportsmanship and resilience along the way. When it is done, both will have written their names into the Wimbledon record books with indelible ink. They will forever be linked to one another. They will forever be linked, for me, to June 23rd, and June 22nd and 24th, and if I am able to keep a sharp memory, maybe to some of the other big events which happened today. What were they again? Oh well, at least I will never forget Isner and Mahut.