From World Cup to Wimbledon
So different but if you had the time to watch some or all of either or both matches, it was a thing of beauty.
The day started with the World Cup match between USA and Algeria. It was win or go home for team USA and it looked, as regulation was coming to a close, the Americans were headed for a long long flight home.
Then American soccer sensation and Galaxy star Landon Donovan knocked in a loose ball in front of the Algerian goal in the 91st minute and suddenly the Americans had advanced to the round of 16 in South Africa.
The two singles players, which took their match to a fifth set played for more than seven hours. At Wimbledon, the fifth set is a win by two games and as the soccer game finished I noticed the two players were tied at 28-28 in the final set.
56 games played for a single set? For a first round Wimbeldon match?
The match was far from over. In fact, it was just beginning. The games went to 30 apiece and as far from over. It jumped to 35 apiece and then 40-40 each in games. When it got to 50-50, it felt like the score for a basketball game. The only thing that could stop the match was the lack of light.
ESPN reporters, broadcasting the match, called it epic. Another said you would have to wait 50 to 60 years to see something like this again. We will never see anything like this, ever.
The winners of today? A few people…..
- The local fans who attended both of these events. For better or worse, no one will forget either.
- ESPN comes up huge as they broadcast both events
- Associated sponsors to gained valuable air time. This includes Nike, IBM, Lacoste and Slazenger.
- Social Media — I saw the USA vs. Algeria match had set web record for traffic. I am sure the tennis match will have a few online records of its own.
- Sports fans. Records, drama and stories to retell for years to come.
The events could not have been more different and here’s why.
You have a soccer match, team sport that is timed. Now compare it to a singles tennis match. Two people who no one to depend on but themselves. The fifth match is decided by two games, with no stop watch to halt the action. It could go on forever and for the fans, broadcasters and especially the players, many felt it would never end. And is hasn’t ended.
Just take a look at the time of each set by Manut and Isner.
Set #1 32 minutes
Set #2 29 minutes
Set #3 49 minutes
Set #4 64 minutes
Set #5 Still going.
Total time for the match is 10 hours!
Here are some notes to compare to the tennis match:
- So far, the two players combined for 118 games in the final set alone.
- Haile Gebrselassie from Berlin set the Marathon word record on 9/28/08 with a time of 2:03.59. He could have run three and had time to spare in the time it took to finish the tennis match.
- The two players combined for 118 points in the final set. By comparison it took the Baltimore Orioles scored only 75 runs for the entire month of Aril, a span of 23 games.
- No service breaks in the first 118 games of the final set
The 1980 match between Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe remains etched in my memory. That match was 18-16, not even a third the number of games that Isner and Mahut played today.
What stopped it all? The lack of light. More fun tomorrow and a match no one will ever forget.