Wiped Out From Tennis Marathon, John Isner Loses in Wimbledon Second Round

The drama that unfolded over three days between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut came to its official and predictable end today.

Isner, unquestionably physically demolished from 11 hours-plus of tennis to win his record-shattering first round match, was eliminated in straight sets by unseeded Dutchman Theimo de Bakker.

While the endurance of Isner to prevail in a 70-68 fifth set over Mahut was extraordinary, it raises very legitimate questions about the long-standing men’s tennis rule that a fifth set must be won with a two-game advantage and not a tie break. Clearly, Isner, a 25-year-old North Carolinian, had no reasonable shot beating anybody with professional-grade skills today.

It’s entirely likely some traditionalists will quash a reasonable suggestion that a fifth-set tie-break should be permissible outside of a tournament championship. However, just like instant replay in the NFL, and a needed call for it considerations in Major League Baseball following the Armando Galarraga debacle, rules need to be changed at times to benefit the evolution and growth of the sport.

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