2011 Wimbledon: The Endless Story of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut

Gregory LanzenbergCorrespondent IJune 21, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20:  A view of the plaque hanging outside court 18 stating 'The Longest Match' in honor of the match played by John Isner and Nicolas Mahut during Wimbledon 2010 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 20, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

There was one chance in a million that John Isner and Nicolas Mahut would meet again in the first round of Wimbledon for revenge for last year's historic match.

But the odds must be against both players.

One year ago the American and the Frenchman made sure the history books would not forget them when they played for 11 hours and five minutes in a match, which finished with the victory of the American Isner 70-68 in the deciding set. You could barely make it up.

I don't know about you, but I feel sad for both players.

After all, grass is the surface that suits both players.

Each year they know the five weeks of the grass-court season will be their chance to show their best, and the fact that they have to meet each other again in the first round makes the story almost sad.

Let's not forget that what both players did last year was unique and has very little chance to happen again. Both players understand it will be impossible to make it 72-70 in the decider. Tennis fans should take a picture of last year's scoreboard and hang it on their wall for their memory and take Tuesday's match as another usual match.

Life was not the same for the two champions after such a match. Media talked about their performances for months, which transformed their lives.

Of course, many Americans remember John Isner beating Andy Roddick in the third round of the US Open two years ago, but who knew Nicolas Mahut before last year?

In a way it's funny to analyse that Mahut, who is ranked No. 94 in the world is today, as known around the world as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gaël Monfils.

At the same time, Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Robert Kendrick of the USA stand ahead of the 29-year-old in the standings while very few people know them.

Athletes need to keep their motivation high all the time.

It must have been very tough for Mahut and Isner to play lower-ranked tournaments with not a lot of spectators, and even Challengers in Mahut's case, in order to keep improving.

Isner has had a disappointing season so far with 10 victories against 13 defeats, while Mahut has only played six ATP events with four wins and five defeats.

Of course the Frenchman lost last year's match, which was even more painful as the year went by.

Due to bad weather, 96 matches will have to be played on Tuesday.

The Wimbledon organisers have scheduled the Isner-Mahut match to be the fourth on court three, which shows a lack of respect for both players.

Isner and Mahut should have had the honors of playing on Centre Court, which would have certified the ending of the match today or early Wednesday morning.

As it stands, it's not even sure the Isner-Mahut match will be played today.

One year ago on Court 18, the match went on for three days because none of the players were able to return well enough to break in the fifth set.

In 2011 on Court three, the match could also last three days due to the bad weather scheduled for this week and the lack of judgment from the Wimbledon referee.