Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

The match that time forgot

Nobody goes to Court 18 expecting to stay long.

Right on the edge of the All England Tennis Club, and very much in the shadow of Centre Court, number 18 is a no-go area for seeded players and fans at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Matches are usually as brief as they are inconsequential -- and then everyone moves on.

So when someone suggested I drop in on Court 18 to check out a match between two largely unknown players – John Isner from the United States, and Nicolas Mahut of France – I can probably be forgiven for thinking I’d be in and out of there pretty quickly.

John Isner (FRONT) of the U.S. walks off the court after winning a game in his match against France's Nicolas Mahut during the fifth set at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 23, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

It looked as if it was almost finished when I arrived. The game had already been carried over from the previous day due to bad light and the players were now in the fifth set with the score at 20-20.

There are no fifth set tiebreaks at Wimbledon, which can occasionally lead to long bouts, but someone usually breaks serve to end the game. I was about to get lunch, but thought I’d hang on since the game looked near its conclusion.