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13th Jul 2018

Kevin Anderson’s comments following record-breaking Wimbledon victory are very revealing

The match lasted six hours and 35 minutes

Ben Kiely

Kevin Anderson didn’t say much, but at the same time, he said a lot.

How do you sum up Kevin Anderson and John Isner’s Wimbledon semi-final? Well, considering it went on for six hours and 35 minutes, the short answer is, you don’t!

Marathon doesn’t do it justice. In the end, it finished  7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 in favour of the South African. The final set alone lasted two hours and 50 minutes.

It was the third longest match in tennis history and the second-longest match Wimbledon has ever hosted. The record, funnily enough, was set by Isner. It took the American 11 hours and five minutes to beat France’s Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. So perhaps, he thought this was a relatively short night.

These are the events where sport transcends simply hitting a ball over a net. When the crowd’s focus is on two athletes putting on a performance for over six hours, they become vulnerable. They’re broken down and laid bare. It becomes less about winning a game and more about two humans trying to will themselves towards greatness.

Often, as it was in this case, both succeed in their endeavour.

The crowd knew it, the spectators knew and although Isner might not be willing to admit it, Anderson did.

“I don’t know what to say right now. Just playing like that in those sort of conditions, it’s really tough on both of us. At the end, you feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win.”

“John’s such a great guy and I really feel for him because if I had been on the opposite side, I don’t know how you could take that playing for so long and coming up short.”

“I apologise if I’m not more excited right now. So many mixed emotions. Getting through something like that is quite different.”

The winner of Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic awaits Anderson in Sunday’s final.