Zsa Zsa Gabor's eighth marriage was a shorter-lived affair than John Isner and Nicolas Mahut's licentious congress at Wimbledon.

The queen of all socialites wed a Mexican count, Felipe de Alba, on April 13 1983, with their union annulled a day later when it emerged marriage number seven had not yet been quite annulled.

Yet Isner and Mahut spent three days in cahoots at the All England Club, their head-spinning 2010 match breaking record after record, and it all began on June 22, 2010.

Ten years on, and although the longest tennis match in history eventually did end, it stands to be an eternal marker of ultra-endurance.

'IT'S A BASKETBALL SCORE'

Like Max von Sydow's knight facing down Death over a chess board, Mahut eventually bowed, Isner unrelenting in his pursuit of the kill.

They spent 11 hours and five minutes in action, ace after ace, mental and physical torment, but the match spanned a full 46 hours and 34 minutes of the human race's existence.

It started inconspicuously at 6.13pm on the first Tuesday of the Wimbledon fortnight and ended as a globally recognised phenomenon at 4.47pm on the Thursday.

Isner sent exceptional forehand and backhand winners fizzing past Mahut in successive points to take the win, sensational trolling from the American given both men were physically beat on their feet.

The match is quaintly recorded in Wimbledon's official compendium thus: J.R. Isner (USA) bt. N.P.A. Mahut (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 70-68

That final-set score will forever have the air of a misprint, and Isner admitted to feeling "delirious" when play was suspended due to fading light on the Wednesday evening, the contest poised at 59-59 in the decider.

"It's a basketball score," Isner later told ESPN. "It always reminds me of that. I'll never forget these two numbers for as long as I live."

CALL THE COPS

You could watch The NeverEnding Story seven times in 11 hours and five minutes.

In the playing time that it took Isner to break Mahut's resistance, and his heart, you could watch Rafael Nadal's victory over Roger Federer in their epic 2008 Wimbledon final twice over, and be almost halfway through a third viewing.

You could watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and leave yourself an hour and 47 minutes to wonder why you just did that.

Or you could watch all seven films in the Police Academy franchise and have a spare hour and four minutes to ruminate on whether Mahoney had a heart of gold or a hollow soul.

In 46 hours and 34 minutes, you could indulge your own Mission To Moscow fantasy and drive from the All England Club to the Russian capital, enjoying a couple of short overnight stays on the way.

EVEN THE SCOREBOARD COULDN'T BELIEVE IT

The truth is that barely anybody was engaged with Isner versus Mahut for its entirety. Different days mean different crowds at Wimbledon.

Isner, the 23rd seed, and qualifier Mahut were assigned a late-afternoon Tuesday slot on Court 18, one of Wimbledon's smaller show courts but a hidden gem, and it was only on the Wednesday, when the fifth-set score kept nudging up, that media-room interest began to whip up.

By tea time on the second day, it was the longest match in Wimbledon history, then the longest in all grand slams, going beyond the six hours and 33 minutes Fabrice Santoro needed to beat Arnaud Clement in their 2004 French Open tussle.

The big serving of both players was cooking up never-before-seen numbers.

The scoreboard stalled at 47-47, technology's own expression of disbelief. And yet tennis' Fischer versus Spassky continued, a trial of temperament as much as talent. There was no Cold War element, just the question of which man would crack as the pressure ramped up.

On day four, the UK's Queen Elizabeth II made a rare visit to Wimbledon, albeit not to spend the day on Court 18.

RECORD AFTER RECORD

Come Thursday's denouement, Isner and Mahut had contested the most games in a grand slam match, with 183 toppling the previous record of 112.

They had played the most games in a set, with their 138 eviscerating anything in the record books, and until the dramatic finale they had played 168 consecutive games without a break of serve. The run of holds began early in the second set.

The fifth set alone, lasting eight hours and 11 minutes, was longer than any entire match ever played in professional tennis.

Isner hit a mind-boggling 113 aces across the piece and Mahut made 103, a miracle of athletic achievement.

Serious aesthetes may have found little to love except the drama, but sometimes drama and shows of lung-busting human willpower outweigh finesse on the sporting field.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

Isner bombed out a day later, thumped 6-0 6-3 6-2 by Thiemo de Bakker, with the American a victim of his own first-round excesses, but the match against Mahut will never be forgotten.

A plaque on the wall outside Court 18 marks what occurred there, Wimbledon's equivalent of a Hollywood star as passers-by queue to be photographed next to the permanent record.

The introduction of a fifth-set tie-break at 12-12 by Wimbledon in 2019 means there is no prospect of another 70-68 these days in SW19.

Freakishly, Isner and Mahut were drawn together again a year later in Wimbledon's first round. Second time around, Isner needed just two hours and three minutes to record a straight-sets win.

There's no plaque to mark where that happened – it was Court Three, for the record – nor is the rematch spoken of in the bars and restaurants of Wimbledon Village.

They still talk reverentially of the 2010 occasion though, with 'Isner-Mahut' shorthand for the spectacular sporting stamina that tennis had never known the like of before and surely will never again.

As Isner said, moments after walking off court: "I guess it's something Nic and I will share forever really."

Sunday's Adria Tour final has been cancelled after Grigor Dimitrov revealed he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Dimitrov competed in the Serbian and Croatian legs of the exhibition tournament along with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.

The world number 19 lost in straight sets to Borna Coric in the Croatian city of Zadar on Saturday and returned home to Monaco after complaining of feeling unwell.

He has now confirmed he has contracted COVID-19 and the tournament's final, which would have featured Djokovic and Andrey Rublev, has been called off as a result.

Dimitrov took to social media on Sunday to issue an apology for potentially putting others at risk and forcing the competition to finish prematurely.

"I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for COVID-19," he posted on Instagram.

"I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions.

"I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy."

Novak Djokovic won both of his matches and booked a place in the final as the second leg of his Adria Tour got under way in Zadar, Croatia.

The Australian Open champion, who has organised the series of exhibition events, recorded victories over Pedja Krstin and Borna Coric on Saturday.

Last week in Belgrade, a costly defeat to Filip Krajinovic meant Djokovic missed out on a place in the showpiece.

Instead, Dominic Thiem was crowned champion after a final win over Krajinovic.

This time, though, Djokovic will be in the final having won both of his encounters in straight sets on day one.

In his opening match, Djokovic fell a break down and saved three set points before winning a tie-break against Krstin, ultimately claiming a 4-3 (7-3) 4-1 victory.

A comfortable 4-1 4-3 (7-1) triumph over Coric followed as he recovered from a brief mid-match blip when he fell two games behind early in the second set.

Russian Andrey Rublev was another player to earn a 100 per cent record thanks to wins over Marin Cilic and Danilo Petrovic.

Alexander Zverev lost two tie-breaks as he suffered a defeat to Petrovic in his first match, before bouncing back with a victory over Cilic in the last contest of the day, winning a decisive final-set breaker.

On Sunday, the last round of group-stage matches in the day session will be followed by the final in the evening.

Grigor Dimitrov, who was in Djokovic's group, withdrew after losing to Coric in the first match of the day.

Roger Federer has been urged to quit tennis by Novak Djokovic's father, who claims his son and Rafael Nadal are destined to topple the Swiss on the all-time list of male grand slam winners.

The bold comments from Srdan Djokovic came as he spoke to Serbian broadcaster Sport Klub, in a week where Novak Djokovic described Federer as "possibly the greatest tennis player in history".

It remains to be seen which of the men's tennis 'big three' finish with the most grand slam singles titles, but 38-year-old Federer leads the way with 20 at present.

That puts him one ahead of Nadal and three clear of Djokovic at the top of the list, with the coronavirus interruption to this season having seen Wimbledon cancelled.

Federer is taking the rest of the year off after undergoing knee surgery, which rules him out of the US Open and the French Open, with both tournaments still hoping to go ahead in 2020, the latter having been delayed from its scheduled May start.

Srdan Djokovic has suggested the eight-time Wimbledon champion, who turns 39 in August, takes a permanent break from the tour.

"Why do you think he is still playing at 40?" said Srdan Djokovic.

"Imagine that, a 40-year-old man still playing tennis, when he could go home and do some more interesting things.

"But since both Nadal and Novak are breathing down his neck, he simply cannot accept the fact that they will be better than him. Go man, raise children, do something else, go and ski, do something."

According to his father, Novak Djokovic, at 33, has "another two, maybe three years" left in tennis.

"After that, he will be as successful as he was successful in tennis," said Srdan Djokovic.

The French Open has been provisionally put back a week, while the WTA and ATP Tours are set to resume in Palermo and Washington respectively in August.

US Open organisers on Tuesday confirmed the grand slam will start as scheduled behind closed doors on August 31.

September 20 was due to be the revised date for the French Open to begin, but the Paris major was listed as getting under way seven days later when the WTA and ATP announced their revised calendars on Wednesday.

The tournament could not be held in May and June due to the coronavirus pandemic, which brought sport all over the world to a halt in March.

Five months after the season was suspended, it is hoped WTA Tour action will return at the Palermo Ladies Open on August 3.

Events will only take place if medical experts give the green light along with governments and travel restrictions are relaxed.

There were 20 tournaments listed on the new WTA schedule, including the Western and Southern Open, which has been switched to New York, and the Madrid Open leading up to Roland Garros.

August 14 is the proposed date for the resumption of the ATP Tour, with the Citi Open the first tournament for the men to return if the all-clear is given.

There were just seven events listed on the ATP Tour schedule, with the potential for an Asia swing to be included on the next update in the middle of next month.

As with the Madrid Open and Western and Southern Open, both the men and women have the prestigious Internazionali BNL d'Italia clay-court tournament in Rome on the calendar.

Serena Williams has confirmed she will play at the 2020 US Open.

On Tuesday the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced the grand slam at Flushing Meadows will go ahead as planned despite the global coronavirus pandemic.

The WTA will resume on August 3 and there are three tournaments scheduled before the US Open, which is due to run without fans present from August 31 to September 13.

While reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and world number one Ashleigh Barty have expressed concerns about the tournament in New York, Williams has confirmed she will be involved.

"Ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020," Williams told reporters on a Zoom conference call.

"I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everyone is safe.

"It's gonna be exciting. It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis.

"I'll certainly miss the fans, don't get me wrong. Just being out there with that New York crowd and hear everyone cheer, I'll really miss that in some of those tough matches. But this is crazy, I'm excited."

Williams needs one more grand slam title to equal Margaret Court's record haul of 24.

The 38-year-old has ended up on the losing side in each of the previous two US Open finals and the last of her six titles there was won in 2014.

Halep and Barty are not the only elite players to raise concerns about participating in the grand slam while curbing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be an issue for the USA and beyond.

Defending men's champion Rafael Nadal admitted he was not comfortable with travelling while the pandemic continues and world number one Novak Djokovic complained about protocols, which could see players remain at hotels between matches and have only one other person with them at Flushing Meadows.

The US Open can showcase tennis as "the ideal social distancing sport", United States Tennis Association (USTA) CEO Mike Dowse said after plans to stage the grand slam were approved.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Tuesday the tournament will go ahead behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows from August 31 to September 13.

Dowse described the USTA as "incredibly excited" after the green light was given for the hard-court major and the Western and Southern Open to be held at  the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The US Open will go ahead as planned without spectators beginning in August, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed.

Both the ATP and WTA have been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the respective Tours announcing in May no competitions would take place until at least the end of July.

Consequently, Wimbledon was postponed for 2020, while the French Open was controversially rescheduled to begin a week after the final of the US Open.

The future of the slam at Flushing Meadows remained unclear but Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the event will take place between August 31 and September 13.

 

 

Nick Kyrgios accused US Open organisers of being "selfish" for reportedly pushing on with plans to stage the grand slam amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports on Monday suggested the United States Tennis Association will confirm the tournament will begin on August 31 as planned, even though New York City continues to grapple with COVID-19.

This year's Wimbledon was cancelled in April while the French Open has been pushed back from May to September.

However, the US Open appears set to start on time, albeit without fans present and with protocols in place because of the pandemic.

Men's world number one Novak Djokovic expressed reservations about remaining at a hotel between matches and only being allowed one other person with him at Flushing Meadows.

Rafael Nadal, the defending men's singles champion, indicated he would be unwilling to travel to the United States to defend his title while the virus remains prevalent.

Australian Kyrgios has now added his voice to the chorus of disapproval.

He wrote on Twitter: "Smh [shaking my head] - people that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead. 'Selfish' I'll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return."

There have been over two million cases of coronavirus in the USA, where more than 118,000 people have died due to the virus.

Serena Williams would relish the chance to play at this year's US Open and continue her quest to surpass Margaret Court's grand slam haul, the American's coach has said.

It has been reported it will soon be confirmed that the US Open shall begin on August 31 without fans, as planned, despite concerns about the coronavirus safety measures from elite men's and women's players.

Men's world number one Novak Djokovic expressed reservations about being kept at a hotel between matches and the possibility of only having one other person with him at Flushing Meadows, while defending champion Rafael Nadal is not keen to travel to New York while the pandemic continues.

However, Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches six-time US Open champion Williams, believes last year's runner-up in the women's final is keen to play.

Williams needs one more grand slam title to pull level with Court's record of 24.

"Of course, she would love to play," Mouratoglou told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

"For a player to be out of competition is extremely difficult. She's definitely come back to tennis to win grand slams; that's her goal, so the US Open would be the first opportunity to win one.

"You know this US Open will be extremely special, there will be a lot of restrictions and I have to speak with her to see if she will be able to accept and manage those expectations."

Williams gave birth to a daughter – Alexis Olympia Ohanian – in September 2017 and Mouratoglou noted the possibility of her only having one other person at Flushing Meadows may impact him, as he joked the toddler might actually be a better coach for her mother.

"That's exactly what my thought is - I don't imagine her being three weeks without her daughter," he admitted.

"So, she might have a new coach for the US Open... [a] bit younger! Considering our record in the last grand slam finals, her daughter might be more successful than me!"

Andy Murray is "really pumped" about the US Open, according to Feliciano Lopez.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray was nearing a return from injury when the ATP Tour season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There remains uncertainty over when the campaign will resume and whether the US Open, scheduled to start in August, will be played.

Lopez said Murray, who he has played doubles with in the past, was looking forward to the event in the United States.

"We are in touch every two weeks or so. We text each other," the Spaniard told UK media.

"Two days ago I was talking to him, and he was really pumped about the US Open. He was starting to practise again. I asked about the hip, how it was feeling, and he was positive.

"He might be able to compete again. I'm crossing my fingers to see Andy playing again, of course. It would be great for everybody, especially for him."

With travel restrictions in place in many countries around the world, just how the ATP Tour season can resume remains to be seen.

But Lopez is eager for it to get back underway, saying: "I think we need to start playing tennis as soon as possible, this situation can't last for longer.

"We need to play, the players, the tournaments, the ATP, we need to resume. It's been already a long time, there's a lot of people struggling."

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Benoit Paire in his first match in the 2020 Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

The event in France, created by Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou, is aimed at attracting new fans to the sport and is one of the first tennis tournaments to take place since the coronavirus pandemic struck Europe.

The event is played in a league format, with each match consisting of four quarters and a sudden-death fifth if the scores are level.

On Sunday, world number six Tsitsipas defeated Paire 3-1, hitting more than 30 winners en route to victory.

Gasquet beat David Goffin 3-2 after sudden death, with Feliciano Lopez overcoming Lucas Pouille by the same scoreline.

The UTS' first match was won by Alexei Popyrin against Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit, while Matteo Berrettini also claimed a 3-1 victory over Dustin Brown.

Dominic Thiem overcame Filip Krajinovic in three sets to win the final of the Adria Tour exhibition event in Belgrade.

The world number three claimed the opening set after dominating a tie-break but was pegged back in the second, meaning a decider was required to reveal the inaugural champion.

Thiem crucially recorded a break in the third game before holding his serve to love, pushing him to the brink of glory.

While Krajinovic, who had reached the final at the expense of Novak Djokovic, delayed the inevitable by winning the next game, the Austrian served out for a 4-3 (7-2) 2-4 4-2 victory.

Djokovic had seen his hopes of success on home soil dashed when he finished second in his group, a defeat to Krajinovic during Saturday's second session of play proving costly.

While the world number one did go on to record a 4-0 1-4 4-2 win over Alexander Zverev at the Novak Tennis Centre on Sunday, it was not enough.

The eight-player tournament was the opening leg of the Adria Tour, with the next to be staged in Zadar in Croatia on June 21-22.

A planned stop in Montenegro on June 27-28 was cancelled due to restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, though the schedule will still finish in Bosnia on the opening weekend in July.

The Adria Tour concludes on July 5, as Djokovic takes on Damir Dzumhur in an exhibition match in Sarajevo.

An emotional Novak Djokovic will not be involved in the final of the Adria Tour exhibition event in Belgrade despite beating Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

The world number one needed to triumph in straight sets to finish top of Group Novak Djokovic, but his hopes of progressing were dashed when he lost the second to his German opponent.

While the home favourite did go on to record a 4-0, 1-4, 4-2 victory at the Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade, it was not enough.

“I am not crying because I got knocked out of the tournament, I am just overwhelmed by emotion because this reminds me of my childhood," Djokovic told the crowd. 

"It's been an emotional few days and I want to thank everyone who made this possible. The important thing after this match is that we have one of our own in the final. I love you all and thank you so much for turning up."

Djokovic had opened his campaign at the tournament with a comfortable win over Viktor Troicki on Saturday, though he did come off second best in a point played against a ball boy, who thrilled the crowd with a successful drop shot.

Playing again in the evening session, the 17-time grand slam champion suffered his first loss of 2020, coming out on the wrong side of a deciding set in his contest against Filip Krajinovic.

Djokovic compiled an impressive 18-0 record on the ATP Tour this year, including winning the Australian Open, before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Krajinovic will instead provide a home presence in Sunday's final, a victory over Troicki enough to see him top the table.

He will go up against Dominic Thiem, who defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets to progress from a group named after his opponent.

Novak Djokovic suffered his first loss of 2020 as the Adria Tour exhibition event got underway in Belgrade on Saturday.

The 17-time grand slam champion started the event with a 4-1 4-1 victory over fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki.

However, Djokovic was stunned by Filip Krajinovic 2-4 4-2 4-1 in his second match, beaten for the first time this year.

Djokovic was 18-0 on the ATP Tour in 2020, including winning the Australian Open, before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 33-year-old launched the Adria Tour last month, although the event scheduled for Montenegro later in June was cancelled.

Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem claimed two wins from as many matches on Saturday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.