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Isner reflects on 'crazy' match which did not want to end

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John Isner: 'I didn't think it would end'
  • John Isner tells CNN his match against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon was 'absolutely crazy'
  • American started to think that his 11-hour marathon would never finish
  • Isner eventually closed it out after 183 games which smashed all previous records
  • He lost his second round match in straight sets and is now resting back in U.S.

(CNN) -- John Isner says his 11-hour match at Wimbledon against Nicolas Mahut was "absolutely crazy" and at one point he thought it might never end.

The world number 23 from the United States has gone down in the record books as the winner of the longest match in tennis history.

His epic battle with Frenchman Mahut on Court 18 at the All England Club stretched over three days and 183 games before he claimed the first round clash, 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68.

Isner told CNN that the first day of action on Tuesday June 22 was a "pretty standard four-set match suspended by darkness which happens at Wimbledon."

But nothing could have prepared the man from North Carolina for the incredible events that were to unfurl in the fifth set the following day.

The pair battled for over seven hours and by the time it was called off all the record books had already been re-written.

"That one set just didn't want to end, we played 118 games with no decider and we had to come back next day to finish it off," Isner explained to CNN.

"I think once we got to 30 (games) all I really didn't think it was going to end.

I think once we got to 30 all I really didn't think it was going to end
--John Isner

"Both of us were serving fantastic and it got to the point when we didn't want to make a mistake on our service game.

"We were still able to hit an inordinate amount of aces and every time someone got in a jam we were able to claw our way out of it.

The marathon eventually ended on the Thursday afternoon as Isner finally made a breakthrough on Mahut's service at match point, but not before another 20 games had been completed.

An exhausted Isner lost his second round match the next day in straight sets, but his incredible feat of endurance against Mahut will always be remembered.

The 25-year-old said he had prepared for Wimbledon by training near his home in Tampa, Florida, hitting ball after ball in the blazing heat and humidity.

So fit was Isner that his coach Craig Boynton had made a prophetic prediction ahead of the third grand slam of the year.

"My coach jokingly said I would be able to play for 10 hours because of the extreme conditions I was practicing in and sure enough he was right."

But the reality was both had played to the point of exhaustion and the giant Isner was suffering from agonizing blood blisters on both feet.

"It was pretty brutal, it was ugly," he said.

After taking a well-earned break, Isner will resume play on the ATP Tour later this month as he builds up to the third grand slam of the season at the U.S. Open.