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83 minute-Mahut sizzles in Newport


 

Originally published on: 07/07/10 09:33

Ain’t too hot for Mahut

Things aren’t getting much easier for Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, whose first round match at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport saw the digits soar into the mid-90s. Fortunately for the 26-year-old, those numbers were on the thermometer and not the scoreboard, and Mahut’s 11-hour-five-minute Wimbledon epic left him in fine fettle for a mere-83 minute grass court duel with Alejandro Falla.

“Nothing is worse than what I did in Wimbledon,” Mahut told reporters when asked about the soaring heat. “Every match, I pray it will be easier. I can’t complain anymore.”

Defeating Falla 6-3 1-6 6-3 in the first round of the Hall of Fame Championships on Tuesday – Mahut’s first singles match since his five-set (and so much more) loss to John Isner at Wimbledon was never in danger of becoming another marathon. The Newport tournament plays three sets with a tiebreaker in the third, but though Mahut spent just one tenth of the time on court than he did during his loss to Isner, he had to endure another energy-sapping first round slog under the burning sun. 

“I had no choice, either you play or you stay in the locker room,” Mahut said, after a match that saw both he and Falla slapping ice packs on their necks and shoulders between changeovers. “From what I did at Wimbledon, I couldn’t come out there and say, ‘I can’t do it. It’s too hot.’ Now everything’s different.”

Mahut, whose shirt and one of his shoes from ‘the match’ are now on display in the Grand Slam section of the Hall of Fame, admits he cannot shake the incredible encounter.

“Even when I sleep, I’m dreaming about the match,” he said. “It’s a crazy story.

“This match is the best moment of my life, and maybe also the worst. It’s still really painful. It really is. But I’m also pretty proud to be in the Hall of Fame museum.”

Djokovic lets rip

Brushed aside in the opening round in eight of his 13 tournaments so far in 2010, world No.47 Janko Tipsarevic hasn’t had the best of years so far. But his latest first round exit – to Frenchman Arnaud Clement at Wimbledon – was sandwiched in between two pretty major results. The first, a spot in the second final of his career in S’Hertogenbosch – albeit one he didn’t quite turn up for – and the second; which happily for his opposing number, he was well and truly present at, was his wedding to long-time girlfriend and TV presenter Biljana Sesevic.

Davis Cup team mates Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic – along with Slobodan Zivojinovic – president of the Serbian tennis federation, were present at the 26-year-old’s shebang this weekend, as was two-time Wimbledon doubles champion and four-time finalist Nenad Zimonjic. He and partner Daniel Nestor were conquered by Britons Chris Easton and Dominic Inglot in the second round at the All England Club, which meant the world No.1 could skip out of his near-customary appearance in the Wimbledon final to help orchestrate Tipsarevic’s wedding. He’d probably deny that he encouraged Djokovic’s impromptu show of entertainment though, with the Serb shaking off any lingering disappointment from his semi-final SW19 exit by hitting some, errr, colourful(?) notes on stage.

The Serbian clan now turn their attentions to Split, where they will take on 2005 champions Croatia in the first Davis Cup quarter-final in the nation’s history.

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