Have mercy! Anderson and Isner demand rule change after Wimbledon epic

Novak Djokovic is back at his best and the Wimbledon champion for a fourth time grabbing a lead right away against a weary Kevin Anderson in the final and winning 6-2 6-2 7-6 on Sunday

It was a severe test of stamina for both players, as well as those watching, and meant a long wait for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who were due on next in the second semi-final.

When asked how he would recover from such an epic and play in the Wimbledon finals on Sunday afternoon, the South African said: "It's tough, I really don't know".

"Until the last shot I didn't know if I would win".

The total match time was 5 hours, 15 minutes, making it the second-longest semifinal match in terms of duration in Wimbledon history.

But Isner saved a set point at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker and then got a crucial mini-break to go up 8-7 before winning the next point to even the match at a set apiece. Anderson finally came through on his sixth to lead 25-24, then served out the victory when Isner sailed a forehand wide.

Anderson was praised after expressing his sympathy for Isner in a humble post-match interview and later tweeted: "Thank you John for being an incredible sportsman and friend".

Friday proved to be another long day for Anderson, who said after the match that he hoped the 50-game fifth set would be "a sign for Grand Slams to change".

Of course, there was another player on the other side of the net - for whom Anderson's triumph was a tragedy: Isner. Because of the length of the first match, that semifinal will be played with the roof closed. Still, Isner did jokingly ask chair umpire Marija Cicak at one point during the last set whether they could play a tiebreaker.

"I feel pretty bad", Isner said afterward. The two went back and forth all the way to 12-all, essentially playing a full sixth and seventh set.

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Of the task against Anderson, Djokovic said: "Hopefully we can first of all play, both of us get out on court".

"I've known John for such a long time, he is a great guy".

Djokovic, whose last grand slam final appearance came at the 2016 US Open, said: "I'm just overwhelmed".

"It's fair to say that was a great match and he beat me".

Isner, who previously said Wimbledon had become "a house of horrors" for him since his 2010 match, had been trying to become the first American man to reach the final since Andy Roddick in 2009.

"If I talk about it, then you are going to write about this, and I don't want you to write about this today".

He had break points in the 15th, 21st and 35th games of the decider before taking victory when a tired Isner, who had needed treatment for blisters on his right hand, hit long."It just seems cruel and unusual punishment for these guys", former champion John McEnroe said on the BBC. I have so many mixed emotions getting through something like that.

Numerous best points came in the tiebreaker, including a 23-shot rally that Nadal finished off with a forehand half-volley drop shot to set up his first set point. Of the four Grand Slam events, only the U.S. Open uses a final-set tiebreaker. I've felt better before. "I can feel the crowd (get) pretty antsy for us to get off the court".

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