Friday, June 25, 2010

Best live blog ever?

Xan Brooks of The Guardian's live blog of the marathon Isner-Mahut tennis match at Wimbeldon is fantastic; hilarious, colorful, amazingly well-written on an instant deadline.

As the players battled on and on, Brooks wrote for 11 hours straight. How many ways can you find to describe one player's serve blasting past the other? Many funny ones, as it turns out.

At 4:05 PM, he wrote "The Isner-Mahut battle is a bizarre mix of the gripping and the deadly dull. It's tennis's equivalent of Waiting For Godot, in which two lowly journeymen comedians are forced to remain on an outside court until hell freezes over and the sun falls from the sky. Isner and Mahut are dying a thousand deaths out there on Court 18 and yet nobody cares, because they're watching the football. So the players stand out on their baseline and belt aces past each-other in a fifth set that has already crawled past two hours. They are now tied at 18-games apiece.

On and on they go. Soon they will sprout beards and their hair will grow down their backs, and their tennis whites will yellow and then rot off their bodies. And still they will stand out there on Court 18, belting aces and listening as the umpire calls the score. Finally, I suppose, one of them will die."

Four hours later, he's still writing away: ""John!" chants the crowd. "John! John! John!" They're either calling for Isner or calling for a bathroom break, or possibly both. I'm still not convinced they want Isner to win any more than they want Mahut to win. They just want someone to win; anyone to win. They just long to be released and to go back home. Possibly via the bathroom.

They are chanting "John!" because Isner gets to 0-30 on Mahut's serve and is therefore just two points from victory. Chant all you like, it won't change a thing. Mahut fights back and the score is tied again, at 54 games apiece."

After taking a day off, Brooks was back today, live blogging Wimbeldon for another 6 hours. That slacker Mahut hasn't played since Thursday and won't for a week at least, and Isner only played three quick sets today and now will rest up for a while as well. But Xan Brooks keeps on churning out the coverage.

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