26 Jun 2010

Long haul for tennis umpire in historic match

7:00 am on 26 June 2010

It was a long haul for tennis umpire Mohamed Lahyani, but the 44-year-old Swede says a lifetime of flying economy class had prepared him to sit in his chair for 11 hours and five minutes presiding over the longest match in tennis history.

The first round mens singles match, which spanned three days, was won by the American John Isner over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set, the pair playing another 20 games before reaching a result.

Umpire Layhani says his voice was wearing thin, but he was too enthralled to feel tired, and he applauded both players for their stamina and exceptional behaviour.

As a memento, the All England Club presented him with a 10-inch Tipperary crystal bowl to be engraved, a Wimbledon tie and Wimbledon silver cuff-links.