‘Economy travel prepared me for marathon match’

'Economy travel prepared me for marathon match'
Photo: Alistair Grant/AP/Scanpix
Mohamed Lahyani, the umpire overseeing the longest-ever tennis match and which finally came to a close at 70-68 in the final set on Thursday, has said that economy travel was adequate preparation for sitting in his Wimbledon chair.

The 44-year-old Swede, who lives in Spain, said his voice was wearing out after 11 hours and five minutes over three days making the calls on the marathon first round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

American Isner beat Frenchman Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 70-68 on Wimbledon’s Court 18.

“I travel economy. Seven hours sitting still on court is nothing,” Lahyani said.

“It has been quite amazing to be involved with such an extraordinary match. I can’t imagine seeing another one like it in my lifetime.”

“I didn’t get a chance to feel tired. I was gripped by the amazing match and my concentration stayed good – I owed that to the players. Their stamina was breath-taking and their behaviour exceptional.

“When you are so focused and every point feels like a match point you just don’t even think about eating or needing the bathroom.”

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

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