- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2011

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND (AP) - Anyone at Wimbledon a year ago, it seems, remembers bits and pieces of the longest match in tennis history, the 11-hour, 5-minute marathon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

It stretched over three days before Isner won 70-68 in the fifth set.

Get ready for the rematch, scheduled to begin Tuesday at the All England Club. Fittingly, perhaps, Isner-Mahut II might not finish Tuesday. That’s because theirs is the fourth match on tap for Court 3 _ and the forecast calls for rain.

Court 3 holds 1,980 spectators, about 1,200 more than tiny Court 18, which now bears a plaque noting it was the site of the 2010 original Isner-Mahut.

Their rematch has been the talk of the tennis world ever since they were randomly selected to face each other again in the first round in Friday’s draw.

“I thought, ‘Oh, this is a joke.’ And I thought, ‘Well, is it really real? Is it really true?’” Serena Williams said.

Rafael Nadal said that when he heard the news, he felt “sorry for them.”

Right after the draw, Andy Murray suggested in a tweet that this year’s match between American Isner and Frenchman Mahut should be on Centre Court. But Wimbledon announced the Court 3 placement Monday, Day 1 of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

“Their match last year was incredible. It’s not going to happen again. It will never happen again,” Murray said. “I feel for them a little bit that people might be hyping the match up a lot, and it’s not going to be the same scoreline.”

Asked what he recalls from the original Isner-Mahut match, Murray said: “Like, you’d go and practice and then you’d come back, and you’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s still going.’ Then you’d go, like, for lunch, come back, it’s, like, 34-all. It’s just weird. Every time you would go away and do something, you were sort of preparing yourself for the next match. They were just going for so long. It was amazing.”

Roger Federer said players will be monitoring this year’s rematch closely.

“It’s great for tennis. It’s a great buzz. It was an amazing story last year,” Federer said. “They would have had a bit of a focus this year anyway, coming back, but with the rematch, it gives Mahut a chance to redeem himself from last year.”

Isner has said he’d like eventually to accomplish something else in tennis _ such as winning a Grand Slam championship _ so people don’t associate him immediately with his long, long, long match.

Mahut, for his part, said in an interview during the French Open that he doesn’t mind if people always connect him with what he did June 22-24, 2010.

“Maybe in 10 or 20 years,” Mahut said, “people won’t remember which one of us won that match.”

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