Nicolas Mahut has started to notice back in France he is getting recognised in the streets. “People on the street congratulate me,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, less than a week after he played in — but lost — the longest match in tennis history. “This is weird. Because for me, it’s still painful and disappointing.”
“About the loss, people are thinking further than win and loss. It’s more than that,” he said of the well-wishers who are more interested in his place in history than he is — for now, at least. “I need time. It’s still really painful for me. But I think after a few weeks I will feel like we did something special, John and I.”
Isner lost his second-round match in straight sets, then returned to the United States to throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game and read a Top Ten list on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.” Mahut said he has done interviews for newspapers and TV shows in France, and French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot called to set up a meeting.
Mahut said the International Tennis Hall of Fame asked for a racket and shirt that he wore in the match; he will donate the well-worn equipment when he goes to the Newport, R.I., museum for next week’s Hall of Fame Championships.