WIMBLEDON, England -- It looked like a basketball score, 59-59. But it was tennis. And those were games. In the fifth set, of a match that has gone on for two days and still isn't finished.
Nothing like it has happened before.
"And nothing like this ever will happen again," John Isner said.
They'll never have a tennis match, here at Wimbledon -- or anywhere else -- that goes on for 10 hours. Or a set that, because there are no fifth-set tiebreakers at the All England Lawn Championships, goes on 7 hours, 6 minutes longer than any previous match.
There was no winner. Nicolas Mahut, the Frenchman who seemed as fresh at the close as at the start, told the referee it was too dark to see, because it was.
With Isner's score listed first, the match stands at 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 59-59.
"We fought like never before," the 28-year-old Mahut said. "It was amazing. The fans stayed the whole way. They wanted to see it finish."
The first four sets, Tuesday, took about three hours. The fifth set, Wednesday, seemed to take forever. Isner, runner-up in the 2007 NCAA singles, always was serving from ahead. He was down a double break in the 101st game but pulled it out.
Isner had one match point at 10-9, two at 33-32 and one at 59-58.
Both players became so weary they barely chased balls that were beyond their stance. Not long before the match was halted, Mahut made a dive after a drop shot and splattered on the grass.
"This match was the greatest advertisement we've ever had for the sport outside of some of those finals," said former champion John McEnroe, doing commentary for the BBC. "It showed how physically capable tennis players are. I think the respect level for the sport will go way up."
One big man, the 6-foot-9 Isner, and two big servers. Isner had 98 aces, Mahut 95.
"He was serving fantastic," Isner said, "and I was serving fantastic."
The previous longest singles match in terms of games was 112, when Pancho Gonzales defeated Charlie Pasarell in 1969.
Isner uses his height to get an edge on his serve, but he was unable to get to Mahut's serve. In the end, he appeared more tired than Mahut.
Venus Williams started her match on Centre Court about two hours after Isner and Mahut were pounding away at each other on Court 18 and scored a victory in 40 minutes -- three hours ahead of when the Isner-Mahut match was suspended.
Andy Roddick was a winner but, like almost everyone else on the grounds, he was mesmerized by the Isner-Mahut battle.
"I've been watching them," Roddick said after beating Michael Llodra. "There's so much stimulus going on right now, between the World Cup and Isner's match."
Roddick, of course, went five sets in the final a year ago against eventual champion Roger Federer, but that set went only -- only -- 16-14. Someone called that a marathon. Then this must have been one of those ultra marathons, a 100-miler with racquets.
"It's so important to stay there mentally," Roddick said of long matches and long sets. "You've got to harp on those first points of every service game, try to get that. Those two guys put themselves in a good position as far as serving with a lead."
But they couldn't get in good position returning serve. It was an angle here or a high-speed shot there. Isner's 98 aces are obviously the most in this Wimbledon, and Mahut's 95 are the second most.
"It was impressive," said Federer, a four-set winner. "When you're in something like that, it's difficult to know whether you're laughing or crying."
And then there was the obvious question:
"Seriously. Doesn't anyone have to pee? Umpires included." Roddick wrote on Twitter.
Queen Elizabeth will come to Wimbledon on Thursday, her first appearance in 33 years. She'll watch the last Brit, Andy Murray, on Centre Court, among others.
But she won't see Isner and Mahut, like the Energizer bunny, just keep going and going. They're still playing one for the ages, one that is lasting ages.