Queen of England, Elizabeth II, arrives at Wimbledon

interns Contributor
Font Size:

WIMBLEDON, England—Queen Elizabeth II arrived at Wimbledon on Thursday for her first visit to the All England Club since 1977, and she was expected to watch the opening Centre Court match involving British player Andy Murray.

The queen emerged from a car near Wimbledon’s practice courts an hour before the day’s first matches, and walked toward Centre Court along a walkway lined with spectators. When she reached the members’ lawn, she met several players, including Roger Federer, Venus and Serena Williams and Andy Roddick, and former Wimbledon champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.

Serena Williams greeted the queen with the curtsy she had been practicing. Roddick and Federer bowed.

Spectators cheered as the queen then walked to the clubhouse for lunch.

Later, the queen was scheduled to sit in the Royal Box to watch fourth-seeded Murray face Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in a second-round match. Murray is trying to become the first British player to win Wimbledon since the queen watched Virginia Wade win the women’s crown 33 years ago.

The queen was unlikely to watch the resumption of the marathon match on remote Court 18 between American John Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France that has lasted so long it was suspended because of darkness — for the second night in a row.

After 10 hours of play, 881 points and 193 aces over two days, the fifth set was at 59-all. It kept going because neither player could break the other.

“He’s serving fantastic. I’m serving fantastic,” Isner said. “That’s really all there is to it.”

The electronic scoreboard froze and then went blank, perhaps from the fatigue of trying keeping up with the longest match in the sport’s history. The Wimbledon website also lost track of the score.

Following an overnight suspension, the match resumed Wednesday at the start of the fifth set. More than seven hours later, there was still no winner.

“Nothing like this will ever happen again,” Isner said. “Ever.”

Aside from the astounding marathon match, there were no big surprises on day 3 of the tournament. Federer endured some tense moments before beating qualifier Ilija Bozoljac, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (5), and three-time Wimbledon runner-up Roddick rallied past Michael Llodra 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (2).

Five-time champion Williams lost only 11 points on her serve and beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 6-4. Belgians Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, both back at the All England Club after coming out of retirement, won and remained on course for a fourth-round meeting.

But the showdown of the fortnight has already been determined. It involves an American seeded 23rd and a Frenchman ranked 148th who made the field through qualifying.

Four times in the fifth set, Isner was one point from victory, but Mahut saved each match point. Still undecided, the match was by far the longest in terms of games or time. The fifth set alone took more than 7 hours, making it longer than the previous longest match of 6 hours, 33 minutes at the 2004 French Open.

The 6-foot-9 Isner had 98 aces, and Mahut had 95, with both totals eclipsing the previous high of 78. Isner had 218 winners, Mahut 217.

“He’s just a champ. We’re just fighting like we never did before,” Mahut said. “Someone has to win, so we’ll come back tomorrow and see who is going to win.”

Shortly after 9 p.m., with the score tied and the players talking with a Grand Slam supervisor about whether to continue, fans chanted, “We want more! We want more!” Then they screamed in unison, “Centre Court! Centre Court!” — where artificial lights would allow play to proceed.

The official decided to stop for the night, and spectators gave the players a standing ovation.

“I have almost no words anymore watching this,” Federer said. “It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen and could imagine. I don’t know how their bodies must feel the next day, the next week, the next month. This is incredible tennis.”