Xan Brooks is the poor bastard who was tasked with liveblogging Wednesday's Wimbledon action for The Guardian. Things started to turn sour for him around 3:45, when he noted, "John Isner and Nicolas Mahut are locked in a deadlock that shows no sign of ending. The pair are tied at 15 games all in the final set of a mountainous struggle."
"Final" was probably the wrong word to use, though technically accurate, and it was all southbound from there. Read on, and see if you can spot the exact point where Brooks sails over the edge:
4:05 It's tennis's equivalent of Waiting For Godot, in which two lowly journeymen comedians are forced to remain on an outside court until hell freezes over and the sun falls from the sky.
4:25 John Isner's serving arm has fallen off. Nicolas Mahut's head is loose and rolling bonelessly on his neck. And yet still they play on.
5:05 Under the feet of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, the grass is growing. Before long they will be playing in a jungle and when they sit down at the change of ends, a crocodile will come to menace them.
5:25 What happens if, from here on in, every single match at Wimbledon heads into a decider and then decides to stay there, with neither player ever reaching an advantage; with the scoreline simply sailing off the map and into the wide blue yonder? Do the stewards lock the gates and make us stay?
5:55 The Amazing Zombie Tennis Pros are not through with us yet. Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
6:00 In order to stay upright and keep their strength, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have now started eating members of the audience.
6:25 I'm wondering if maybe an angel will come and set them free. Is this too much to ask? Just one slender angel, with white wings and a wise smile, to tell them that's it's all right, they have suffered enough and that they are now being recalled.
7:00 What's going on here? Once, long ago, I think that this was a tennis match. [...] It's not that anymore and hasn't been for a few hours now. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it is long and it's horrifying and it's very long to boot. Is it death? I think it might be death.
7:45 What happens if we steal their rackets?
8:40 Growing darker, darker all the while.
9:25 Last thoughts before I ring me a hearse. That was beyond tennis. I think it was even beyond survival, because there is a strong suggestion (soon to be confirmed by doctors) that John Isner actually expired at about the 20-20 mark, and Mahut went soon afterwards, and the remainder of the match was contested by Undead Zombies who ate the spectators during the change of ends (again, this is pending a police investigation).
The entire saga, though incredibly lengthy, is more than worth your time. Get some rest tonight, Xan. Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy and complete emotional recovery.