TBH ten years ago i was pretty bored with big serves, but today the points, even on fast courts, are so dang long you could die and be reincarnated 8 times before a point is over--that shoot out between mahut and isner was pretty fun to watch IMHO. grass is always greener i s'pose....
I will tell you why I was cheering for Mahut and am no Isner fan. He relies heavily on his serve, for which he has an inherent physical advantage. Players like Sampras, Federer, Roddick etc. who had or have big serves without being very tall are a lot more praiseworthy in my book.
mahut was relying pretty heavily on his serve too, if i recall....
mahut is 6'3"--only compared to isner is 6'3" "not very tall." but yeah, sampras and federer are veritable midgets at 6'1"
Isner has some groundies, granted, but let's face it: if he didn't have that one shot his ranking would be nowhere near as high as it is.
that is true of almost every player but federer--if nadal couldn't run all day, he'd be a pretty medicore player with results like those he achieves from aug-dec, all year long. most players have only one or two strenghts at most. besides, isner has a pretty fierce forehand in addition to his serve.
And for that shot he has a big advantage that didn't come through skill or hard work.
isner has terrific touch and placement on his serve--his height only makes it all the more imposing, but it isn't reason for why it is so effective in the first place--delpo is no shorty but his serve is only average. i don't think any shot reaches pro-level without some effort...just sayin'
his mental strength is astounding for a tall guy, something Karlovic lacks