One of the most remarkable sights in U.S. Open history took place Thursday evening at the Louis Armstrong Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York for the second round match between John Isner of the United States and Gael Monfils of France.
Midway through the third set and Monfils down two sets to love, the New York crowd got behind the Frenchman Monfils, who is considered one of the more colourful and flamboyant players in the world today. The only real explanations one can give for the pro-Monfils support were the fact the crowd loved Monfils' personality and they simply wanted to watch more tennis.
For those keeping score, Monfils won the third set before losing the match 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6.
But the fact that the crowd did not back Isner, the top ranked American at number thirteen in the world, is actually kind of baffling. Isner did nothing negative himself to warrant the situation from taking place.
On Thursday night he could have been compared to Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, who for years has been criticized for lacking charisma, despite the fact he is one of the most elite centers in the game. But should one be penalized by the crowd and his native fans for not showing emotion, which many sports fans cherish?
One person that could have been very interested in Thursday's match would have been International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin. The man considered to be the father of the Olympic Games (and also happens to be French) never truly supported nationalism in sports.
However it would also have been shocking to see the same situation as Thursday night take place in Canada, where the fans have got behind Canadian tennis players significantly in Davis Cup action.
Isner will now take on German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.