A referee calls off the record-breaking men's singles match between… (Alastair Grant / Associated…)
Reporting from Wimbledon, England — John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will play tennis again at Wimbledon, and if Serena and Venus Williams meet each other, it won't be until the final.
That was the big news that came from the Wimbledon draw Friday.
Isner and Mahut played the longest match in tennis history here last year. It took a memorable 11 hours 5 minutes over three days for the American Isner to finally beat the Frenchman, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.
There is a plaque on Court 18 honoring the event, and whatever court the officials at the All England Club assign the Isner-Mahut first-round match to is likely to be jampacked, even if it's Centre Court.
"It's going to be pretty nuts," Isner said Friday after the draw. "I couldn't believe it. I joked with [Mahut] earlier in the week, last week, and said, 'Watch us play each other,' and he said, 'No, there's no way, that's not even funny.' "
Isner and Mahut, who forged a friendship after their marathon match a year ago, had thought they would practice against each other Sunday, but those plans are changed now.
"Maybe we'll go to dinner afterward," Isner said. "We're really good friends now, but obviously we both want to win. But we're going to enjoy it and laugh at it at the same time."
Isner said he didn't care whether he and Mahut play on Court 18, Centre Court or any other court.
"It's going to be crazy," he said, "no matter what."
They are scheduled to play Tuesday, barring weather delays.
The Williams sisters have played in four Wimbledon finals and have combined to win nine of the last 11 Wimbledon championships. Serena is the defending women's champion, but until this week at a grass-court warmup in Eastbourne, she hadn't played a competitive match since her win here last July.
She had been sidelined first by a foot injury that required two surgeries, and then by the effects of a pulmonary embolism. As the defending champion, she is scheduled to open women's play on Centre Court on Tuesday, facing Aravane Rezai of France.
The weather forecast is sketchy for the next few days, with expectations of plenty of rain and wind.
Almost as soon as the draw was released Friday, players were on Twitter with exclamations of amazement that Isner and Mahut drew each other again.
American doubles ace Bob Bryan posted, "Isner & Mahut! Firstround! Again! Gimme a break."
Patrick McEnroe stole a phrase much more associated with his brother John: "you cannot be serious!!!" the former Davis Cup captain and television commentator said.
British favorite and fourth-seeded Andy Murray had a scheduling suggestion for tournament officials.
"Isner vs. mahut, drawing each other in the first round after last year is the most amazing thing I've seen in tennis! Centre court anyone?" he said.