Wimbledon: The longest-match rematch is coming to Wimbledon next week after John Isner and Nicolas Mahut were drawn on Friday to face each other in the first round.

Last year, the pair played the longest match in tennis history at the All England Club, with Isner winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 in a first-round match, which lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes stretched over three days.

An audible gasp followed today's announcement, but laughter soon ensued.

"It's going to be pretty nuts," Isner said on Friday. "I couldn't believe it, I joked with him 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.'"

The two players, who have become good friends since their historic encounter a year ago, were due to practice with each other on Sunday but canceled those plans as soon as they found out the rematch was on.

"We might do 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." The matchup was the talk of social networking site Twitter as soon as it was announced.

"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?!" fourth-seeded Andy Murray said.

Former US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe borrowed his brother John's famous catchphrase as he posted: "you cannot be serious!!!"

The match last year was played on Court 18, and a new plaque this year commemorates the epic contest. Isner said he didn't mind which court they played on.

"I don't care what they do," Isner said. "It's going to be crazy, they might put us on a bigger court, (or) put us back on that court (18)."

This year's contest is scheduled to take place or begin at least on Tuesday. Their first-round match was held over twice because of darkness last year, and with rain forecast for the opening week of Wimbledon, there is a chance they could be delayed again.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal was drawn in the opposite half from six-time champion Roger Federer, meaning there is a chance of a fourth Wimbledon final between the two.

The top-seeded Nadal will start against Michael Russell of the United States in the opening match on Centre Court on Monday.

Nadal could come up against the big-serving Milos Raonic in the third round and then 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the last 16. If the seedings pan out, Nadal's
quarterfinal could be a rematch of last year's final against Tomas Berdych.

Federer has second-seeded Novak Djokovic as his projected semifinal opponent. The third-seeded Swiss will face Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round, and could encounter former finalist David Nalbandian in the third round.

(Agencies)