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Monfils injury pits Mahut against marathon opponent Isner

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Perth tennis fans had better prepare for a long day when Nicolas Mahut, replacing the injured Gael Monfils in the French team, takes on American John Isner in a Hopman Cup match on January 3.

With Monfils out of action for at least four weeks because of knee pain, Mahut will partner Kristina Mladenovic at the Jan 1-8 tournament, organizers said on Monday.

Isner beat Mahut in the world's longest tennis match, a 183-game epic played over 11 hours and five minutes with the fifth set decided 70-68, in the first round of this year's Wimbledon men's singles championship.

Hopman Cup tournament director Paul McNamee is among those seeking another marathon battle.

"That Wimbledon match was an epic in every sense of the word, so it will long be remembered," McNamee said.

"But I am now looking forward to watching these guys battle it out in Perth."

Monfils was disappointed after being told by a doctor to skip the mixed teams event.

"I was looking forward to participating in the Hopman Cup for the first time," he said. "I sincerely hope that I will have the opportunity to play there in the near future."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Alan Baldwin)

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