Kevin Anderson called for changes to the way grand slam matches are decided after revealing his sympathy for John Isner at the end of their six-and-a-half-hour Wimbledon marathon.
The two players were well matched throughout and the lack of a tiebreak in the final set prolonged the match until Anderson finally broke through at 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24.
The match was the second longest in Wimbledon history - after Isner's 11-hour 2010 defeat of Nicolas Mahut - and Anderson was not in a celebratory mood after dragging himself off court.
"I don't really know what to say right now. Playing like that in those conditions is really tough on both of us," he said. "At the end, you feel like this is a draw.
"But somebody has to win. John is such a great guy and I really feel for him because, if I'd been on the opposite side, I don't know how you can take that, playing for so long and coming up short.
"I apologise if I'm not more excited right now, it's just coming through something like that leaves so many mixed emotions."
Discussing the short turnaround to Sunday's final, Anderson continued: "It's tough, I'll just try to do the same protocols.
"Honestly, I really hope this is a bit of a sign for grand slams to change the five sets. For us to be out there for this length of time, not just on us but coming back and trying to compete at this stage...
"It's happened to John before and he's played another five hours. I really hope we can look at this and address this. At the end, you don't even feel that great out there.
"At the same time, I'm through to the final. Wow. What can I say about that? I'm going to have to recover as much as I can and to try to be as ready, as fresh as possible."