Former Illini coach Craig Tiley was on hand. We've been doing this together for a long time.
Many would argue Anderson and Isner deserve similar recognition after the friends warmly embraced at the net before receiving a standing ovation from tennis's most famous centre-court crowd.
Anderson began his Wimbledon with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over qualifier Norbert Gombos before beating Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4.
Both players had set points on their own serve, and both were denied until Anderson scooped a forehand wide and Isner was ahead.
Kevin Anderson and John Isner called for Grand Slam chiefs to introduce a cut-off point for final set marathons after their Wimbledon semi-final entered the record books as the second longest ever singles match at a major. Anderson earned his fourth victory in all-time head-to-head battle with Isner.
Five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg enjoyed the Isner-Anderson contest with wife Patricia Östfeld.
The roof was closed and Nadal and Djokovic had until the 11pm club curfew to finish or return on Saturday, the traditional rest day for the two men's semi-finalists.
Indeed, one tired spectator had had enough in the 27th game of a grueling fifth set that seemed to be dragging on with no end in sight as he heckled: "C'mon guys, we want to see Rafa!"
One key area in which Anderson held the edge throughout was in unforced errors, as Isner committed 59 to just 24 for Anderson.
The third set was a more fraught affair that was decided by a tie-break.
After that, each continued to hold serve and did so for 48 games in the final set. Anderson, who typically shows a reserved demeanor, would frequently fist-pump after winning a point. "I've felt better before", said Isner who had also been hoping to be the first American man in a Slam final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.
This is just the latest high point for Anderson over the course of an impressive last 11 months.
News of the women's final being moved to accomodate for the men's semi-final was greeted with shock and anger by many, who argued tournament organisers could instead make the men wait to play until after the women had their match.
Yet Anderson's previously impenetrable serve suddenly looked vulnerable and in the very next game Isner broke back, once again taking the set thundering towards another tie-break.
Williams took notice and is treating her opponent with due respect in what will be the 36-year-old's 30th grand slam final - but just her 15th match since returning to tennis after more than a year off on maternity leave.