The Longest Tennis Match In History – How It Started
So on Tuesday 22nd June 2010 at Wimbledon in England, began the longest tennis match in history. Nicolas Mahut of France was pitted against John Isner of the USA in round two of the championships. The first 4 sets were played out on the first day with the scores being 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-7. Isner was really expected to win as he was seeded 13th with Mahut being a qualifier to the event ranked at 148 in the world. But as they got into the 5th set all of the records started to fall. The record for the longest ever tennis match in a Grand Slam (or any other tennis event come to that), in terms of both time spent on the court and number of games completed was broken. Another tennis record that was broken was the record for the highest number of aces hit in a game by one player (well, both of the players surpassed the original record of 78 held by Ivo Karlovic.)
The Longest Tennis Match – Isner v Mahut – Day 2
As they went into day 2 of the match the scores got more and more bizarre as neither player could break the other one’s serve. There were a few break points in the match on day 2 and even a match point or two for Isner but the match just went on and on for 7 hours on that day alone. Both players looked tired but Mahut actually looked pretty fresh compared with the struggling Isner who looked like he could barely put one foot in front of the other. However, he hang on by holding his serve really well and slamming down aces and Mahut just couldn’t break him.
As the light started to fade on day 2 at around 9pm and with the scores at 59 all in the fifth set, it was Mahut who suggested that they should call it a day and come back on the Thursday. Even though he looked completely exhausted, Isner did not seem keen on this idea and seemed to want to play on but in the end as they both could not agree, the match was suspended amidst boos from the crowd which soon changed to cheers and a standing ovation for the two players. At this point the match had lasted for almost exactly 10 hours.
Isner v Mahut – Day 3
So they came back out onto court 18 at Wimbledon at 3.30pm, with the scores standing at 59-59 games in the final set. They two players battled on for around another hour when finally Isner broke Mahut’s serve and the match ended withIsner winning 70 games to 68. Finally the longest game in tennis history had come to an end. It was almost a shame that there had to be a loser at this point as both players had battled continuously but there could only be one outcome and that was – somebody had to lose.
So with all the records smashed and 11 hours and 5 minutes of tennis played, there was a presentation made to both the players and the umpire at the end of the game by Anne Jones and Tim Henman, two of England’s most successful tennis players. The players then stood for photos by the scoreboard until Mahut decided that enough was enough and went back to the dressing room.
Whether this kind of epic tennis match will ever happen again is questionable – it by far beat any of the existing records and if it is ever broken, it will be a long time coming. Both players will deservedly go down in the record books.
Born: 26 April 1985
Height: 6ft 9in
Weight: 245 lbs
Seeded: 13th at Wimbledon
Born: 21 January 1982
Height: 6ft 3in
Seeded: Unseeded at Wimbledon (ranked 148 in world)