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The Longest Tennis Match in History

The Longest Tennis Match in History

The longest tennis match ever, also called the greatest tennis match to be played in all time, was not one between Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray. This match was played in the 2010 edition of Wimbledon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, and is in the records as the longest match to ever be played in ATP history.

Longest Tennis Match
John Isner of USA (L) poses after winning on the third day of his first round match against Nicolas Mahut of France

This match took place on the second day of the Wimbledon Grand Slam. The first four sets went off without a hitch. Isner drew first blood when he won the first set 6–4. Mahut responded by taking the second set 6–3. The third and fourth sets were both decided by tiebreaks. Mahut won the third set tiebreak 9–7, and Isner won the fourth set tiebreak 7–3, leaving the score at two sets each. By the end of the fourth set the light was fading and the match had to be halted.

The action resumed on 23rd June, and neither player gave an inch. Isner failed to convert four match points and Mahut failed to convert two break points on Isner’s serve. Once again the match was suspended for a second time due to fading light with the score at 59-59. Despite the length, the spectators were having a whale of a time.

Then the match began to take a toll on the two, Isner slept for less than four hours before arising. Mahut also slept for only a few hours.

The match was resumed on 24 June, and it was status quo at 68–68. Then Mahut went up 0–30, but Isner won 4 points in a row to hold serve. Finally Isner’s fifth match point cropped up, which he promptly converted with a down-the-line backhand passing shot.

Isner won the deciding final set, 70–68. The entire match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. It was a new world record for the longest tennis match ever. The previous record was 6 hours and 33 minutes, namely the first-round match between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément at the 2004 French Open, which had lasted 6 hours, 33 minutes.

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