The Longest Tennis Match

June 24, 2010. Being a devoted tennis enthusiast since childhood till today, I have to post this, even though I know the whole world is tuned into FIFA right now:

Congratulations, John Isner for finally winning your match against Nicolas Mahut! But both of you are winners, really. Wow! The longest match in professional tennis history ever! In July 2008, I’d watched the nail-biting epic Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. That was a game I’ll never forget….But this one just blows one’s mind away due to its sheer length and tenacity. It spread over 3 days for more than 11 hours!  And just the final set itself lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes!! (The shortest tennis match by contrast at a Grand Slam is the 1988 French Open Final which Steffi Graf won 6-0, 6-0 against Natasha Zvereva in a record 32 minutes.) I’m only wondering just how physically exhausted Isner and Mahut must be right now. And this was just a first round match. And Isner has to play another just this coming Friday!

 John Isner

John Isner (Photo: Alastair Grant, AP.) “Honestly, when I left the match, I really thought it was a dream. I didn’t think that type of match was possible. So I was really expecting to wake up, in all seriousness. I didn’t sleep great. I only slept for four hours. I talked to Nic. He said he only slept for about three. So we’re both kind of running on fumes right now. Yesterday, I didn’t know what I was thinking out there, especially once the match got past, you know, 25-all. I wasn’t really thinking. I was just hitting a serve and trying to hit a forehand winner is the only thing I was doing. Fortunately, that was going in on my service games. He was serving great and hopping around eight hours into the match, which was remarkable.”- Isner.

The Associated Press has the following report:

WIMBLEDON, England — John Isner has won the longest match in tennis history, taking the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut 70-68.

The first-round match at Wimbledon took 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days. Isner closed out the victory Thursday with a backhand winner, then collapsed to his back as he tossed his racket in jubilation and relief.

Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.

The match lasted so long it was suspended because of darkness — two nights in a row. Play resumed Thursday at 59-all and continued for more than an hour before Isner won.

The American finished with 112 aces, and Mahut had 103. There were only three service breaks in the match, the last coming on the final point.

A more detailed article on the match, quotes by the players and the biographic as well as biometric information of the two towering tennismen is here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/06/24/549681/isner-tops-mahut-in-longest-ever.html

There is something very objective, very individualistic about tennis singles matches that I’ve always found very fascinating. It is a game where victory depends on the person alone, independent of teams, and more based on individual strength, skill and stamina. And when two good players battle it out on the court, there is something very inspiring in the way they both try their best, for the sake of good shots and a good game, without anything personal against each other. There is something extremely powerful about good tennis matches that can only be experienced, not written about.

Bravo Isner & Mahut! Thank you  for giving us an incredible  match that we’ll always remember…..

3 thoughts on “The Longest Tennis Match

  1. Amazing!. Tennis has to change the rule though, Isner couldn’t even hold his racquet the next match.
    Go Fed!!!!

  2. The poor chap was exhausted….it’s sad he lost in the shortest matches ever the next day. What a story! But it doesn’t matter – the fact that he fought in the longest match ever is an achievement in itself.

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