The Longest Tennis Match Ever Played

Hank Minchin of Greenwich, CT, serves as a managing director at Credit Suisse in New York City. When he is not spending time with his children in Greenwich, CT, Hank Minchin enjoys attending sporting events and staying in shape by skiing and playing tennis.

The longest match in tennis history began on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, during the second day of play at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. The first-round match was contested by Nicolas Mahut of France, who had played three lengthy qualifying matches simply to gain entry to the main draw, and American John Isner. Play began early Tuesday evening and ended just after nine o’clock due to darkness. To that point, the players had completed four sets. Isner took the first set and, after losing sets two and three, evened the match by winning a fourth-set tie break.

The match resumed the following afternoon. After nearly four hours of play, the pair set a new record for the world’s longest professional tennis match. Mahut and Isner continued to battle for an additional four hours before play was once again called off due to darkness. At this point, the final set was knotted in a tie break at 59 games apiece.

As the match entered its historic third day, Mahut and Isner continued for more than an hour before the American secured the first break since day one, winning the match 70 games to 68 in the fifth set. The final set alone took 8 hours and 11 minutes, eclipsing the previous longest match ever played by more than an hour. In total, the match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. Additional records set during the match included 113 aces served by Isner and 103 by Mahut, the first- and second-most ever, and 84 consecutive service games held, a record both Isner and Mahut achieved over the course of the final three sets.