Mahut – Isner, back to the longest tennis match in history

A few days from Wimbledon, it’s time to reveal the history books and look back on the highlights that made the legend of this Grand Slam tournament. Today, a look back at the longest tennis match ever played between Frenchman Nicolas Mahut and American John Isner. A meeting of more than 11 hours and 183 games which brought the 2 tennis players into the Hall of Fame.

Wimbledon 2010: the longest tennis match of all time

On this Tuesday, June 22, 2010, neither Nicolas Mahut nor John Isner imagined the extent that their meeting on the 1uh round. A meeting between 2 forwards adept at serve and steal and offensive play. Then seeded n°23, J.Isner is not delighted at the time of the draw to fall on the Frenchman, a grass specialist and who was one of the players to avoid for a 1uh turn for an unseeded. And the meeting keeps all its promises. 2 first sets where each player manages to break to win the round (6-4 Isner then 6-3 Mahut) before the servers become unplayable. The 3th and 4th sets end in a tie-break (7-6 Mahut then 7-6 Isner) before the night does not temporarily put the debate after already 2h54 of play! Players who smoke, therefore, see you on Wednesday to finish the match…we think!

Nicolas Mahut and John Isner descend on court n°18 on Wednesday afternoon to start the decisive set. At 5:45 p.m. French time, and with 6:34 a.m. (33-32 for J.Isner), this duel definitely becomes the longest tennis match in history (the previous record was 6:33 a.m. and the meeting between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément at Roland Garros in 2004 with a victory of 1uh named 6/4 6/3 6/7 3/6 16/14). The meeting continues, and the 2 players win their face-off. At 47-47, the scoreboard falls flat! Not programmed for such an unpredictable score, the referee will take care of recalling the score for the spectators present. After a fourth match point saved at 59-58 by Nicolas Mahut (a first at 10-9, then a 2th and 3th at 33-32), the French kept his service to return to 59-59 after nearly 10 hours of play (and more than 7 hours on Wednesday alone). The moment chosen by the referee to send the 2 players back to the locker room.

This Thursday, June 24, all eyes are on court no. 18, which has become the scene of the longest tennis match in history. Spectators are fighting to be able to witness the end of this meeting forever engraved in the tennis record books. Former tennis stars such as John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Tim Henman come to witness in person the outcome of this duel between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. Players on the verge of breaking up the day before but who must return to the fight which goes beyond the simple framework of a tennis match. After another hour of intense confrontation, John Isner gets a 5th Match point at 69-68 on the French serve. A long passing line after a half-volley from the tricolor put an end to this meeting which exceeded everything that could be imagined. A 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 victory for the American after 11:05 of play!

Mahut – Isner: the other records of this match

If the meeting N.Mahut – J.Isner became the longest match in the history of tennis with 11h05 of play, other records were also broken during this match.

First, the duration of the 5th set: 8:11, which makes it the longest set ever contested! Logical given the duration of the match…

John Isner now holds the record for ace in a meeting with 113, ahead of… Nicolas Mahut with 103!

If the 2 players broke the record for the number of aces individually, that also gives a total of 216 aces in a single encounter! For eternity ?

With 138 games played, it is the most prolific match in the history of tennis!

If a lot of games were played, the number of points was beaten, with no less than 980 over the whole meeting!

These recordings will be very difficult to beat. With the organizers who have decided to impose a super tie-break in the 5th and last set in all Grand Slam tournaments, extended matches will be time-limited. Well seen by television… but by spectators and tennis fans?

Although having made 113 aces in the longest tennis match in history, John Isner does not hold the speed record. The recognized fastest tennis service is held by the Czech Lukas Rosol, in 2012, who had propelled his service to 254 km / h at the 1uh round of Wimbledon, against the Australian Samuel Groth. A huge server duel, because the Wallaby had, during a tournament in South Korea in 2015, performed a service timed at 263 km / h. But the ATP did not recognize this tennis record.

This meeting between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner is engraved for eternity. The records broken during this match seem unbeatable, especially with the super tie-breaks activated in the Grand Slam tournaments, limiting meetings from being able to enter another dimension. But the big servers are still legion, the 2022 edition of Wimbledon could give us a show!


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