Wimbledon 2010 will be remembered for having the longest tennis match ever recorded in the history of tennis. It is really a tribute to the endurance and stamina of these tennis players that such an event ever occurred, among the outdoor grass courts of the famed All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, in the United Kingdom.
At Court 18, from the second day of the tournament (June 22), the game began and did not officially end until Thursday, June 24, at 4:49 p.m. Obviously, the game had to be suspended during each day as daylight faded. The total time for the game was an amazing 11 hours, 5 minutes and a startling number of aces were recorded for each player, 112 and 103. The two players engaged in this epic struggle were American John Isner, from Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nicholas Mahut, from France.
For those not familiar with tennis, the scoring and winning system can be a little confusing. Each player is attempting to score points to win each game. Several games constitute a “set” and 3 or five sets constitute a “match.” Mahut and Isner were playing to win the match, and since tennis rules dictate that to win a set, the winning player must be ahead by at two games (if the score is six games to five). Thus, games are played indefinitely under certain rules systems (such as what is used in Wimbledon) until one player has established the two-game lead needed to break away from the opponent.
For historical purposes, it is interesting to note that the longest previous tennis match was also at a Wimbledon, in 1969, played between Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell. Their match lasted 112 games in the first round, with BBC reporting that it lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes. This record was surpassed in 2003 by two French players at the 2004 French Open, with their match lasting 6 hours and 33 minutes .Obviously, Isner and Mahut’s match completely destroyed either of these previous records, making it unlikely that such a feat will occur again any time soon.
As for the rest of the round in Wimbledon, both Nicholas Mahut and John Isner face stiff competition. Neither player is considered a favorite to win the tournament in the Men’s Single division, especially with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Roddick competing against them. Both players will have to deal with more grueling matches, and any exhaustion or injury brought on by their match-setting record on the previous days. It certainly will be an uphill battle for them but the euphoria over winning such a crazy battle might just be enough to pull John Isner to the top. It certainly would be a spectacular feat, setting the record for the longest match every played AND winning the 2010 Men’s Single Division Wimbledon on the famous greens in Wimbldeon, London, United Kingdom, but he may be the man to do it.
BBC Staff. “Pancho Gonzales.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport/hi/english/static/in_depth/tennis/2002/wimbledon/classic_matches/1969a.stm. AP Staff. “N.C.’s John Isner Wins.” http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/06/24/549630/john-isner-wins-longest-tennis.html