Tennis is a globally known sport, and its fandom is rising with each passing year. However, a question we all asked when we just began watching, and is how long a tennis match lasts.
So the duration of a tennis match makes it different from other sport. Unlike Football or Formula One, a single match of tennis doesn’t last for a limited time of 90 or 120 minutes. Instead, there is no time limit for tennis. As the game lasts until a side wins more sets than the opponent.
Usually, a tennis match lasts for 45 minutes to 2 hours, but the sport is so unpredictable that there have been matches that were over in just 20 minutes to an 11-hour long match. In this article, we will see the Top 10 longest matches in the history of tennis.
#10. Jose Luis Clerc vs John McEnroe
The match which earned the place in this Top 10 list is the final of the prestigious Davis Cup in 1980. In this finale, two legends like Jose Luis Clerc and John McEnroe faced each other.
But the match isn’t only known because of the players but also a duration of 6 hours 15 minutes. Clerc gave a really tough time to the American legend, defeating McEnroe in the first two sets. However, former World No.1 won the third round and forced the match to a fourth round.
The American legend lost to Clerc with a score of 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 11-13. Therefore, former World No.4 Jose contributed Argentine team to lift the Davis Cup. Further, this face-off is recorded as one of the longest matches prior to the tiebreaker era.
#9. Lucas Arnold Ker/David Nalbandian vs Yevgeny Kafelnikov/Marat Safin
In 2002, Davis Cup hosted another long match in the history of tennis. But this match was not a singles like the #10, instead, it was a doubles where Lucas Arnold Ker and David Nalbandian faced Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin.
The semi-finals between the Argentinians and Russian professionals lasted for 6 hours 20 minutes. Both the countries’ performance was phenomenal and even won two sets each. However, the Argentines pushed the Russians to the edge of the cliff and bagged the victory with a score of 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 19-17.
The Argentines failed to reach the finals even after their victory in this long match. Further, the Russian stars not only made it to the finals but also lifted the Davis Cup against France.
#8. Boris Becker vs John McEnroe
The former World No.1 John McEnroe played another longest tennis match at Davis Cup again in 1987. This time the American faced the German Boris Becker.
The face-off between Becker and McEnroe lasted for five sets, and the match lasted for 6 hours 21 minutes. Further, this is the second match on the list, which took place prior to the tiebreaker era.
Both maestros pushed each other to the extreme corners. However, Becker got the upper hand against McEnroe and won with a score of 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2. Further, the American team got relegated from Davis Cup after the defeat to Germany.
#7. John McEnroe vs Mats Wilander
John McEnroe is featuring once more on this list for his 6 hours 22 minutes match against the Swedish maestro Mats Wilander in 1982 prior to the tiebreaker era.
The American once again played a long match just five years prior to the events of the #7 entry on this Top 10 list. The Match between two former Number One was phenomenal, as both players pushed each other and bagged two wins each. However, the American won the last set and won over Wilander with 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6.
The American team reached the finals this time and played against France. Further, the USA lifted the Davis Cup this time after their two failures on this list.
#6. Vicki Nelson vs Jean Hepner
The faceoff between Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner in 1984 at the Central Fidelity Banks International is the longest tennis match ever in the 20th century. Further, it was also the longest match in the tiebreaker era prior to the next entry on this list.
Both the players who faced each other in this historical match were no-name. But after this over 6-hour long match, they imprinted their name in the history of tennis.
Nelson claimed the first set with a score of 6-4, but Hepner made a comeback in the next set and led to a tiebreaker. However, there was a 649-shot rally, the longest in history. Vicki won the tiebreaker for 13-11 and lifted the trophy of a legendary match.
#5. Fabrice Santoro vs Arnaud Clement
In the 2004 French Open, two Frenchmen played a five-set match, which lasted for 6 hours 33 minutes over two days. Further, this face-off broke the record of entry #6 in the tiebreaker era.
Fabrice Santoro won the first two sets, but Arnaud Clement pushed him to a tiebreaker in the third set. Clement not only made a comeback in the third set but also won the fourth round. However, Santoro claimed the victory against Clement with a score of 6–4, 6–3, 6 (5)–7 (7), 3–6, 16–14. There is no doubt it is still a memorable match in the history of Roland Garros.
#4. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner
The 2018 Wimbledon hosted the longest tennis match in the recent year. John Isner faced the South African pro-Kevin Anderson for 6 hours 36 minutes in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam.
Both the players won two sets each and even forced each other to three tiebreakers during the first three sets. However, Anderson won the match for 7 (8)–6 (6), 6 (5)–7 (7), 6 (9)–7 (11), 6–4, 26–24, and moved to the finals against Novak Djokovic. But the South African failed to lift the Grand Slam title.
#3. Leonardo Mayer vs Joao Souza
The rivalry between Brazil and Argentina is world-famous, and the world already witnessed some phenomenal matches in football. However, a fierce tennis match between both the rival countries took place in 2015.
Leonardo Mayer of the Argentine team faced the Brazilian pro-John Souza in the first round of the tournament. The fans never expected to witness a 6 hours 43 minutes long match, which earned this match third place on this list.
The match lasted for five sets where two tiebreakers also took place and the Argentinian star claimed the victory with a score of 7 (7)–6 (4), 7 (7)–6 (5), 5–7, 5–7, 15–13. However, Argentina could only make their way up to the semifinals, losing to the Belgium team.
#2. Lukas Rosol/Tomas Berdych vs Stanislas Wawrinka/Marco Chiudinelli
The Davis Cup has hosted most of the longest tennis matches on this list and the second place on this list took place in the 2013 Davis Cup. The historical match was a doubles, and it is the second doubles match to feature on this list. However, this match lasted for 7 hours 2 minutes, which is 42 minutes more than the other doubles of this list.
Lukas Rosol and Tomas Berdych of the Czech team played against the Swiss professionals Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli. Until the fourth set, the match looked normal with a scoreboard favoring none as both won two sets.
However, the match heated in the fifth set and dragged the match to the record-breaking over a seven-hour time duration. The match eventually concluded in the favor of Rosol and Berdych. Further, Czech Republic even lifted the Davis Cup title in the 2013 season.
#1. John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut
We have already witnessed some insanely long matches but the Number One on this list will blow your minds. Thus you all will agree why it is the ace of this list.
The match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon takes the throne of this Top 10 list. As the match lasted for a record duration of 11 hours 5 minutes and required three days to conclude the legendary match. The match finished with Isner winning the match for 6–4, 3–6, 6 (7)–7 (9), 7 (7)–6 (3), 70–68.
This “endless match” broke many records and also forced the authorities to introduce new rules in the sport. Thus, it seems impossible to break the record of this legendary match.
There is no doubt about the sport is so unpredictable and as the sport is growing, there is no doubt many talented players will come with the potential to break many records. Therefore, we can always expect to witness some changes on this list of “Top 10 Longest Tennis Matches Ever”.
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