On This Day In 2010: Wimbledon Witnesses The Longest Match In Tennis History

On This Day In 2010: Wimbledon Witnesses The Longest Match In Tennis History
06:00, 24 Jun 2017

When people talk about the great games at Wimbledon thoughts inevitably turn to the likes of Andy Murray, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and the Williams sisters.

But in 2010, what appeared a pretty low wattage early round game between American John Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France, went on to achieve legendary status.  

The contest lasted for a mammoth 11 hours and five minutes which was spread out over three days, after 183 games, 216 aces, 980 points and a fifth set, the longest game in Wimbledon history was finally over. Isner set his own record during the tournament hitting a total of 112 aces throughout the course of the match.

The match started off at a slow pace, Isner taking the first set 6-4. Then Mahut took the next two scoring 3-6, 6-7 (7); Isner took the fourth set back 7-6 (3). At 9.00pm play was suspended before the fifth and final set could start due to fading light.

Play resumed the following day at 2.05pm, Point after point was scored and neither player wanted to surrender. At  5:45pm with the score standing at 32-32 the match officially became the longest in tennis history.

The match was so intense and at 47-47 even the scoreboard decided it was enough and stopped working. Court 18 was now the game to watch and no other game seemed more interesting. 

Play was halted once again because of fading light and restarted at 3:40pm the next day and at this point, both men had very little sleep. After one hour and seven minutes, the fifth set finally produced the winner John Isner winning 70-68. The final set lasted an incredible eight hours and 10 minutes.

Promptly after the match, recognition was given to the players for their outstanding efforts and they were presented with a 10-inch Tipperary Crystal Bowl and six Waterford Crystal Wimbledon champagne flutes. The umpire who sat through each day without a break was also gifted with a 10-inch Tipperary Crystal Bowl, a Wimbledon tie and Wimbledon silver cuff-links. 

The match was four hours and 32 minutes longer than the previous longest-ever match which was played between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement. To commemorate the match a plaque entitled 'The Longest Match' hangs at court 18 bearing the score and duration.

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