Throwback to the longest tennis matches of all time

The city that never sleeps lived up to its title on Thursday.

The quarterfinals of Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at the US Open 2022 ended as late as 2:50 p.m. ET, marking the most recent end in tournament history. Alcaraz eventually reached the semi-finals by claiming a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3 victory that spanned five hours and 15 minutes.

Although it set a new record for the US Open, it’s far from the longest match in tennis history. Actually not even close.

What is the longest tennis match of all time?

The longest tennis match in history spanned five sets, three days and a 138-point tiebreak.

John Isner passed Nicolas Mahut in a first round match at the 2010 Wimbledon men’s singles tournament, lasting 11 hours and five minutes, breaking the record for longest match ever.

The two players shared the first four sets on the first day of play, which was suspended due to a lack of natural light at the venue. On the second day of the game, the scoreboard stopped working when Isner and Mahut made it 47:47 in the fifth set.

It wasn’t until the third day that Isner finally got ahead. He held at the 137th point and broke at the crucial 138th point, giving him an unforgettable 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 triumph.

The five longest tennis matches of all time

The Isner-Mahut-Marathon is almost as long as the next two longest tennis matches combined.

Here’s the full top five, including another lengthy match with Isner at the All England Club:

1. John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon 2010: 11 hours, 5 minutes (over 3 days)

2. Tomáš Berdych and Lukáš Rosol vs. Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli, Davis Cup 2013: 7 hours 1 minute

3. Leonardo Mayer vs. João Souza, Davis Cup 2015: 6 hours 43 minutes

4. Kevin Anderson vs. John Isner, Wimbledon 2018: 6 hours, 36 minutes

5. Fabrice Santoro vs. Arnaud Clément, French Open 2004: 6 hours, 33 minutes (over 2 days)

Longest tennis match at any Grand Slam

While Wimbledon and the French Open have hosted three of the longest tennis matches of all time, the Australian Open and US Open also have extended competitions.

The two Grand Slams have also seen their longest matches in the late stages of their respective tournaments. Had the Alcarez-Sinner quarterfinals gone 15 minutes longer, it would have set a new US Open record for longest match.

Here are the longest men’s singles games in the history of any Grand Slam:

  • Australian Open: Final 2012, Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal – 5 hours 53 minutes
  • French Open: First round 2004, Fabrice Santoro vs. Arnaud Clément – ​​6 hours 33 minutes
  • US Open: 1992 Semifinals, Stefan Edberg vs. Michael Chang – 5 hours, 26 minutes
  • Wimbledon: First Round 2010, John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut – 11 hours 5 minutes

Longest women’s tennis match of all time

Since women’s tennis matches are best-of-three sets compared to best-of-five on the men’s side in Grand Slams, it would make sense that the women’s longest match would be significantly shorter than the men’s. While no match compares to Isner-Mahut, a 1984 fight between Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner holds its own unique place in history.

It took Nelson just two sets to beat Hepner in the first round at the Central Fidelity Banks International, but the match still lasted a staggering, unmatched six hours and 31 minutes. 29 of those minutes came together in a single rally.

Let me repeat: there was 29 minutes Rally.

The point included 643 shots after Nelson eventually earned the winner. It was a set point for Hepner, who had led the second set tie break 11-10 at the start. Nelson won the next two points, earning a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (13-11) win.

Nelson-Hepner held the record for the longest professional tennis match of any kind until the Santoro-Clément match at the French Open 20 years later. It also remains one of only two women’s singles matches to eclipse five hours.

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