John Isner Outlasts Nicolas Mahut in Record-Breaking Marathon Tennis Match
by Staff | June 24th, 2010, 1:28 pm

American John Isner’s 64 36 67(7) 76(3) 70-68 first round defeat of Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon set the record for the longest ever tennis match in history in terms of number of games and duration. ADHEREL

“The guy’s an absolute warrior,” Isner said afterward during an on-court ceremony which featured Tim Henman and Anne Jones. “It stinks someone had to lose. To share this with him was an absolute honor. Maybe we’ll meet again somewhere down the road and it won’t be 70-68.”

According to ITF and Wimbledon records, the match stretched over three days: it began at 18:08 local time on Tuesday, and was suspended overnight at 21:03 at two-sets all; resumed at 14:07 at the start of the fifth set on Wednesday, and was suspended again at 21:10 on Wednesday evening with the score at 64 36 67 76 59-59; resumed at 15:42 on Thursday and was completed at 16:48.

The match lasted 11 hours 5 minutes and totalled 183 games. The final set alone lasted 8 hours 11 minutes. In comparison, the fewest games played through seven rounds to win a Grand Slam Open Era men’s singles title is 147, by Guillermo Vilas at the 1977 US Open.

On Wednesday, Isner missed four match points in the fifth set, one at 10-9, two at 33-32, and one at 59-58.

There were 168 consecutive service holds; until the final game, the last break of serve had been in the second game of the second set when Isner was broken at 0-1.

The two also combined for a record 215 aces. Isner finished with 112 and Mahut 105, both easily besting Ivo Karlovic’s previous best mark of 78.

“John deserved to win,” Mahut said. “He served unbelievable, he’s a champion. It was really an honour to play the greatest match ever at the greatest place for tennis. It was very long but I think we both enjoyed it.”

Isner is still schedule to play doubles with good friend Sam Querrey later Thursday. Isner will be back in singles for his delayed second round match on Friday against Thiemo De Bakker who himself with 16-14 in the fifth to win yesterday. The winner of that match will have to play their third round on Saturday.

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11 Comments for John Isner Outlasts Nicolas Mahut in Record-Breaking Marathon Tennis Match

Huh Says:


TGiT Says:

Learn how to return a serve!

You had ten hours to do it.

Lenny Says:

This just pretty much says it all about this match:

And, while we’re talking numbers, there have already been 26 – yes, 26!! – 5-setters (singles & doubles) over just the first 4 days. Best. Wimbledon. Ever. Or, at least, in a long, long while.

margot Says:

Lenny: completely agree, its been a terrific four days!
And today what about Haase playing some sensational tennis, coming back from horrendous injuries last year. Only 23, although he looks 35!
Dolgo too, love that young man, dodgy hair style and all. Next to Tsonga he looked like a little elf but my goodness did he give his shots some welly.
Andy through too, not tested very much but never mind.
And not forgetting THAT match too.Loads of congrats to John who looked as if he were gonna fall over at 20-20,30-30, 40-40 etc etc!
A brilliant day’s tennis. bring the rest on!

Kimo Says:

Isner and Mahut should be proud. People can say all they want about how the returning was sub-par, but I tell you, just to be able to hold serve for that long without blinking is a huge mental and physical effort.

steve Says:

Truly amazing. There are no losers in this match.

Kimmi Says:

wow, congrats to both players.. Incredible stuff.

So isner won, wow..2nd win on grass. Good luck in the next match.

WTF Says:

Look at these amazing stats..

1st Serve %
Mahut: 328 of 489 = 67 %
Isner: 361 of 491 = 74 %

Incredible that they could keep the % that high after so many games!

Unforced errors are very low too considering how long it was – 39 and 52.

Winners: 244 and 246. That’s an incredible winner to error ratio, probably the best I’ve ever heard of.

A telling statistic though, is that in 11 hours, Mahut had only 3 break point opportunities and only broke once. While Isner had 14 and still only broke twice. Had one of them played against someone who could return serves, the match wouldn’t have lasted half as long.

zola Says:

I was reading Mahut’s interview. In the answer to the last questions it writes: (Tearing up) …

Q. What are your thoughts about John right now?

NICOLAS MAHUT: He’s a champion. He served unbelievable. Every time I was that close to break him, he just serves aces, aces, bomb. I could not do anything. I tried very hard, but he was just too good.

Q. Do you think the two of you will now have an affinity for the rest of your playing careers and long into your retirement?

NICOLAS MAHUT: That’s for sure, yes.

Q. Do you not want the match tomorrow to go on late? Are you tired of leaving Court 18 at dusk?

NICOLAS MAHUT: To be honest, I’m feeling great. Maybe surprised, but I’m feeling great. Just want to come back on Court 18 and win this time.

Q. We asked John what he did after last night when he went off court, what sort of food he got, what massage or treatment he got, then what time he went to bed. Can we ask you the same thing and how you slept?

NICOLAS MAHUT: I didn’t sleep so much. Like three hours or something. I had massage. I took a cold bath. Then, I don’t know, I ate some pasta or something. But I was not hungry.

I just wanted to play today. I was waiting. I was just waiting for the match.

Q. But the body still felt good?

NICOLAS MAHUT: (Tearing up.)

I wish there was not a loser in that match. I cannot believe what we saw in the past three days. They were even announcing the score in the middle of the world cup matches.

I think saying this match lasted so long because Isner and Mahut are not good returners is very unfair. The match lasted because these two guys refused to lose, because they were able to maintain concentration for 7 hours. Can you imaging defending for 67 games?

Just incredible. they were both very likable guys before. Now they are heroes.

Apparently Roddick got some pizza for Isner last night. How nice.

Huh Says:

Thanks for the fantastic interview and for the fantastic article about Rod, John and Pizza!

Luke Says:

Incredible game between Isner and Mahut, but Mahut was always going to struggle to win with only 3 break point opportunities in the entire match!!

I don’t know how far it can make it, but go Hewitt!!

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