Isner v. Mahut Match Setting Tennis Records, But It’s Not Over Yet
by Staff | June 23rd, 2010, 6:09 pm

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s suspended 1st round match has already set the record for the longest ever tennis match in history in terms of number of games and duration. The match resumed at the start of the fifth set on Wednesday after play was suspended on Tuesday at two-sets all. ADHEREL

The current score is: Isner v Mahut: 64 36 67(7) 76(3) 59-59

Isner and Mahut’s current match-time stands at 10 hours and has lasted 163 games so far. The final set alone has already lasted 7 hours 6 minutes.

In the fifth set, Isner had one match point at 10-9, two at 33-32, and one at 59-58.

Isner currently holds the new record for the most number of aces served by one player in a men’s singles match (since ATP began keeping records in 1991), with 98 so far. Mahut’s 95 aces puts him in second place.

Top 10 longest-known matches in history
10 hours, John Isner v Nicolas Mahut – 2010 Wimbledon, 1st round
6 hours 33 minutes, Fabrice Santoro d. Arnaud Clement – 2004 Roland Garros, 1st round
6 hours 22 minutes, John McEnroe d. Mats Wilander – 1982 Davis Cup, World Group Quarterfinal
6 hours 21 minutes, Boris Becker d. John McEnroe – 1987 Davis Cup, World Group Play-off
6 hours 4 minutes , Horst Skoff d. Mats Wilander – 1989 Davis Cup, World Group Quarterfinal

The previous longest singles match in terms of games (all-time):
112 – Pancho Gonzales d. Charlie Pasarell 22-24 16 16-14 63 11-9 (1969 Wimbledon, 1st round)

The previous longest doubles match in terms of games (all-time):
122 – Stan Smith/Erik Van Dillen d. Patricio Cornejo/Jaime Fillol 79 37-39 86 61 63 (1973 Davis Cup, USA v CHI, American Zone Final)

The previous longest fifth set in Grand Slam men’s singles (all-time):
21-19 – Andy Roddick d. Younes El Aynaoui 46 76 46 64 21-19 (2003 Australian Open, quarterfinal)

The previous longest fifth set in Wimbledon men’s singles history:
20-18 – Mark Philippoussis d. Sjeng Schalken 46 63 67 76 20-18 (2000 Wimbledon, 3rd round)

The previous longest men’s singles set at a Grand Slam (all-time):
25-23 – John Newcombe d. Marty Reissen 46 63 64 25-23 (1969 US Open, round of 16)

Most aces served by one player in a match (since 1991)
98, John Isner, 2010 Wimbledon 1st round , Match suspended
95, Nicolas Mahut, 2010 Wimbledon 1st round, Match suspended
78, Ivo Karlovic, 2009 Davis Cup WG-SF Rubber 1, l. Radek Stepanek 67 76 76 67 1614
55, Ivo Karlovic, 2009 Roland Garros 1st round, l. Lleyton Hewitt 67 67 76 64 63

You Might Like:
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Roger Federer: My Records Will Be Broken
Drawing Inspiration from Isner-Mahut
Zverev, Karlovic, Mahut, Hewitt at ATP Hall of Fame Newport on Grass
Anderson Tops Isner In Wimbledon Marathon Semifinal; Djokovic Leads Nadal Before Curfew

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61 Comments for Isner v. Mahut Match Setting Tennis Records, But It’s Not Over Yet

zola Says:


I don’t want neither Isner or Mahut to lose. neither of them! 2-2, 59-59, there should be arule that they both go through. It would be heartbreaking to loe a match after so many points and sets. This is unbelievable.

some stats:
total time exactly 10 hours—7 hours, 6 minutes , Previous full-match record : 6:33, at the 2004 French Open.

longest number of sets played in wimbledon since 1877: 112 games in 1969
Isner and Mahut: 118 games only in the 5th set

The courtside electronic scoreboard got stuck at 47-47 when the score got to to 48-48 .

Total number of points played: 881 points, 612 in the fifth set.
Isner hit 98 aces,
Mahut hit 95

previous record for Aces in a match at any tournament, 78.

some of the titles I saw as I was following on the web:

The never ending match
Show must go on
To infinity and beyond!

Gregoire Gentil Says:

On the website, the IBM scorebard got stuck too!!!


I thought Isner was toast for about the last 10 games of the match. He looked exhausted. Mahut looked fresher. Even so Isner had more chances.

I think Isner was supposed to play doubles today so that was obviously cancelled. They are the 3rd match to take the court tomorrow then after they finish they both have doubles matches to play. Debaaker won’t get the winner until Friday so they will be one day behind the other players in their section.

Huh Says:

Even if the scoreboard will show someone as loser of the match, he’d not have lost this match in the real sense of the term. This is WELL AND TRULY the only match in the history which would have no loser, ONLY MATCH in tennis history!

Huh Says:

This 5th set is nearly as impossible as Fed’s 23 consecutive semi streak!

funches Says:

If either one of them had any ability whatsoever on return of serve or from the ground, the match would have ended much earlier, so they are getting credit for being mediocre players.

Mahut won his second round of qualifying 24-22 over Bogdanovic, the Brit who is 0-8 lifetime at Wimbledon.

Cindy_Brady Says:

Huh has now reached new levels of dumb.

Comparing one of the greatest achievements in all of sports (Federer’s 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals in a row) to a single first round marathon match involving awful returners.

Federer’s record involved greatness spanning over 6 years while the Isner/Mahut match spanned 24 hours of bad returns.

Fantastic comparison Huh. Outstanding!

zola Says:

I think apart from the level of play, the endurance and will of these two guys just amaze me. If either of them gave up at game 12 or 20 , no one would have blamed him.

This is history we are watching and as Isner says, something like this is very unlikely to happen again.

PJ Says:

To be fair, both guys are serving incredibly well (especially in the ace department). I think it certainly is fair to say that if either were a better returner, the match would be over, but let’s just enjoy the historical moment for what it is. I really feel badly for both of them, to a degree. Someone will lose (which sucks), but how can the winner come back to actually win another match? This is only the first round . . .

tennisfansince76 Says:

lighten up cindy. even if the returning in this match is far from stellar still somebody usually puts somebody else out of their misery before 60-60.
although not top shelf in terms of quality still this is a freak match for the ages. nobody is likely to come close to this 5th set for 100s of years. and
if they do Wimby will probably change their rules.

tennisfansince76 Says:

I thought Isner was going to die out there. he looked like a zombie. this match could only happen on grass. on any other surface they would have carried somebody off the court on a stretcher by now!

Kimmi Says:

zola – I guess now you won’t be worried about Isner anymore? :-)

I hope Isner win because if he loses, his grass record will get even worse 1-6 ..that will just suck.

de bakker must be thinking, give me one of these guys and I will have a walkover to the third round. Unreal!

grendel Says:

Nelta – Isner was looking worn out in the twenties, Mahut looking sharp and fresh. Forty games later, Isner still looking worn out, Mahut still looking sharp and fresh.

I’m surprised at some of the comments which have been made on this match. Admittedly, there was a period when I was kind of reminded of my student days. There’s be some Andy Warhol film on, about somebody staring at a wall for 6 hours, and we’d all be crowded in the film theatre earnestly watching this stuff, and it was partly a matter of stamina – who could outlast who – and partly a reluctance to be the first to concede defeat. There was a curious feeling of accomplishment as one staggered out of the hall, high on boredom.

But after a while, I realised this was quite wrong. The concentration of both these players – both of whom have been criticised for suspect temperament – was mindboggling. Time and again when one or the other was in trouble, he would unleash a great serve. Mahut played some very accomplished tennis imo. He’s a very, very good grasscourter. Isner would look inept a lot of the time,and then out of the blue produce 3 or 4 screamingly good shots. This sheer unpredictability actually made for exciting tennis. Once you were drawn into it, you couldn’t fail to be absorbed.

I was hooked, even though, switching quickly from time to time via the red button, I could see Federer was in trouble again and might well go out. Normally, nothing would have kept me from grimly observing those particular proceedings. But Mahut and Isner had prior claim on my emotions. This has been their day and, in a way, whatever happens, their match is likely to linger longest in the memory of Wimbledon 2010.

The human drama was undeniable, Isner didn’t just look weary, he was so leaden footed once or twice he would simply look at a ball going by him with a kind of dazed curiosity as if it might possibly have something to do with him. The man’s finally gone, you thought. And then two games later he would go haring around the court like a frisky puppy and land a delicate drop volley. Nothing was what it seemed, you couldn’t gauge what was likely to happen. Or rather you’d think, yes, obviously it’s going to be Isner, and then five minutes later it was clear that Mahut would carry the day.

Isner’s tiredness had a special elephantine massiveness about it. Fatigue exuded from crumbling features as Isner somehow pushed his body up to the service line, barely able to lift his arm to serve. The ball would shockingly just pop over for a delighted Mahut to give it the treatment. So this was it, then. You resignedly awaited the inevitable break, and Isner would calmly deliver another ace.

Djokovic came on air, shaking his head with enormous respect, and he said that all the players were watching, hardly able to believe what they were seeing – among other things, the sheer quality, yes, quality – and I’m not surprised. The crowd was animated and absolutely engaged with the heroics on court and when they cheered, and they cheered more and more as the evening drew on, it was for both players. There wasn’t a hint of partisanship, that would have been somehow irrelevant.People were smiling with pleasure. Something truly remarkable, and somehow uplifting, was going on.

McEnroe raised the point which had occured to me, actually, he was getting alarmed for Isner’s health. This huge man was pushing that elongated body to its limit. Could he have a heart attack? Things like this were in your mind.

McEnroe also said – which was obvious – that whoever won this match wasn’t going anywhere. I’m not so sure about Mahut, actually, but Isner is surely a spent force. But it hardly matters. What these two achieved today will be talked about for years and years. I haven’t the slightest doubt about that. As it happens, I watched the Clement Santoro match at Rg a few years ago – the year Ferrero won – that was, until today, the longest ever match in a slam. We still talk about it. But this match will prove much more memorable.

skeezerweezer Says:


Time for you to pick a new sport to cat scratch. Geez,

These guys played 10 hours, we probably will never see this again. Do I want to? No. But an unbelievable achievement in it’s own right and will probably go down as THE definitive story of the tourney, these guyus to me are the Champions of the tourney!

We all saw history being made. I don’t care about no return game. You try and play for just 4 hrs straight even and see how well you move, or better yet, if you can get up after sitting down! Geez…take up Bocce ball or something. Dang!

topspin Says:

Are they bad returners? yes compared to how GREAT they are serving!! yes Isner had a couple of match points, but mahut had some break points too.

These guys were playing amazing and that’s all that can be said. I mean being down some break points and ace the next points?? c’mon anyone that tired and exhausted might have given up, double fault, try too hard and go wide, but these guys were playing some top tennis until the end.

Sure some shots neither of them could get since they were so tired, but wow some of mahut returns, even those dives and continue playing great was just amazing. Also look at Eisner’s crosscourt forehands, ripping the court! when it was in the 50’s games, where did this guy come up with such energy, I thought he was gonna pass out on the court.

But MAJOR props to the chair umpire, what a bladder my man, what a bladder!!

I only HOPE for another 8hrs of fun tomorrow!!

Oleg Says:

First of all they’re both tennis pros and amazing servers. They are not “awful returners” or “mediocre players”.

It takes two idiots (funches and Cindy_Brady) not to recognize this amazing accomplishment.

Thankfully most people, including respected tennis legends (Federer, McEnroe, Djokovic, Roddick, etc.) can appreciate what we are witnessing here.

skeezerweezer Says:


I know you were there today girl, you can say you were there that day when……:)

Thanks for the posters up here who recognize the achievement today, you are true and knowledgeable fans. You watch, they will talking about this history making moment the rest of the tourney……

jane Says:

grendel, very much enjoyed reading your take on the Isner versus Mahut match; I felt the same when watching, that one minute Isner looked sure to win, the next minute Mahut seemed the imminent victor. It did feel a little bit torturous watching it though, like, end already! (a la Warhol’s “Sleep” or something …) But it’s sheer interminableness was mind-boggling and some of the tennis was indeed captivating. How they kept going, I do not know.

And it’s still. not. over.

zola Says:

madmax has a post on the previous thread.She talks about todays amatches and of course this one.

I saw Federer, Roddick, Djoko, JMac,…commented on the match. Rafa also wrote on his facebook that he was watching the match and the world was: UNBELEIVABLE!

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks I was looking for that I will take a peek :)

Best of luck for you guy tomorrow….

Fot Says:

Hey Zola – looks like your boy will be playing in front of the Queen! In one of Roger’s interviews he said a meeting had been set up for him to meet the Queen since he’s not playing tomorrow.

Anyway – I don’t think your boy will have any trouble tomorrow. I predict another straight set win. Must be nice not to have to go through all the ‘drama’ we Fed fans have been going through lately! lol! Now the thigh thing on top of that! What’s next!!!! *slaps head*

steve Says:

This is certainly the match of the tournament.

It may be the match of Isner’s career and it will surely be the match of Mahut’s.

Roger Federer, when asked if he could relate to this match, replied: “I can relate to this in some little degree. This is beyond anything.”

What does it do to a human shoulder to produce that kind of rotation several hundred times over the course of ten hours? And does it hurt?

And how is it that they haven’t transcended their physical bodies and floated away into the ether?

That is all.

tennisfansince76 Says:

oh and by the way the only fish left at Wimbledon will be that served w/ chips!

Kimmi Says:

tennisfan – at least fish had a good run at queens. i thought he would be one of the dark horse here but not to be.

davydenko also says goodbye early, not a surprise though. would you call that a big upset? he was seeded 6.

funches Says:

Being compared to Cindy Brady is the biggest insult I’ve ever received. In fact, that is a record that will never be broken. Ever. No one will come close to insulting me that bad ever again.

And for what it’s worth, you are all crazy if you found the tennis rather than the drama entertaining. Again, Mahut went to 24-22 in a set against one of the worst grass court players in the history of tennis during qualifying. He’s ranked outside the top 150.

I keep reading how much will both players had. Why didn’t they show any of that will when they were returning serve? They only played hard every other game. Without a doubt, they were incredibly tough to last that long without keeling over. But the tennis itself was deadly dull, and I honestly can’t understand how anybody could disagree with that statement.

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t mind seeing a lot of aces. But in terms of rallying, it’s almost comical that their longest rally of the match was in deep in the 5th (like 50-50ish) and it was 16 strokes. Quality = not great. But boy is it fun to watch.

Ben Pronin Says:

I thought Mahut did hit some great shots, though. I mean, by 30-30 my expectations were pretty low but he pasted the lines quite well. And Isner really found his forehand at some point. The way he just rolled in his serves and smacked his forehands towards the end was just cool to see. How often do we get this?

Fot Says:

It was interesting to watch. John looking like he’s about to fall over like a tree in the forest at any minute, then he rares back and fires another ace; Muhut flapping around on the ground trying to get to every ball…and you had to know both were tired, both physically and mentally. I was wondering which one would ‘crack’ first and they kept going and going and going! And to think guys – this is only a FIRST ROUND match!!!!!

As sad as it may be – these 2 player have to think that this match is their “Wimbledon title” because I don’t think the winner will be around much longer in the tournament after this match.

contador Says:


i loved your description of the match. thank-you, i did not get to see the match. i am laughing soooo hard! : )

not laughing at your post but the sheer absurdity of how long the match has gone on and the “fight to the death” mentality.

it’s the fight till i die tie. and it’s truly extraordinary how they have brought out the aces in each other!

whoever “wins” has to lose the next match. i can’t imagine either one picking up a racquet let alone beating tiemo de bakker.

Von Says:

Even though Isner appeared to be wilted at times, I doubt anyone can now question his fitness level. I think John is slowly but surely becoming an accredited top 20 player and hopefuly, we’ll see him improve some more, thereby becoming a top 10 player, and maybe joining Roddick on the list. I’m sure the USTA and Roddick will be very happy if this materializes.

I have always loved watching Mahut on grass, as he’s an accomplished S&V player on that surface, and one of the few remaining in that category of players. Even though I want John to win, I’d be unhappy to see Mahut lose. Regardless of who wins this match, the winner will definitely be toast and easy prey for a win when they meet their next opponent. It’s sad there has to be a loser.

This match reminds me somewhat of Roddick’s AO match vs. Younes El Ananyoui a few years ago. Roddick won, but he had nothing left the next day vs. Schuettler. However, that was a match played in high temperatures and Wimby is not quite as hot, which should help the players a bit more with respect to their energy levels and it’s spread over 3 days as opposed to Andy’s match which was crammed into the same day.

Von Says:

Since there’s a newer thread on this topic, I suppose I can post this here for those who like James Blake, e.g., Andrew Miller.

yy Says:

On a light note, whoever wins know they may be too tired to win the next match. Why not go for the shortest played record too and lose every point played? ;)

margot Says:

Great heart, great drama but not great tennis, agree with funches.
jane: Djko was looking very good I thought, best for ages. I think u must be very fond of your “boys” to agree a motoring holiday during Wimbledon. Guess it’s different in Canada, in UK it would be a traffic jam/roadworks holiday!
madmax: sounds as if you had a brilliant time. Excellent.
de Baaker won? Totally missed that in the drama but hooray!
Thought Andy R was looking very sharp and determined.
Fed???? no comment.

zola Says:

sorry I missed your post earlier.
I would have liked a 5-setter for Isner, but not this. Roddick said ( I think ) that who knows what this match is goind to do tho their bodies in the coming days, weeks or months. I know it is grass, but still, this is beyond human ability. I am in awe of these two, but wish it did not happen.

The 4-hour match between Rafa and Djoko in Madris last year took them both out almost for the rest of the year. Hopefully these two guys remain healthy.

so, answering your question, yes I am worried, but this time for Isner /Mahut!

Skeezer, FoT,
Thank you guys for the good wishes. Hopefully Rafa can play well tomorrow and win. I liked his concentration and sharpness against Nishikori. To me that was one of the toughest openning matches and Rafa did well.

FoT, tennis players, especially Roger and Rafa should put a sign on their website saying ” do not attempt if you have a weak heart”!
I have gone through similar situations.

But eriously I knew ( although grendel doesn’t believe me) that there was no way Roger would lose in the openning round of Wimbledon. He can play on a chair and win his matches. and he is getting better by every match. Best of luck to him too.

zola Says:

Regarding the Isner-Mahut match, I think there is always more than one way to look at things. like the empty and full halves of a glass.

The point of playing a server that shoots 98 aces a match is that the serves cannot be returned! both Isner and Mahut are great servers. Besides, after 10 hours of playing, I don’t think there is much gas left for heavy returnes and rallies.

If you look at the match with a positive view you can see the beauty in the will and determination of two athletes who do not want to give up. we can find many faults with their game, return, whatever, from the comfort of our armchair, but the players who have been doing this for a living were all admiring the players. I guess because they know what it takes to push the limits of ones ability to such extremes.

Huh Says:


Don’t know you’re incomparably more intellient, logical, sound, good, analytical and what not than Cindy!
Don’t worry, I like you and am sure all others too. I think Oleg just told it at the heat of the moment, he’s not a bad poster and neither are you.
I like both u and Oleg, both of you are assets to this site! :)

But Cindy is a pathetic moron and idiot, feel sorry for her. :(

Huh Says:



“TO ME, YOU ARE INDEED incomparably more intelligent, logical, sound, good, analytical and what not than Cindy!”

The rest of that post is ABSOLUTELY OK!

margot Says:

Ben: surely the point is that Isner cannot return serve whether it’s 10 hours into a match or ten minutes? Also, Mahut was 24-22 against Bogo in the third qualifying round. I rest my case.
That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate the gladiatorial nature of this match and the tremendous gutsy performance of both players, because of course I do!

funches Says:


I didn’t take it personally. I thought it was funny and knew it was a heat of the moment response.

Polo Says:

Had I been in Mahut’s or Isner’s shoes, the physical and mental stress of that incredibly long match will be too much that I would undoubtedly develop tennis phobia and would never want to see a tennis ball again for the rest of my life.

Polo Says:

yy, good idea about the shortest played record. But instead, how about the longest consecutive service breaks? Mahut-Isner can go at it for another day but this time, a whole day of broken games. Hahaha!

Polo Says:

I just watched the Roger Federer interview on ESPN with McEnroe and Carillo. What a decent person he is. Very proper, very well spoken and looked every inch the gentleman in that handsome suit. He is second to none in everything. I was right in picking him as my number one forever!

Huh Says:

Ohh, the never-ending match still going on at 62 all! :/ :\ :|

Huh Says:

Whatever, but for now,

Into the 3rd round, yes!!!


Huh Says:

Ok, another bold prediction:

The never-ending match’s gonna end before 100 all in the fifth-set! ;)

Polo Says:

I predicted yesterday that it will end on the 100th ace but both of them have already exceeded that.

Let me add that I just saw the line-up of players greeting the Queeen. They were all dressed properly except for Djokovic who was wearing a warm-up suit. Yikes! How crass is that?

madmax Says:


can I just say that the Isner match has been played over 3 days. Not 24 hours. The first day when they started play, they had to finish as it was too dark to continue. This is the third day today.

Huh Says:

Holy S###!!! 65 all…………………………..

Huh Says:

I hope that by the end of today’s last match, there’s the end to this Isner-Mahut.

Polo Says:

Mahut and Isner are caught it a time warp. They are doomed to play tennis for the rest of eternity. I am keeping a keen eye on the background in search of the TARDIS. Only Dr. Who can save them now.

Huh Says:

Well, I’m still sticking to my prediction that match’ll end before 100-all in the 5th set.

Huh Says:

I fear that at least they’re ready to play till the end of one of their lives! :(
Hoping it to end soon thou, seriously!

Huh Says:

I’m already feeling very concerned about their bodies.

Polo Says:

Those two will hate to see another tennis ball again after this match.

Ben Pronin Says:

Imagine the next time these 2 play.

Huh Says:

“Polo Says:

Those two will hate to see another tennis ball again after this match.”

Seems quite plausible!

Polo Says:

It’s over. I hope Mahut will keep his head high. He should not feel bad because he shares this historic match with Isner. It could not have happened without either of them.

jane Says:

margot, yippee, Murray is through with flying colours. : ) In front of the Queen no less. Next up is Simon; he’s been under the radar (or injured) for so long I don’t know what to expect there. LOL, about the holiday; the motoring is in the USA actually and we’ve not hit much roadwork either, knock on wood. Anyhow, must be off. Hope you’re right about Djoko, that he’s playing better. I haven’t been able to see his matches. Agree with you that Roddick is looking strong: saw some his first match.

Huh Says:




Mac & Mauren Says:


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