Tennis can be the most gruelling of sports. Long points, mammoth sets and sprawling matches put players through the physical and emotional wringer on a regular basis.


Often unforgiving, the tennis court can isolate players for hours on end, locked in sapping one-versus-one battles to the bitter end.

Plenty of players have seen titanic encounters slip away from them after fighting tooth and nail for half a dozen hours to see a match snatched away in mere seconds. That's tennis. dives into the archives to bring you the longest ever matches in tennis history.

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What is the longest tennis match of all time?

11 hours, 5 minutes

John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut

2010 Wimbledon Round 1: 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68

4 hours and 22 minutes goes down as an extremely long tennis match regardless, but that time does not mark the longest match ever, only the difference between the first and second longest singles matches in the history of tennis.

A first round encounter at Wimbledon in 2010 saw an American and a Frenchman make a piece of sporting history that will almost certainly never be surpassed.

Beginning on 22nd June, the now fabled Court 18 at the All-England Club hosted a three-day epic that ended on 24th June. Big-serving American John Isner (No.23 seed) defeated French qualifier Nicolas Mahut in an unprecedented event lasting an astonishing 183 games.

John Isner v Nicolas Mahut
John Isner v Nicolas Mahut. Getty Images

The match mesmerised spectators, players, fans, and even the scoreboard, which was only programmed to go to 50-50.

In total, the match took 11 hours and 5 minutes, with history being shattered almost every time one of the gladiators on court held their serve. Finally, Isner converted his fifth match point (four of which came the previous day) to send both players into an exhausted embrace at the net.

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Each player was presented with a crystal bowl following the match to recognise their immense achievement, and fans who visit Court 18 can now see a special plaque commemorating the match.

Isner was handily beaten in the next round, but the pair would meet on the same court in the same round a year later in a far more conventional affair.

The match would have a lasting impact on the sport, with its existence being a key factor in all Grand Slams now operating with a final set tie-break, meaning we will never see its like again.

For more Wimbledon features, check out: Wimbledon FAQs, facts and figures | How does Wimbledon Hawk-Eye work?

Longest tennis matches of all time

  1. 11 hours, 5 minutes – John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut – 2010 Wimbledon R1 - 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68
  2. 6 hours, 43 minutes – Leonardo Mayer def. João Souza – 2015 Davis Cup R1 - 7-6 7-6 5-7 5-7 15-13
  3. 6 hours, 36 minutes – Kevin Anderson def. John Isner – 2018 Wimbledon SF - 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24
  4. 6 hours, 33 minutes – Fabrice Santoro def. Arnaud Clément – 2004 French Open R1 – 6-4 6-3 6-7 3-6 16-14
  5. 6 hours, 31 minutes – Vicki Nelson def. Jean Hepner – 1984 CFB International R1 – 6-4 7-6

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