American John Isner reacts after his epic fifth set win
over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut
It took 11 hours, 5 minutes and three attempts to complete, but American John Isner officially goes into the record books as the winner of the longest match in tennis history.
The first-round Wimbledon match between 19th ranked Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France began on Tuesday evening but was suspended due to darkness around 9:15 p.m. Play resumed on Wednesday afternoon only to be halted again later in the evening at 59-59 in the fifth set due to fading light. Finally, Isner was able to nail down an incredible 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9-7) 6-7(3-7), 70-68 fifth set win Thursday afternoon to cap a fantastic finish to one of the most amazing events in the history of the sport.
The epic Isner-Mahut match shattered the old record of 6 hours and 33 minutes dating back to the 2004 French Open (Fabrice Santoro def. Arnaud Clement). To put that in perspective, it took Isner and Mahut more than 8 hours to finish just the fifth set of their marathon match. Both players also shattered the record for most aces delivered in a match (78, held by Ivo Karlovic of Croatia) with Isner delivering 112 to Mahut’s 103.
The legendary match is testament to the endurance of today’s professional tennis players. In an interview for the upcoming August issue of Men’s Fitness, Isner gives insight into his training leading up to the lengthy tennis season.
On the field, he’ll often throw on a pair of football cleats for a combination of sprints, ladder work, and weighted sled pushes and pulls. “I’m probably one of the few players on the tour who spends more time off the practice court, whether it be in the gym or on the field, than I do on the practice court,” says Isner.
Next up, Isner will take on Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands in the second round of play at the All England Club.
The Longest Matches in Tennis History
- 11 hours, 5 mins — John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon 2010
- 6 hrs, 33 mins — Fabrice Santoro vs. Arnaud Clement, French Open 2004
- 6 hrs, 22 mins — John McEnroe vs. Mats Wilander, Davis Cup 1982
- 6 hours, 21 mins — Boris Becker vs. John McEnroe, Davis Cup 1987
- 6 hours, 4 mins — Horst Skoff vs. Mats Wilander, Davis Cup 1989
Don’t forget to check out the August issue of Men’s Fitness (on sale July 12, 2010), where John Isner talks about how he builds up his endurance (for matches like these).