6. Clerc vs McEnroe
Davis Cup (6 Hours 15 Minutes)
Clerc d. McEnroe 6-3 6-2 4-6 13-11
McEnroe is a true beast of Marathon Matches. He holds three longest-tennis matches records, all of which are over 6 Hours and 15 Minutes. However, despite his enormous stamina and will-power, McEnroe lost the match in favor for the Argentinian José Luis Clerc.
Argentina advances to the Inter-Zonal Zone, facing Czechoslovakia in the 1st Round. Argentina lost 2-3 and Czechoslovakia advances and wins the Final against Italy.
José Luis Clerc retired from professional tennis in 1988, not long after making it into Argentinian history as one of the most prolific tennis players of all time. Clerc’s highest career ranking in singles was World No. 4 in August 1981. Throughout his career, Clerc managed to win 25 ATP titles.
McEnroe, although retired from professional tennis, is still quite involved in the media and the tennis world. As a prime example, here’s McEnroe on the Jimmy Kimmel show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwzMJOhderk, making bold statements that he could win in a match against Serena Williams.
McEnroe’s sole drive to win against her is this statement: “And I’ve got a lot to lose, because if I lose to, God forbid, a woman, then I’m not allowed in any men’s locker room for the next 15 years, or possibly the end of my life. So that’s part of why it’s intriguing.”
5. Becker vs McEnroe
Davis Cup 1987 (6 Hours 21 Minutes)
Becker d. McEnroe 4-6 15-13 8-10 6-2 6-2
The next McEnroe match on our list of 10 Longest Tennis Matches is against Becker. Interestingly enough, this is another McEnroe loss, making it two long matches lost so far for him. According to Becker, he knew that McEnroe was going to give all he had on the court: “I knew after Mayotte lost, John was going to be ready to go out there and say it’s now or never. It was a war.”
Unfortunately, the end result was saddening for McEnroe: “I gave it all I had, and it was a hell of a tennis match,” McEnroe said. “I wish the results were different, but it’s nice to be a part of a match like that.”
This loss marked the 0-2 score for the Americans, leaving all their hopes to remain in the World Group for the Davis Cup in 1988 in the hands of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso, the American Doubles team. Boris Becker is the one that’s currently coaching Novak Djokovic and holds plenty of impressive records. The one that stands out a lot is the title of the Youngest Wimbledon Champion, which he won at 17 years old, in 1985. To this day, he stands alone with this title. One last thing to mention about Becker is that (although he was at some point World No. 1) he managed to win 19 matches against World No. 1 players from 1986 until 1996.
Becker retired on 25th June 1999, leaving memories of remarkable matches behind him.
4. McEnroe vs Wilander
Davis Cup 1982 QF (6 Hours and 22 Minutes)
McEnroe d. Wilander 9-7 6-2 15-17 3-6 8-6
The last match that we’ll be covering with John McEnroe is actually a win for him! This Quarter Final match lasted for 6 Hours and 22 Minutes and oddly enough had its highest number of sets at the middle of the match.
Despite the large number a lot of turning points, the spectators were not that entertained, actually leaving the arena. According to Cliff Drysdale, ESPN’s renowned voice of tennis productions recalled on the match: “People went out for dinner and when they came back they couldn’t believe the match was still going on, it was great drama.” Despite losing support from his fans, McEnroe managed to turn it in the end, scoring an 8-6 final set against Wilander.
Thirty years after his remarkable win, John McEnroe remembers and reflects on the match that decided if the Americans or the Swiss would move on to the semi-finals: http://www.espnfrontrow.com/2012/07/30-years-later-mcenroe-reflects-on-his-6-hour-win-over-wilander/. “I remember at the end I fell into [U.S. Captain] Arthur Ashe’s arms,” McEnroe mentioned at an ESPN commentary for Wimbledon.
The American team, after defeating Sweden, would go forth and face Australia in the semi-finals and meet with France in the finals. The U.S. team would then win the 1982 title, taking victory over France.