3. Santoro vs Clément
French Open 2004 1R (6 Hours 33 Minutes)
Santoro d. Clément 6-4 6-3 6-7 3-6 16-14
We’re here, the top 3 Longest Tennis Matches in recorded tennis history. The Fabrice Santoro vs Arnaun Clément match was a first round and actually set the record of the longest singles match, until Wimbledon 2010 happened and Isner met Mahut. The first two sets were dominant by Santoro, Clément making a comeback in the next two. The fifth and deciding set was breathtaking, ending in a close 16-14 in favor of Santoro.
After his amazing win against Clément, Santoro sat on his chair, recovering his powers:” I only took 1 liter of water out with me today,” after which he added that: “I told myself we’d play maybe 10 or 15 minutes. I didn’t think I had another two hours in my legs.”
Interestingly enough, Santoro was not phased at all by the fact that he just played the longest match in tennis Open history, according to him long matches are not his goal: “I don’t play tennis to spend as much time possible on court.”
Retired in 2010, Santoro had a tennis career of 21 full years and managed to reach his highest singles-career World No. 17 in August 2001. Although Santoro had a long career, he didn’t have such an impressive run, managing only to reach the singles finals for 12 times, out of which he won 6. At the moment, Santoro is coaching Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky. Arnaud Clément has retired in 2012 and his highest career ranking achieved was World No. 10 in April 2001. That same year, Clément reached the final of the 2001 Australian Open which he lost against Andre Agassi.
2. Mayer vs Souza
Davis Cup 2015 1R (6 Hours 43 Minutes)
Mayer d. Souza 7-6 7-6 5-7 5-7 15-13
For 6 Hours and 43 Minutes Leonardo Mayer and Joao Souza fought valiantly in front of Mayer’s home crowd in Buenos Aires. However, only one could win and according to Souza: “We both deserved the victory, to me… But one guy had to lose the match. I just want to say congrats to him.”
After Mayer’s great effort in winning against Souza, he did a few bounces in the air, in sign of victory after which he had to receive medical treatment for dehydration. This came with no surprise, seeing that he played an almost 7-hours long game in the scorching sun.
Leonardo Mayer is not new to the professional tennis world, he turned pro in 2003 and his highest World rank was No. 22 in May 2015. Mayer’s only won title is the 2014 German Open, where he faced in the finals David Ferrer on clay. Joao Souza became a professional tennis player in 2006 and his highest World rank was in April 2015, when he got to No. 69.
1. Isner vs Mahut
Wimbledon 2010 1R (11 Hours 5 Minutes)
Isner d. Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68
Number one on our list, the Isner vs Mahut match holds the record as the longest match in tennis history. And not only by time, but by number of sets as well. The match was played over three days, lasted for 11 Hours and 5 Minutes and had 183 games. The final set of the game lasted for 8 hours and 11 minutes, surpassing even the previous longest match.
This historic match actually broke (and set) 11 records: longest match, longest set (fifth set lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes), most games in a set (138 in the fifth set), most games in a match (183), most aces in a match by a player (John Isner with 113 while Mahut hit 103), total aces in a match (Isner’s 113 alongisde Mahut’s 103 totaled up to 216), most games won by the both the winning player and the losing player (92 and 91), most points won in a match (Mahut winning 502), most points in a match (a total of 980 points).
According to Jonathan Liew: “When John Isner got back to the locker room after his marathon match against Nicolas Mahut and peeled off his socks, his shoes were filled with blood.”
Mahut reached his highest singles-career ranking of World No. 38 in July 2014. Nicolas Mahut turned pro in 2000, at the age of 18 and is coached by Thierry Ascione. We may never know when the next Marathon Match will happen, but it will be kind of hard for them to surpass this 11 Hours and 5 Minutes epic battle.