John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut: Story of the longest Wimbledon match ever

With John Isner deciding to call it quits at the end of the US Open 2023, we will take a trip back in time to his historical battle with Nicolas Mahut.

The action was on Court 18 of the All England Club, away from the glitz and glamour of the Centre Court but home to the unforgettable battle between two players and the epic battle between them.

How the longest Wimbledon match came to be

John Isner Nicolas Mahut
Photo by Icon sport

You might be wondering how the longest Wimbledon match ever came to be. It was 2010, and Isner and Mahut faced off in a first-round match that would go down in history. It started on June 22nd and lasted a staggering 11 hours and 5 minutes over the course of three days.

It started on June 22, 2010, as Isner and Mahut began their match on court 18. After playing four sets, the match was halted due to insufficient natural light. The players returned the following day to resume their battle in the fifth set, both relentlessly holding their serves. However, play had to be suspended once again due to fading light, extending the match to an unprecedented third day.

The unexpected nature of this match was evident when the electronic scoreboard ceased to function at 47-47 in the fifth set, as it was not programmed to display scores beyond that point. Isner and Mahut continued to play on June 24, delivering over 100 aces each and holding serve for an astonishing 168 consecutive games throughout the match.

Eventually, the American triumphed by holding serve in the 137th game of the fifth set and subsequently breaking Mahut in the 138th game. The fifth set alone lasted an incredible eight hours and 11 minutes.

It was a true test of their physical and mental capabilities, and they rose to the occasion with unwavering determination. Isner’s triumph with a score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 propelled him to the second round.

Isner and Mahut test the limits of endurance

Nicolas Mahut
Photo by Icon Sport

This match will forever be remembered as an epic display of tennis at its finest. The tension in the air was palpable as each point became more crucial than the last. The crowd erupted in cheers and gasps as the players fought for every point, displaying their incredible skill and determination.

It was a game filled with twists and turns, where the outcome hung in the balance until the very end. The intensity of each game and the drama that unfolded made it a match that will be remembered for years to come.

The players in that unforgettable showdown displayed incredible stamina and endurance, leaving spectators in awe. The 11 hours and 5 minutes epic makes it the longest recorded in not on Wimbledon but tennis’s history.

The physical demands on the players were immense as they tirelessly chased after every ball, sprinting from one end of the court to the other. Each point became a battle, with both players refusing to back down.

Not only did they face intense physical challenges, but the mental strain was also evident. Sustaining focus and concentration for such a prolonged period required immense mental strength and resilience.

The lanky American’s journey would not last and came to an end in the second round, where he was defeated in straight sets by Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker, clearly, feeling the effects of the marathon match during this subsequent match.

John Isner
Photo by Icon sport

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