How many people can say they were alerted to an amazing sporting event by formula 1 driver Mark Webber? But that’s what happened me today. After watching the less than captivating England v Slovenia World Cup game, I logged onto twitter at about 5:30 to see a tweet from Webber about a match at Wimbledon which was 35 games all in the fifth set. Assuming that this was some sort of typo, I put on BBC2 to see John Isner 36-35 up on Nicolas Mahout by the time I got there. It turns out that the match had started yesterday and got to two sets all before finishing for the night and was 3 and a half hours into the final set.
Thinking that this would fill in some of the gap to the Germany v Ghana game, I kept watching. It went 40-40, 45-45, 48-48, and I went to watch the first half of the German match. At half time, back to BBC2 and now it’s 53-52 to Isner and the match has reached the 9-hour mark. Both players are exhausted but Isner is completely out on his feet. It can’t go on much longer so I decide to forego some of the last 45 minutes of the day’s football to watch history being made on Wimbledon’s Court 18. As it happened, I only caught the last 5 minutes of the football as the match went all the way to 59-59 and 10 hours in total when it was called for light after Mahout had saved a match point.
That that was the only break point I saw in the 30 or so games I watched says a lot for the quality of both players’ serves (and how tired they were when trying to return). Who knows how far it will go tomorrow but I suspect that it will end much more quickly tomorrow now that the rhythm of holding serve has been broken than it would have tonight. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if ends in two games tomorrow.
But enough of my tennis analysis, what you’re here for are comparisions to other ludicrously long sports events:
|Longest snooker match||14 hours, 50 minutes||Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis||1985|
|Amount of playing time for world cup finalists||10 hours, 30 minutes|
|Longest tennis match||10 hours+||John Isner v Nicolas Mahout||2010|
|Longest baseball game||8 hours, 25 minutes||Pawtucket Red Sox v Rochester Red Wings||1981|
|Longest Major League baseball game||8 hours, 6 minutes||Chicago White sox v Milwaukee Brewers||1984|
|Longest boxing match||7 hours, 19 minutes||Andy Bowen and Jack Burke||1893|
Of course, the match has broken plenty of tennis records too:
|Aces||98 John Isner
94 Nicolas Mahout
|78 Ivan Karlovic|
|Match length (time)||10 hours+
John Isner v Nicolas Mahout
|06 hours, 33 minutes
Fabrice Santoro beat Arnaud Clément
|Match length (games)||163 games
John Isner v Nicolas Mahout
6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 59-59
Pancho Gonzales beat Charlie Pasarell
22–24, 1–6, 16–14, 6–3, 11–9