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Top 5 longest matches at Wimbledon: Gentlemen’s singles edition

Revisiting the longest gentlemen's singles matches at SW 19.

Wimbledon is the oldest of the four tennis grand slams. Officially known as The Championships, Wimbledon, the tournament is also regarded as most prestigious slam.

Wimbledon was first organised in 144 years ago, in 1877. So far, 134 editions have been held. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London ever since its inception. It is the only major tournament that is still played on grass courts (the traditional tennis surface), with the Australian Open and US Open having switched to outdoor hard courts in 1988 and 1978 respectively.

Traditionally, the tournament took place over two weeks in late June and early July, starting on the last Monday in June and culminating with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the second week. However, due to changes made in the tennis calendar in 2015, the event moved back by a week to begin in early July. Every edition features 5 major events, along with juniors’, and invitational competitions. Keeping in mind the London monsoon, two courts of the AELTC have been fitted with retractable roofs.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of The Championships for the first time since World War 2. With nearly a century-and-half of history, the Wimbledon has been the venue of some of the longest and most thrilling battles in tennis. Let us revisit the top 5!

#5 Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal 2018: 5 hours 15 minutes

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

In the second semi-final of 2018, fought over two days, Novak Djokovic defeated old rival Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6 3-6 10-8, to reach the finals. This lengthy match led to the delay of the ladies final match, between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.

#4 Greg Holmes Vs Todd Witsken 1989: 5 hours 28 minutes

Greg Holmes and Todd Witsken

This almost five-and-a-half hour bout between the two Americans was the longest match in Wimbledon for over 2 decades. Greg Holmes defeated Todd Witsken in the second round of Wimbledon 1989 in 5-7 6-4 7-6 4-6 14-12.

#3 Marin Cilic Vs Sam Querrey 2012: 5 hours 31 minutes

Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic

The Croat and the American faced eachother in the third round of Wimbledon 2012. Cilic, who had not faired very well at Wimbledon earlier, did manage to reach the fourth round this time, and enroute, defeated Querrey 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-7 17-15.

#2 Kevin Anderson Vs John Isner 2018: 6 hours 36 minutes

John Isner and Kevin Anderson

Interestingly, John Isner also features in the second longest Wimbledon match. He faced South African Kevin Anderson in the semifinals of Wimbledon 2018. However, this time it was Isner’s opponent who prevailed. Kevin Anderson defeated John Isner 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24 to make it to his second grand slam final.

#1 John Isner Vs Nicolas Mahut 2010: 11 hours 5 minutes

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut

The 2010 first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut is the longest match in the history of tennis. Played over a course of 3 days, the final score was 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7) 7-6 (3) 70-68 in favour of the big-serving American Isner.

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