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Top 5 longest singles matches at the Davis Cup

Read about the longest singles matches played at the historic Davis Cup

Davis Cup

Davis Cup is the premier international event in the world of men’s tennis. While in grand slams, participants can partner with anyone, regardless of nationality, the same is not the case here. At the Davis Cup, players take part as teams, representing their nation. Thus, there is an added edge of patriotism in the play.

The Davis Cup was founded in 1900, by Dwight F Davis, a politician, tennis player, and the first president of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association. Since its inception, there have been 109 editions of the tournament (2021 included). The most successful countries over the history of the tournament are the United States (32 titles) and Australia (winning 28 titles, including four with New Zealand as Australasia). The current champions are Spain, who beat Canada to win their sixth title in 2019. The 2020 edition was cancelled, keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in sight.

Half of the longest tennis matches ever played, were played at the Davis Cup. Given the recent change in format, it’s unlikely that these records will ever be broken. Let us take a look at the 5 longest Davis Cup matches ever played:

#5 Horst Skoff Vs Mats Wilander, 1989

Horst Skoff and Mats Wilander

Austria and Sweden met in the quarterfinals of the 1989 Davis Cup. Horst Skoff of Austria bested Swede Mats Wilander in 6 hours and 4 minutes. The final score was 6–7(5–7), 7–6(9–7), 1–6, 6–4, 9–7.

#4 Jose Luis Clerc Vs John McEnroe, 1980

Jose Luis Clerc and John McEnroe

This was the first of the elaborate marathon matches that John McEnroe played in the Davis Cup. He faced Jose Luis Clerc of Argentina, who defeated him 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 14-12 in 6 hours and 15 minutes.

#3 Boris Becker vs John McEnroe, 1987

John McEnroe and Boris Becker

In the playoffs of the 1987 edition of Davis Cup, Boris Becker faced John McEnroe. This match was 1 minute short of McEnroe’s longest game in his career which he played 5 years earlier, also played at the Davis Cup. Becker emerged victorious with a score of 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2, after 6 hours and 21 minutes.

#2 John McEnroe vs Mats Wilander, 1982

John McEnroe and Mats Wilander

America faced Sweden in the quarterfinals of the 1982 Davis Cup. John McEnroe took 6 hours and 22 minutes to defeat Mats Wilander in 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6.

#1 Leonardo Mayer Vs Joao Souza, 2015

Joao Souza and Leonardo Mayer

Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer defeated Brazil’s Joao Souza 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–5), 5–7, 5–7, 15–13. This match is also the longest match ever played on a clay court, lasting 6 hours and 43 minutes.

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