Wimbledon 2010: Isner Wins The Longest Match
The three-day epic finally comes to an end
Picking up at 59-59 in the fifth set, the first-round match on Court 18 at The Championships that has captivated a global audience, continued on serve with no break point opportunities until 6’9” Isner fell on his back having kept his nerve to complete the longest tennis match on record for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68 victory in 11 hours and five minutes.
Both men firmly have their feet in tennis history.
There were three service breaks in 183 games, totalling 980 points. There were 168 consecutive service games held between both players until Isner broke in the 183rd and final game of the match. The previous break of serve had been in the second game of the second set when Isner was broken at 0-1.
The fifth set alone lasted eight hours and 11 minutes – longer than any the previous longest-match in tennis history, when Fabrice Santoro beat his French compatriot Arnaud Clement over six hours and 33 minutes in a first-round match at 2004 Roland Garros.
Isner hit 113 aces to 103 for Mahut, there were 490 winners overall – including 244 for Mahut, who picks up a cheque for £11,250. On Wednesday, Isner had missed four match points in the fifth set - one at 10-9, two at 33-32 and one at 59-58.
Upon the completion of the historic match, the All England Club presented the two players and Mohamed Lahyani, a 44-year-old Swedish umpire, with awards on the court to mark their achievement.
In an on-court interview, No. 23 seed Isner said, of his vanquished opponent: "The guy's an absolute warrior. It stinks someone had to lose. To share this with him was an absolute honour. Maybe we'll meet again somewhere down the road and it won't be 70-68."
Mahut was gracious in defeat, admitting “at this moment I'm just really thankful. It was amazing today.
"John deserved to win. He served unbelievable, he's a champion. It was really an honour to play the greatest match ever at the greatest place for tennis. It was very long but I think we both enjoyed it."