Tennis matches can undoubtedly take a long time, especially with no clock. When two evenly matched players go up against each other, hours and hours can pass before someone inches ahead.
These are the longest matches ever, and worth keeping in mind the next time someone says they want to watch one match from beginning to end.
1. John Isner – Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon 2010
- 11:05 hours
- John Isner Won: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68
Simply put, this is the one everyone remembers as the longest tennis match of all time. It lasted three days, and it created worldwide attention despite just being a first-round match.
Playing at Wimbledon certainly helped build the mystique around the match as well. Isner ultimately prevailed, but both players are very well remembered for this battle.
2. Czech Republic – Switzerland, Davis Cup 2013 (Doubles)
- 7:02 hours
- Czech Republic Won: 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 24-22
Featuring two former top 10 players in Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka, this is the most surprising match to last so long. Both teams were looking to make a push for a Davis Cup title, and the doubles match ended up taking a very long time.
Playing close throughout the match, there was a minimal margin of error throughout. Berdych, partnering with Lukas Rosol, ultimately found the final break needed in the fifth set. It was a huge win for the Czech Republic, as they would eventually win the Davis Cup that year.
3. Leonardo Mayer – Joao Sousa, 2015 Davis Cup
- Leonardo Mayer Won: 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 5-7, 15-13
It is always an intense battle when Argentina and Brazil compete in sports. In this first-round Davis Cup match-up in 2015, Leonardo Mayer and Joao Souza played about as tight of a match as one can ask for. The first two sets went to a tiebreak, and both were won by Mayer.
The third and fourth sets were won by Souza, both with a score of 5-7. In the first set, both players traded blows, but it was ultimately Mayer who prevailed. It was the victory that helped Argentina win the matchup as well, so it had huge stakes in the end. Argentina would get all the way to the semifinals before losing to Belgium.
4. Kevin Anderson – John Isner, Wimbledon 2018
- 6:36 hours
- Kevin Anderson Won: 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24
Isner is once again in the record books for playing a long match, this time holding the record for the longest match in the semifinal of any Grand Slam event.
Going up against Kevin Anderson, the two tall players had a hard time breaking one another. They were both in a position they have never been in the first place, looking to play for a Grand Slam championship.
The players traded blows, and it seems like it would never end considering the serving prowess of both. Ultimately, Anderson got the break of serve, and although he came up short in the finals, it was a memorable run for the South African.
5. Fabrice Santoro – Arnaud Clement, French Open 2004
- 6:33 hours
- Fabrice Santoro Won: 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 16-14
Two Frenchmen battled it out in 2004 in the first round, and they gave fans a great show. Fabrice Santoro has always been known as a showman for the most part, and he came up with some outstanding shots to keep himself in the mix.
It seemed like he might be able to cruise to a straight-set victory, but Clement found ways to stay in a match. It was not until winning the fifth set 16-14 that helped Santoro move on.
6. Vicki Nelson – Jean Hepner, Central Fidelity Banks International 1984
- 6:31 hours
- Vicki Nelson Won: 6-4, 7-6
The score of this match looks pretty tame overall, as it was a straight-set affair, with Nelson winning 6-4, 7-6. However, with a time of 6:31 hours, this is the longest women’s match by time in the Open Era. It includes one point considered the longest rally in professional tennis history, lasting for 29 minutes and 643 shots.
The crazy thing about the match and the rally is that if Hepner won the point, it would have forced a third set. This match very well could have gone much longer if that ended up being the case. Those players seem to do whatever possible to keep it going, and although it involves a lot of lobs and easy shots, it holds a distinction that will be hard to beat.
7. John McEnroe – Mats Wilander, Davis Cup 1982
- 6:22 hours
- John McEnroe Won: 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6
There was a lot of intense battle between the United States and Sweden during the 1980s. A lot of that had to do with having two great players like John McEnroe and Mats Wilander on different sides.
This was their closest match, and it was the third set that took the longest to complete. Wilander had to do all that just to stay alive and then won the fourth set for good measure as well.
However, McEnroe regrouped and won the fifth set, which is the win United States needed to move on. They would then win the 1982 Davis Cup by beating Australia in the semifinals, and France in the finals.
8. Boris Becker – John McEnroe, Davis Cup 1987
- 6:21 hours
- Boris Becker Won: 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2
These two faced off several times throughout their career, but this might be the most memorable of them all. Even though the final two sets were pretty straightforward for Boris Becker, it was the second and third sets that captured the attention of fans.
It was a back-and-forth battle of two players who were serving very well throughout the match. Becker seemed to have just a little bit more firepower and stamina in the end and ultimately wore McEnroe down.
9. Argentina – Russia, Davis Cup 2002 (Doubles)
- 6:20 hours
- Argentina Won: 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 19-17
With a chance to go to the finals on the line, the doubles team for Argentina and Russia dueled it out in a very tough fifth set. It ended with a 19-17 victory for Argentina, which consisted of a team of David Nalbandian and Lucas Arnold Ker.
It was not all lost for Russia, as they were still able to beat Argentina 3 to 2. They then went on and won the finals against France, hoisting the Davis Cup trophy in the end.
10. Jose Luis Clerc – John McEnroe, Davis Cup
- 6:15 hours
- Jose Luis Clerc Won: 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 14-12
It takes a lot to knock off John McEnroe, especially in a Davis Cup match-up for his country. Clerc was definitely no slouch, as he reached as high as #4 in the world.
However, it was a monumental win for him over McEnroe and the only one that made the list that did not go all five sets. The fourth set was long and grueling, but he finally found a way to get a break and hold serve to pick up the win.
11. Lorenzo Giustino – Corentin Moutet, French Open 2020
- 6:06 hours
- Lorenzo Giustino Won: 0-6, 7-6, 7-6, 2-6, 18-16
A lot of interesting things happened in this first-round match of the French Open in 2020. For starters, the tournament was held at a different time of the year due to COVID-19. With no fans in the stands to watch this match, people were left tuning in on TV to see some of the craziness.
This is the only match on this list to feature a set that was 6-0, and Moutet won his other set 6-2. However, Lorenzo Giustino found ways to win two tiebreakers, and then finally get a break to pull off a victory in the fifth.
This match was played over the course of two days and unfortunately tired out Giustino in the second round. He fell in straight sets in the second round to the 12th seed Diego Schwartzman.
12. Horst Skoff – Mats Wilander, Davis Cup 1989
- 6:04 hours
- Horst Skoff Won: 6-7, 7-6, 1-6, 6-4, 9-7
A pretty big upset on paper, it took a lot for Skoff to pull off the win. It seemed like everything was falling apart for him in the third set, as he lost 6-1. However, a 6-4 victory in the fourth set up a big battle in the fifth.
It did not end up being enough for Austria, as they lost 3 -2. Sweden would end up making it to the finals, but they lost against West Germany in the end.
13. United States – Chile, Davis Cup 1973 (Doubles)
- 6:00 hours
- United States Won: 7-9, 37-39, 8-6, 6-1, 6-3
In an otherwise uneventful round of the 1973 Davis Cup, the United States and Chile battled out the longest doubles match by the number of games in the sport’s history. This was before the tiebreak era, so the second set, in particular, was a very long and grueling match by itself.
Stan Smith and Eric van Dillen did not want to fall behind by two sets early on. In the second set, it would be a back-and-forth affair before Chile ultimately won 37-39. This seemed like a devastating blow to the United States, but they were able to regroup and win the next three sets. In fact, the final two sets were relatively easy at 6-1 and 6-3.
14. Gordon Lowe – Augustos Zerlendis, Wimbledon 1920
- 6:00 hours
- Gordon Lowe Won: 14-12, 8-10, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Way back in 1920, these two battled it out in the semifinals. The first two sets were extremely long and tight, as the pair split those sets.
It looked like Zerlendis had an opportunity by winning the third set, but Lowe prevailed in the fourth and fifth. No one knows exactly how long the match took, but it was over six hours.
15. Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal, Australian Open 2012
- 5:53 hours
- Novak Djokovic Won: 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5
Known as perhaps the most competitive finals match in the modern era, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic fought each other for a very long time to see who would come out on top.
Despite jumping out to a 2-1 sets lead, Nadal could not close it out in the tiebreaker in the fourth set. That set up an epic fifth set, with Djokovic getting the break he needed late to seal the victory.
For the shortest matches of all time, check out this post.