When it comes to tennis, the match times can change unusually much whereas, in other sports, the time is set from the beginning.
This raises the question, why are tennis matches so long?
Tennis matches are long because the sport doesn’t have a pre-set time limit. A match of tennis will only end when a player has won enough sets to determine the winner. Often, a game of tennis is best of 3 or 5 sets. Tennis matches can be so long because each match is different and can have long points.
That being said, this makes the time of tennis matches highly unpredictable. However, tennis matches often end in a reasonable time. In fact, the average time of a best of 3 is 1 hour and 30 minutes whereas the best of 5 is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
For all tennis players and fans, 1 hour and 30 minutes is a reasonable amount to invest in watching tennis, but 2 hours and 45 minutes is getting quite long. These are just the averages, and the matches can stretch far beyond these times.
Now, let’s take a look at how long can a tennis match really last.
How long can a tennis match last?
Technically, a tennis match can last forever if the set doesn’t have a tie break. A tennis match won’t last forever in the real world, and the longest professional match ever recorded is 11 hours and 5 minutes.
For many people, that would feel like forever, especially for the players. This unbelievably long tennis match was played in 2010 Wimbledon between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut. The next longest game is 7 hours and 1 minute.
10 longest professional tennis matches
|Time||Match Winner||Match Loser|
|11:05||John Isner||Nicolas Mahut|
|07:01||Tomáš Berdych & Lukáš Rosol||Stanislas Wawrinka & Marco Chiudinelli|
|06:43||Leonardo Mayer||João Souza|
|06:36||Kevin Anderson||John Isner|
|06:33||Fabrice Santoro||Arnaud Clément|
|06:31||Vicki Nelson||Jean Hepner|
|06:22||John McEnroe||Mats Wilander|
|06:21||Boris Becker||John McEnroe|
|06:20||Lucas Arnold Ker & David Nalbandian||Yevgeny Kafelnikov & Marat Safin|
|06:15||José Luis Clerc||John McEnroe|
What is the shortest match in tennis history?
The shortest tennis match of all time was played in Surrey Open Hard Court Championships 1946. Jack Harper defeated J.Sandiford in only 18 minutes that holds the record for the shortest tennis match in history.
Below you can see the 8 shortest tennis matches in history.
8 shortest professional tennis matches
|Time||Match Winner||Match Loser|
|18 minutes||Jack Harper||J. Sandiford|
|24 minutes||Margaret Court||Darlene Hard|
|24 minutes||Helen Wills||Joan Fry|
|25 minutes||Francisco Clavet||Jiang Chan|
|28 minutes||Jarkko Nieminen||Bernard Tomic|
|34 minutes||Steffi Graf||Natasha Zvereva|
|36 minutes||William Renshaw||John Hartley|
|40 minutes||Fred Perry||Gottfried von Cramm|
Can a tennis match end in a draw?
There are no such things as draw matches in tennis. If a match is about to end in a ”draw”, then a tiebreak is used, which means that only one game is played that determines the winner.
It really shares opinions whether it is great or not that the match times of tennis are so unpredictable. Personally, I like it because it gives an element of mystery to the game, unlike when you know exactly when a match would end.
I hope that this article was helpful to you and you now know that tennis matches are so long because a required amount of sets needs to be won until the match finishes and tennis doesn’t have a pre-set time limit.