John Isner: Marathon Man Sets French Open Record for Most Games in a Match

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIMay 31, 2012

The United States’ John Isner and France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu battled through an epic match in the second round of the French Open, and Mathieu emerged as the victor in the longest game in tournament history.

The match took 76 games to decide a victor, making it the longest match under the current scoring system, as noted by Infostrada Sports.

At 76 games played, John Isner and Paul-Henri Mathieu record the longest RG men's singles match in Open era

— Infostrada Sports (@Infostrada2012) May 31, 2012


The match lasted 5 hours and 41 minutes, also according to Yahoo! Sports. The decisive fifth set featured an incredible 34 games.

Isner was also involved in the longest tennis match in the sport’s history, battling France’s Nicolas Mahut for 183 games in an 11-hour-and-five-minute marathon during Wimbledon in 2010. Isner eventually emerged as the winner.

The result is ultimately a disappointing one for the 10th-ranked American. However, something about Isner’s resolve seems to cause him become involved is epic battles.

When he becomes locked in close contest in a decisive set, he just refuses to quit. In his match with Mathieu, he saved match point six times in the fifth set. 

His performance at Wimbledon defied conventional logic about human conditioning. Both he and Mahut showed courage that is uncommon in sports.

Now, Isner has proved that the match in 2010 was no fluke. While he did not end up winning, his ability to last through another lengthy contest is a testament to his grit.

Matches like these are a rare spectacle in sports. The one-on-one nature of singles tennis means that the two players involved have no one to rely on but themselves. Fatigue, injury and all other distractions have to be pushed aside in order to win.

Isner has treated fans to two of these incredible battles in recent years, and even though he was upset, his performance demands respect.