Some may have wished that the Isner-Mahut battle would continue forever. But alas it was to end on day three, with various records not only beaten but shattered in the process.
The number of games played, the duration of the entire match and its final set, as well as the number of aces both individually and combined were statistics wiped and reset by the two big servers.
If Isner were to perform at such a level and progress even further, then he may even dispatch of Goran Ivanesevic’s record of 212 aces in one tournament. That was set in Goran’s unexpected 2001 Wimbledon triumph.
Isner is already over halfway there.
Wonderfully however, there are still many records remaining firmly in position. Despite the on-court dramatics on Court 18, they will remain just a while longer.
So let’s take a peak at which records still stand tall. I wonder whether they could eventually be beaten? Could they fall as easily as the previous records that Isner and Mahut dismissed with their epic tie?
Longest Women’s Singles match
Two players, neither with much credit to their name, produced the longest match between two female professionals in 1984.
Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner were the competitors. Do you remember either of them? I certainly don't, but seeming as I was only born a year later that isn't too much of a surprise!
The tournament had not garnered much attention. It was the "Ginny of Richmond" trophy in Richmond, Virginia. It was to become known for this match.
Their close fought battle lasted six hours and 31 minutes and was played in one single day.
This accomplishment was one that Isner and Mahut failed to take as theirs was drawn over three days. Nelson and Hepner fulfilled their end of the bargain from start to finish on the same day in September of 1984.
The length may seem slightly odd in retrospect when you consider the final score was only 6-4, 7-6 (11). It didn't even head into a decider.
The time frame owed much to another record that was born out of the tie. This record will be revealed later on in this article. I don’t want to reveal it now as it is a fantastic and inspired achievement indeed. It deserves its own section.
Longest Doubles Match
What do you get if you pit two efficient and highly competent players against each other in the Davis Cup?
David Nalbandian partnered Lucas Arnold as they defeated the Russian pairing of Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in five sets.
Argentina won the fixture 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 19-17 in a momentous six hours and 20 minutes.
Rallies are of course more common in doubles fixtures due to the expansion of the court lines and the abundance of players on court. Yet this 2002 result has yet to be bettered.
Most Games Before the Tiebreaker Was Introduced: Singles
Unless the rules change back into the disallowing of tiebreaker situations in early sets, then this record will stand until the end of time.
Before tiebreaks were introduced to end a set with a final flourish at 6-6, one match in 1969 at Wimbledon took 112 games to be completed. Pancho Gonzales defeated American Charlie Pasarell with a now bizarre 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9 scoreline.
With so many big servers in both the men's and women's games you can understand why such a rule is no longer in place.
This record may have fallen many times if it had been kept firmly in place. Tournaments consequentially may have been given extra days in the aftermath of titanic tussles.
Most Games Before the Tiebreaker Was Introduced: Doubles
The aforementioned singles match was not bettered in a battle of two, but it was to be outdone by a doubles match four years later.
A Davis Cup tie between America and Chile featured a further ten games as America came out on top with a 7-9, 37-39, 8-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory.
It did seem a tad unfair on the Chilean duo after their mammoth second set triumph. The pairing of Cornejo and Fillol spent so much time and effort in winning that second set, only to be outdone in a relatively comfortable fashion in the final two sets.
Yet it will remain as a result to be seen as a record unmatchable in its occurrence.
Most Games After the Tiebreaker Was Introduced: Doubles
Whilst the singles record again went to Isner and Mahut, the doubles tally remains firmly in place.
In 2007 a victory for Mercelo Melo and Andre Sa against Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett ended with a 5-7, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 28-26 scoreline.
The final two games edged the total tally over 100, something that now seems timid after the Isner-Mahut match.
Longest Rally In A Match
The Nelson-Hepner match of 1984, the longest match in women’s history, also contained this record of the longest rally.
At a ridiculous 29 minutes long, the rally featured a thunderous 643 shot trade between the players.
Even more alarming was the fact that the point signaled a set point for Hepner in a second set tiebreak. It was Nelson who finally hit the winner, to save the set point.
She would go on to win the match and save the tie going into a third set. Imagine that, a third set. That event would have made the duration for the longest women’s match even more illustrious. Surely it would have also made it all the more unreachable.
In the aftermath of the point Nelson collapsed with cramps. Such was the intensity of the rally.
Her play was forced back into action after a warning by the umpire about a forfeit that could come into fruition if she did not return to play the following point.
The Most Unbeatable Record
My vote would go immediately to the longest rally accolade. No two players in the current game look capable of sustaining such a continuation of a shot in tournament mode.
Many would struggle to achieve the lengthy 29 minute rally in training. Yet as we have seen with Isner and Mahut, records not only can be broken, but they can be destroyed.
The sport of tennis has received an electrifying lift in the aftermath of their epic. More records being broken would surely act as to increase the excitement surrounding the sport.
For now we must marvel in the collection of records that currently stands. We must recognise the brilliance enforced to produce such statistics.
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