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Wimbledon: John Isner v Nicolas Mahut by numbers

With the grass-court swing in full flow, Wimbledon is nearly upon us and it is therefore a good time to reflect on one of the Grand Slam's most iconic matches of all time.

In June 2010 in the first round at Wimbledon, American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut played out the longest tennis match in history at the All England Club.

Often referred to as the "endless match", the gruelling first-round encounter took place across three days with Isner eventually prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 to reach the second round.

As the season's prestigious grass-court Grand Slam approaches, here is a look back at the historic match and some of its astonishing statistics.

What2023 Wimbledon
WhereAll England Club Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
WhenMonday 3rd July 2023 - Sunday 16th July 2023
How to watchBBC Sport / BBC iPlayer
Odds

Men's outright: Novak Djokovic 8/11, Carlos Alcaraz 3/1, Daniil Medvedev 16/1, Jannik Sinner 18/1, Taylor Fritz 28/1

Women's outright: Iga Swiatek 4/1, Aryna Sabalenka 4/1, Elena Rybakina 4/1, Ons Jabeur 10/1, Karolina Muchova 14/1

Mammoth tussle lasted 11 hours and five minutes

The first-round clash between Isner and Mahut lasted a total of 11 hours and five minutes, surpassing the previous record at the time of six hours and 33 minutes between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement at the 2004 French Open.

The match began at 18:13 BST on Tuesday 22nd June 2010 on Court 18 at the All England Club and at 21:07 that same day, play was suspended due to bad light before the start of the fifth set.

On Wednesday 23rd June, the action resumed at 14:05 and by 17:45, the record for the longest ever tennis match had been broken.

Isner and Mahut continued to play until the final set was tied at 59-59 that day before play was suspended at 21:09 due to fading light again and the match rolled into a third day.

On Thursday 24th June, Isner finally came out on top at 16:47 courtesy of a backhand which was his 246th winner of the match.

Isner seals success by breaking in the 183rd game

At the time of the first-round contest, there was no tie-break in the final set of a match at Wimbledon, so it was unsurprisingly the fifth and final set which took the most time to complete, itself lasting eight hours and 11 minutes.

Throughout the course of the encounter, Isner struck 113 aces while Mahut hit 103 and there were a total of 490 winners fired in the match with 244 going the way of the Frenchman.

There were 183 games contested in all, totalling 980 points, and there were remarkably 168 consecutive service games held between the players until Isner broke in the 183rd and final game of the encounter.

Mahut had won three qualifying rounds to reach the first round at Wimbledon in 2010.

Isner progressed from this epic encounter, but his fatigue was evident as he lost in the second round 6-0 6-3 6-2 to Thiemo de Bakker in only 74 minutes - the shortest men's Wimbledon match at that stage in 2010.

Isner and Mahut also locked horns in the first round of Wimbledon in 2011, although it was a much shorter affair that time around with American Isner prevailing 7-6 6-2 7-6.

First-round spectacle prompted format changes

The clash between Isner and Mahut goes down in history as one of the most memorable tennis matches of all time.

And it is unlikely to be topped as the longest match in the sport anytime soon following a tweak to the rules last year.

At the time of their match, there was no tie-break in a final set at Wimbledon, but in 2022 a rule change began trialling a 10-point tie-break in the final set of all Grand Slam matches.

This would mean a repeat of the final set between Isner and Mahut - which finished 70-68 - is impossible in Grand Slams going forwards and their record is likely to remain.

The match broke multiple records, such as most points in a match (980), most games in a set (138 in the final set), most aces in a match by one player (Isner with 113) and longest play in a match on a single day (day two lasted seven hours and four minutes).

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