How Long Do Tennis Matches Last?

How Long Do Tennis Matches Last

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For most tennis enthusiasts growing up, they might have at one time or the other wanted to emulate the tennis legends. From the Williams sisters to living legend Roger Federer to former world number one Rafael Nadal, most tennis fans wanted to be like them.

However, for all your love for tennis, have you ever asked yourself how long a tennis match lasts? How long does it take to win one set? How long does it take to knock an opponent out?

Sit back and relax as we provide you with all the answers you need here for you, so you don’t have to scratch your head whenever someone asks you such a question again.

To fully understand tennis, let’s start with the fundamentals of tennis as a sport:

Who Can Play Tennis?

Anyone who can wield a racket can play tennis. Players of any age can also play the game. It also allows even people in wheelchairs to play the game. You only need your hands and physical fitness to do the work for you, after all.

It is an excellent bonding sport for friends and family and won’t require you to take long learning how to play it. Sure, there should be some dedication to understanding the game’s rules, but it doesn’t make it any harder.

How Long Do Tennis Matches Last?

If you have even a passing interest in tennis, you must have wondered how long a tennis match lasts. What time should each set be? Are there any breaks between sets?

So, how long should a tennis match last?

To fully understand the reasoning behind the time a tennis match should take, you need to know the concept of tennis sets. That’s because the duration of any set will determine the length of that match.

Tennis being the unpredictable game it is, can have sets that will last so long. That is especially if the players are evenly matched, with each returning whatever is thrown at them by the opponent in equal or more measure.

However, since we assume you are new to all this and might be wondering what a set is, let’s first define a tennis match set.

What a Tennis Set Impact the Length of the Tennis Match?

A tennis set refers to a collection of games that tennis players have to play until one of them wins at least six such game collections or more. Tennis matches are usually played to the best of three or five sets.

Within the sets is the game. A game will be played till one player scores four points. Most championship matches usually consist of five sets.

Therefore, how long the set is will directly impact the length of the match. The typical tennis set shouldn’t go beyond 40 minutes. If the game’s being played to three sets, the full game should take about an hour and thirty minutes to complete (90 minutes).

If, however, on the other hand, the game consists of five sets, it can take up to two hours and forty-five minutes. That will, however, depend on the quality of opponents. There are cases where a superior opponent vanquishes their opponent in just over thirty minutes.

On some occasions, after playing all the required sets and there’s still a tie, they will need an extra set called a tie break. There are times when a game, especially male events, can take up to five hours to complete!

That is one of the major reasons why the grand slams are such an attraction for tennis fans worldwide. Evenly matched players can go for prolonged hours without a winner emerging. That emphasizes the physical challenge that might come with pro tennis.

Historically the longest tennis match took eleven hours and five minutes to complete. The match was between American tennis player John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon Grand Slam.

That is well over three days of playing without a winner! Isner eventually won the match after three days of continuous back and forth playing between him and Mahut. The match crashed several tennis records in the process.

Overly long matches usually point to the players being cautious. That means in tennis, the time the match will end can never be a certainty. You certainly can’t hold onto a lead till the time runs out, as in football or some other games.

You can say you need to convincingly beat your opponent to win the game, even if it takes you three days. And it sure can get to that.

Read also: Longest tennis match records

What Impacts the Length of a Tennis Match?

The quality of the players will determine how long the match takes, but are there any other factors that would come into play? The answer’s a resounding yes.

The court surface is one such factor that will influence the length of a match. Clay courts, for one, are known for longer rallies for both male and female players. The clay court is the court of choice for the French Open.

Grass courts, however, will have a quicker turnaround time than their clay counterparts. The Wimbledon Grand Slam has such a court.

Another thing that will affect the length of a tennis match is the players. Female players tend to take longer than male players. That’s, of course, a player is against one of the world’s best.

The match’s intensity will also play a role in how long the players will be on the court. A highly intense match will end sooner since the less physically fit player will give in faster.

Longest Tennis Match Video

How Does the Point System Work in Tennis?

The scoring system in tennis can be hard to understand. For one, do you know that love in tennis means zero?

The number of points a player gets and how fast will also determine whether the game lasts a prolonged period or not.  For a player to win, they must be the first to get to four points.

By points, we mean the player should win a set by a score of 40 plus one point. A player gets a point for 15, two points for 30, and three for 40. If a player is leading by 40- love, 40-30, or 40-15, they need only a point to win the game outright.

Ties after playing all the sets will require a tiebreaker. That means a player or team reaching a seven- two score will win the game. It also means the player or team will have won the match with a 7-6 score.

A player must try and understand the scoring system. If playing professionally, however, the scoreboard will keep the scores for you.

Final Thoughts

Tennis is the only game that has the potential to be played for an unknown period. They can be long events where players go toe to toe for hours and even days.

That adds to the exciting dimension that is playing tennis. Some people would rather have a time limit be set, but most people are for the matches to go on until a winner is found.

However, the longest matches will be the hardest to forget, not forgetting the drama.

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