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4 hours, 41 minutes: The longest men’s best of three-sets match in tennis history

The ITF Futures match between a Briton and a Frenchman exceeded the previous record, held by Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro

Davis Cup 2021, France vs Britain Tennis – Davis Cup Finals – Group C – France v Britain – Olympiahalle, Innsbruck, Austria – November 27, 2021 A hand with a ball is seen during the match between Britain’s Cameron Norrie and France’s Arthur Rinderknech || 213865_0030

A nine-year old record fell on Saturday November 27.

In the quarter-finals of an ITF Futures tournament in Cancun, Mexico, Great Britain’s Gilles Hussey edged out France’s Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine in four hours, 41 minutes of play, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), the longest best of three-set match in history.

The match exceeded the four hours, 26 minutes Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro played in the semi-finals of the London Olympics in 2012, though that match was played without a tiebreak in the third.

“It was more than just going beyond his limits”

Quoted by French sports paper L’Equipe, Kouzmine was almost lost for words.

“It’s a real nonsense,” he said. “It’s obviously hard after the defeat, especially as we were playing in 30 degrees, but I didn’t realise how long it took. I didn’t realise how long it was going to take. It was only when I got out that I found out. I didn’t realise that it had lasted almost five hours.

“Tennis is about fighting. This was more than going beyond your limits. It’s purely mental, in fact, it goes beyond the notion of physical capacity. You think you don’t have any strength left, but you still have it. It’s just the head that makes you keep on winning points over and over again. And I beat Federer and Del Potro! There was $750 on the line to get into the semi-finals.”

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