April 3, 2024

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How Long Is Each Tennis Match?

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How Long Are Each Tennis Match

Tennis’ utter unpredictableness is one of the things that makes it such an exciting sport to watch. A match or set may last for hours depending on a variety of factors, including the scoring system. Tennis matches played in sets of three typically last 90 minutes, while matches played in sets of five typically last 2 hours and 45 minutes. For more information on tennis matches, read this article.

How Many Sets In A Tennis Match

Either a best of three sets or a best of five sets format is used in tennis matches. With a player needing to win two sets in a best-of-three or three sets in a best-of-five scenario.

At grand slam tennis competitions like the US Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open, the best-of-five sets rule applies. Tennis competitions between men and women do differ, though.

Only the men will compete in these tournaments, with the women competing in best-of-five matches. Both teams play best of three sets in doubles matches, the Davis Cup, and on the majority of other tennis courts.

The Average Duration Of A Tennis Set

There are published mathematical studies that estimate how long a tennis game will last under various conditions; these results could be extrapolated to determine how long a set should last.

A 2017 paper by Ferrante, Pontarollo, and Fonseca covering this subject is available if formulas and numbers are your things. For those of us without a degree in mathematics, it has been shown that a typical tennis set takes just over 40 minutes on average.

The court’s surface, however, affects how this works. For instance, a typical set at Wimbledon typically lasts just under 40 minutes because the quick grass courts encourage shorter rallies.

On the other hand, slow clay courts result in longer rallies, so an average set at the French Open lasts significantly longer than 40 minutes. These figures are obviously averages, and in reality, a set may take as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour or more.

How Long Are Each Tennis Match

How Long Three Set Matches Take

When a match is decided over the best of three sets, the winner can be determined in either two sets or three sets depending on who wins the first two sets.

While two close sets will take more than two hours, two quick sets will take about 30 minutes. A match that is decided in two sets should last roughly 1 hour 20 minutes if we assume a 40-minute average for each set.

The average set length is 40 minutes, which indicates that the match will typically last 2 hours if the first two sets are tied and a third is required.

However, if all three sets are close and may be decided by a tie-break, it is very likely that the match will last longer than three hours. Matches can go much longer if both players are extremely cautious.

Despite Nelson winning the match in two sets, Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner in 1984 managed to extend it to 6 hours and 31 minutes!

What Influences The Length Of A Tennis Match


How evenly matched the two players are, of course, is the main factor determining how long a tennis match will last! This could result in a war of attrition or a complete victory.

Sometimes you will see a highly ranked player not playing to their full potential playing a lower ranked player who has nothing to lose, and the match can turn into a true classic.

Examples include the 2016 Australian Open match between Djokovic and Simon, which Novak won despite making over 100 unforced errors. The match went the distance in five unpredictable sets.

Federer was two sets down when he faced Falla at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. He eventually came back, but the poorly ranked lefty really scared Federer.

In some cases, the performance of a player on a given day determines the result of a match rather than their reputation or ranking.


Tennis matches have historically been prolonged in large part due to the weather. Particularly at the grand slam level where the schedules are so packed, rain delays have caused matches to extend over multiple days.

A match’s length can be affected by even strong winds. Players will typically play more recklessly under these challenging circumstances, hitting the ball higher over the net and more slowly than under more favorable circumstances.

Due to this, the match’s duration and the length of the rallies both inevitably grow.


The average length of a match is often influenced by the court surface on which it is played.

For instance, a surface that plays the ball very quickly, like indoor hard courts or grass courts, will usually favor shorter points because the ball tends to bounce lower and play the court more quickly.

Players who like to take the ball early hit flatter, serve and groundstroke powerfully, and enjoy finishing points at the net will benefit from this. The points on these kinds of surfaces naturally shorten as a result.

In contrast, a very slow surface like clay tends to lengthen rally lengths because the ball bounces higher and moves through the court more slowly, players can cover more ground by sliding around the court, and there is more room for error when playing.

As opposed to, say, playing on a grass court, this inevitably lengthens a match.

What Is The Longest Men’s Tennis Match

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played in an eleven-hour, five-minute match at Wimbledon in 2010 that holds the record for the longest men’s singles match in tennis history.

The 2013 Davis Cup saw the Czech Republic and Switzerland teams play in the men’s doubles match that lasted the longest. This game lasted for seven hours and one minute.

What Is The Longest Women’s Tennis Match

The longest singles match for women on the women’s side of tennis lasted six hours, thirty-one minutes. Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner faced off in this match at the Central Fidelity Banks International Match in 1984.

It took fifty games for Team America and England to complete the longest women’s doubles match at the 1955 French Open.

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