How Long is a Tennis Match?

how long is a tennis match

Tennis is a sport that has been notorious for its long run time. Many factors, including the scoring system, can make a match or set last hours. Typically, the average length of a best of three matches can be up to 90 minutes. You can expect that to take about 2 hours and thirty minutes for the best of five matches.


So, how many sets are in a tennis match? What is the longest men’s/women’s tennis match in history? Are there breaks and pauses during tennis matches? Is there anything like a rain delay to delay the action between tennis players playing?


Below, we will look into what may cause a tennis match to last longer!


How Many Sets in a Tennis Match?

How Many Sets in a Tennis Match

Tennis matches are either a best of three sets or a best of five sets. With a player needed to win two sets in a best of three or three sets in a best of five.


The best of five sets are at grand slam tennis tournaments such as the US Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open. There is a distinction, however, between male and female tennis matches. Only the men in these tournaments will play the best of five-set matches, while the woman will play the best of three.


Doubles matches, the Davis Cup, and most other tennis courts are where both sides play best of three sets.


What is the Longest Men’s Tennis Match?

What is the Longest Men's Tennis Match

The longest tennis match for a men’s singles match occurred in a 2010 Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which lasted eleven hours and five minutes.


The longest tennis match in men’s doubles matches occurred at the 2013 Davis Cup between the Czech Republic and Switzerland teams. This match lasted seven hours and one minute.


What is the Longest Women’s Tennis Match?

What is the Longest Women's Tennis Match

When it comes to the women’s side of tennis, the longest singles match for women lasted six hours and thirty-one minutes. This match took place in 1984 at the Central Fidelity Banks International Match between Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner.


The longest women’s doubles match occurred in the 1955 French Open between Team America and England, lasting fifty games.


Does Weather Impact a Tennis Game via Adding Time?

Does Weather Impact a Tennis Game via Adding Time

Heavy rainfall, snow, and strong winds are the only conditions determining whether a game will be delayed or trigger a mid-match pause. For example, during a 2004 Roger Federer and Andre Agassi match, extreme wind conditions caused the game to stretch into two days, with the first day of play stopped. Otherwise, play will continue as usual as long as the conditions remain manageable.


Light rain will not end the tennis match, but it can lead to undesirable delays, such as the racket slipping from the hands of the player falling to return a serve, which is prevalent on grass courts and can become slippery when raining. Referees make it a point to look out for the rain to ensure it is not impeding the game. It typically takes thirty minutes to drain a court, so most referees won’t hesitate to pause the game.


Heat also plays a role in the average tennis ball. A tennis ball has nothing but gas inside that can be expanded with heat, making it a bouncer, leading to more faults and longer match times.


Do Referees Allow Breaks in Tennis Matches?

Do Referees Allow Breaks in Tennis Matches

Most professional tennis matches will be outside, where the elements are free to do as they please. It is not uncommon for a player to ask for an injury timeout for dehydration in sweltering conditions, especially when on a clay court. Heat effortlessly radiates from the clay surface. It can increase the air temperature, so a player is prone to dehydration without proper hydration.


Per ATP tennis rules, referees are allowed to permit bathroom breaks. Women and men are allowed one bathroom break during a tennis game, but only after the end of a set, and it can last no longer than three minutes unless the player needs to change clothes, in which case the umpire will add two minutes.


Recently, the ATP has altered this rule, as many players have used the bathroom break as a tactical strategy to “psych out “their opponents.


How Long is a College Tennis Match?

How Long is a College Tennis Match

College singles’ average length is one hour and a half and doubles last roughly an hour.


There is some variability in these times, though, as some venues may only have three to four courts, which could lend the amount of time for all matches to equal upwards of five or six hours.


How Long is a High School Tennis Match?

A high school tennis match can last thirty to sixty minutes for singles and doubles matches.


Conclusion: How Long is a Tennis Match?

In summary, a regular professional 3-set tennis match lasts about 90 minutes on average, while a best of 5-set is two and a half hours. Meanwhile, a college and high school game tend to be much shorter than what you would find for a professional match. However, the time it takes to complete will include additional factors.


The players themselves are often the main reason for matches lasting as long as they do. Through multiple tiebreakers and numerous deuces, it can take an exceedingly long time to reach the objective of two set wins or three. In addition to that, extreme weather can also delay a game, which adds more time for it to complete.


However, tennis is still a trendy sport with the randomness of game time.


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