The famous Tournoi de Roland-Garros or
French Open will start in a week. Given what happened in the previous two grand
slams, it feels like we got a treat (and new records) coming our way.
What do we want on a sport final?
Not a one-way street obviously... We
want a thriller, suspense, and excitement in such a degree that we can’t watch
certain moments of the game. If I tell you1998
NBA Finals with Jordan, Pippen, Rodman’s the “unforgettabulls”, Galatasaray-Arsenal
UEFA cup final, Usain Bolt
Beijing Olympics, Euro 2008 Turkey-Germany semifinal, you will
understand what I mean...
and Rafa after the 5hr53 min final of 2012 Australian open, longest tennis grand-slam-final
in history. They do not only set example with their work ethic, professionalism
and competitive spirit, but also show true sportsmanship with their outmost
respect to each other. AP photo
Tennis is getting there in the current
era, creating that el clásico feeling more and more in recent
years. I am getting used to getting text messages on final days such as “this
is faster than play station!”, “i can’t watch it anymore” ...thanks to the big
four (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray). They are raising the bar for
themselves, and raising our adrenaline on the couch!
Current competition gives the best bang
for the buck to the fans - the champions are getting fitter (physically &
mentally) resulting in longer games. The champions of the current era, Rafa
Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic broke the longest final records for the
three slams between them:
Open 2012 Final – 5hr 53 min! (a total of 369 points played),
US Open 2011 Final– 4hr
10min (352 points played),
2008 Final– 4hr48 min (413 points played).
Of course, we had other very long games
2009 Wimbledon final between Roddick
and Federer got 436 points (this is record in number of points, but not in
minutes thanks to quicker points with big servers Roddick and Federer).
Del Potro – Federer final of US Open
2012 was 4hr 19min.Federer - Djokovic semifinal from US open 2011 (which lasted
nearly 4 hrs) and Australian Open 2012 semifinal between Murray & Djokovic (that
lasted nearly 5 hrs). As a result, us lucky bunch, the tennis fans, had 50 mins
longer grandslam-finals on average the past five years than the decade preceding
Wilander, 18 at the time, was an unseeded player for 1982 French Open. He won the
tournament beating Guillermo Vilas in 4hr42 minutes. That match is still
longest final record for Roland-Garros. Maybe Mats will be commentating on his broken
record broken this year at his TV program, Eurosport’s
Game, Set and Mats
that number crunch brings me to my big point…The
only record not broken on longest grand slam finals in recent years is the Roland-Garros
one. The tournament is played on red clay, i.e, the slowest of all surfaces.
The current longest game record on French Open finals is 20 years old (4hr 42
mins). I don’t know who will break it, but looking at the way things are going,
that record may not be long-lasting.
The record broken by these guys won’t be
easy to break. It was not in a final, but on a 1st round game in Wimbledon 2010
between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. It lasted 11hr5min, played over three
days, longest tennis game in history. Yes, the one smiling, John Isner won.
Isner hit 113 aces in that game (world record in a single match) and lost his match
after without an ace 0-3. They took their time to break serve, as they held
their serve 168 games (84 games each)! Better
late than never…
Buyukkayali is a recreational tennis player who is an