How Long is a Tennis Match?

How Long is a Tennis Match

Everyone has seen tennis match! Do you know how long a tennis match will last? Generally speaking, many sports have a fixed time limit, which makes it easy to plan your schedule. But how do you know how much time is allocated for a tennis match? Although you can never be 100% sure, you can predict how long a tennis match will last – at least roughly. There are many factors that affect the possible duration of a tennis match, the most important of which is the form of the match and the ability gap of the opponent. Other things to remember are the venue, playing method, and the weather (if it rains, you may have to pause), etc.

Average Duration of Tennis Matches

Some published mathematical studies have estimated the length of tennis matches under different conditions, and can infer the expected length of a set. If you are interested in numbers and formulas, Ferrante, pontarollo and Fonseca published a paper covering this topic in 2017. For those of us who don’t have a math degree, research shows that a typical tennis game takes more than 40 minutes on average.

However, on the face of the court, this is indeed different. For example, a typical game at Wimbledon often takes less than 40 minutes due to the short rallies encouraged by the fast grass course. On the other hand, the slow clay court will produce longer rallies, so the average set of the French Open requires significantly more than 40 minutes. Of course, these figures are only average values. In fact, a set of data may only take 15 minutes, or it may take more than an hour.

How Long Does a Three Set Tennis Match Take

When a game is decided by the best of the three sets, if the same player wins two sets at the same time, he can win in the two sets. If the first two sets are shared, he can win in the three sets. Two fast groups take about 30 minutes, while two close groups take more than 2 hours. If we use the average time of 40 minutes per game, we can expect a game divided into two games to last about 1 hour and 20 minutes. If the first two sets are shared, the third set is necessary. The average set length of 40 minutes indicates that the game usually lasts about 2 hours.

However, if the three sets are close, and it is likely to be a draw, the game is likely to take more than three hours. If both players are very cautious, the game may take longer. In 1984, vickinelson and jeanhepner successfully continued the game for 6 hours and 31 minutes, although Nelson won the two sets!

How Long Does a Five Set Tennis Match Take?

A five set three win game can be played in three, four or five sets. If we assume that each game takes 40 minutes, this means that most games take 2 hours to 3 hours and 20 minutes. Of course, they can progress faster – some one-way races are completed in an hour – but there are also many epic encounters that take five hours or more.

One tennis match lasted longer than any other because it lasted three days. In the 2010 Wimbledon open, johnisner defeated nicholasmahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6 and 70-68. The game lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes and lasted three days. The reason why the game lasted so long was that both players were better at serving rather than coming back, and both served very well in the almost endless fifth set. They find it hard to break, especially when they are getting tired. Wimbledon recently drew 12-12 in the fifth set, preventing similar things from happening again. The most legendary tennis matches are played with five wins and one loss, some of which are very intense.

How Long Does the College Tennis Match Take?

The average duration of College singles is one and a half hours, and doubles lasts about one hour. However, there are some changes in these times, because some venues may only have three or four courses, which may make the time of all competitions more than five to six hours. NCAA starts with a round of doubles, all of which are played in one set. In all NCAA competitions, there were no “lets” and sudden death draws. This makes the two set match faster than the professional match, so the doubles match may take 30-45 minutes. Once the game is over, six singles matches will begin. It was the best set in three sets, but the last set was a 10 point draw. According to the special rules of NCAA, the singles competition is likely to be completed within 2 hours, while the whole competition will take 2-3 hours. College tennis matches are unlikely to last more than three hours.

How Long Does the High School Tennis Match Take?

There is no universally adopted model for high school tennis competitions in the United States, but it usually starts with boys’ and girls’ doubles, then mixed doubles, and then singles. The ad scoring system is not used, so the change of competition duration is much greater than that in NCAA.

In some states, high school tennis matches can last more than four hours, while in Texas, matches can include 19 individual matches, and six hours or more is not unheard of. Not surprisingly, people regularly discuss how to shorten the game time.

What is the Longest Men’s Tennis Match?

The longest tennis match in men’s singles took place at Wimbledon in 2010. The match was played by John Isner and Nicholas Mahut, and lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. The longest tennis match in men’s doubles took place between the Czech and Swiss teams in the Davis Cup in 2013. The game lasted seven hours and one minute.

What is the Longest Women’s Tennis Match?

When it comes to women’s tennis, the longest duration of women’s singles is 6 hours and 31 minutes. The competition took place in the central fidelity bank international competition in 1984 and was played by Vicky Nelson and Jean Heppner. The longest women’s doubles competition took place at the French Open in 1955. The United States and Britain played 50 games.

Are Tennis Referees Allowed to Rest?

Most professional tennis matches will be played outdoors, where people can do whatever they want. It is not uncommon for players to require suspension of injury time due to dehydration in muggy conditions, especially on clay courts. Heat radiates effortlessly from the clay surface. It can raise the air temperature, so players are prone to dehydration without proper hydration. According to ATP tennis rules, the referee is allowed to rest in the bathroom. In tennis matches, both male and female players can have a rest in the bathroom once, but only after the end of a set. The rest time shall not exceed three minutes, unless the players need to change clothes. In this case, the referee will add two minutes. Recently, ATP changed this rule because many players use bathroom rest as a tactical strategy to “PSYOP” opponents.

Factors Influencing the Duration of Tennis Matches

  • Coach Guidance

The Grand Slam prohibits coaching in men’s and women’s tennis competitions. ATP also does not allow coach training in Grand Slams and other events. Athletes will not receive any form of instruction, including during a grand slam warm-up. Auditory or visual guidance is not allowed.

  • Rest Time

ATP allows players to take two bathroom breaks in the best mode of the five point system. As for women’s tennis, they are only allowed to rest once, but the competition time is short. They only need to win two of the three sets.

  • Ability Gap Between Players

Of course, the main factor that determines how long a tennis match lasts is the level of balance between the two players! This will either lead to a war of attrition or a complete white hot. Sometimes you can even see a high ranked player perform poorly in the game, while a low ranked player has nothing to lose. This game can become an absolute classic game.

  • Weather

Historically, weather has played an important role in prolonging tennis matches. Due to the rain, the match was postponed for several days, especially at the Grand Slam level, and the schedule was very tight. Even strong winds can affect the length of the game. Under these test conditions, players tend to have more room for error, hit the ball higher and slower than under calm conditions. This naturally increases the length of the rally and ultimately the duration of the race.

Reasons for Inconsistent Duration of Tennis Matches

If you have read everything here, you may already know what the answer is. The first reason for the inconsistency of time is that the tennis match is “one-on-one”, which means that the greater the technical gap between the two players, the shorter the game time. In contrast, two players with similar skills can play games that last 4 hours or more. Tennis matches are different from basketball or football. Basketball or football only needs to score points within a given time. When you reach a certain milestone, you win – which is why the duration of tennis matches is so variable. In case we forget the draw rule, in theory, two players can compete for a game point indefinitely. The longest game in history ended 70-68.


To sum up, a regular professional tennis three set game lasts about 90 minutes on average, while the best five set game lasts two and a half hours. At the same time, college and high school competitions are often much shorter than professional competitions. However, the time required for completion will include other factors.

The players themselves are often the main reason for the longest duration of the game. It may take a very long time to reach the goal of winning two or three sets through multiple decisive innings and multiple draws. In addition, extreme weather will also delay the game, which will increase the time to complete the game.