The end of the epically-long game between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic in the 2023 Wimbledon men's singles final. The end of the epically-long game between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic in the 2023 Wimbledon men’s singles final. (The Comeback on Twitter.)

A remarkable element of tennis is how much of a discrepancy there can be in match times. With individual points ranging in duration from service aces or double-faults to incredibly protracted rallies, and with games and sets both offering the possibilities of elongated tiebreakers, it’s quite possible to have both very short and very long matches. And that was illustrated with a game in the third set of the men’s Wimbledon final Sunday between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz that lasted almost 27 minutes, with Alcaraz eventually prevailing on the seventh break point:

This drew attention from the commentators, too, including ESPN’s John McEnroe:

Brett Fera of the Tucson-based Arizona Daily Star dug up a great stat on how this match length compared to one past entire final at Wimbledon:

Of course, tennis in 1881 was rather different. Beyond much more mismatched competition in the final than you’d see today, there were certainly  less interruptions for Hawk-eye call challenges and the like. Still, it’s wild to see that kind of discrepancy in two finals  at the same event, even if they were almost 150 years apart. And this match certainly left the competitors tired:

And even if it didn’t quite hit past records for points in a single game, this one sure took a while:

The Alcaraz-Djokovic match did not actually set overall records for length. It finished well behind the longest match in Wimbledon (and professional tennis!) history, the famed John Isner-Nicholas Mahut clash in the first round in 2010 that went 11 hours and five minutes. But it did come pretty close to the previous longest Wimbledon final, Djokovic’s 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) win over Roger Federer in 2019, which took four hours and 57 minutes.

Djokovic won the first set Sunday 6-1 before Alcaraz rebounded to take the second 7-6 (6) and the third 6-1. Djokovic won the fourth set 6-3, but Alcaraz bounced back for a 6-4 win in the fifth set. That victory came well into the match’s fifth hour, but it didn’t quite surpass 2019 for total match length. But it did present that one incredibly long game.

[Brett Fera on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.