On this day: John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut comes to an end

Three years ago today, the longest match in tennis history between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon came to an end.

While John Isner and Nicolas Mahut are very good tennis players, when the duo were paired together in the opening round of the 2010 installment of Wimbledon, nobody expected any major talking points to come from the encounter.

How wrong we all were...

The first four sets came and went without any major incident, although the standard of tennis was pleasing on the eye.

Nicolas Mahut stretches to play a shot in his match against John Isner.© PA Photos

Isner took the first set 6-4, only for his French opponent to gain the initiative with 6-3 7-6 successes. However, the giant American ensured that a fifth set would be required when he won a breaker of his own in the fourth rubber.

By now it was 9pm and the light had started to fade - so much so that officials were forced to call a halt on play, with the game pencilled in for Court 18 the next day. And so the drama commenced.

Rules at SW19 state that there is no breaker in the fifth set, meaning that the victor is required to win by two clear games. When Isner and Mahut returned, it became clear very quickly that neither had any intention of surrendering their service games without a fight.

John Isner celebrates beating Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon.© PA Photos

When light again was the winner on day two of this match, proceedings were incredibly locked on 59 games apiece. At just before 6pm that day, the record had been broken for the longest encounter in tennis history.

Everybody reconvened for a third time three years ago today, with the world watching on to see who was going to win this epic contest.

It eventually happened with Isner leading 69-68. After 11 hours and five minutes of tennis, Isner was presented with what was only his 14th break point and on this occasion he took it.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut stand in front of the scoreboard at Wimbledon.© PA Photos

As you'd expect, numerous records were broken along the way, including the longest ever fifth set (eight hours and 11 minutes), most games in a match (183) and highest number of consecutive service games held (168). Both players also fired down more than 100 aces each.

Unsurprisingly, Isner was knocked out in the next round by Thiemo de Bakker without recording one of his trademark aces.

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Pam Shriver at the Parade of Champions at Wimbledon in 2000.
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