How Long Do Tennis Matches Last?

Are you new to tennis and interested in finding out more about the rules surrounding this sport? We’re here to tell you all you need to know!

Tennis, although quite popular, can often be difficult to understand. The rules related to this sport are unique in nature, so if you’re not someone who’s used to watching tennis, you probably find it difficult to understand. Worry not!

With our easy-to-follow guides, you’ll be able to learn everything about tennis matches, including how long they last and what affects the duration of a game. That way, you won’t have to go through a ton of results online on your own and get even more confused because nothing was appropriately explained.

We’ll lay it out in laymen’s terms, so you can look forward to learning all there is to know in record time and with minimum effort! Let’s begin.

A Guide to Understanding the Duration of a Tennis Match

A tennis match can last for hours on end. One of the reasons why tennis is such a popular and well-known sport is that it is highly unpredictable and suspenseful. A match that was supposed to last for a short period of time can turn into a 5-hour-long match with ease.

The audience never knows and can never guess what will happen, and that is what makes this sport such a fun and exciting one.

Although we can’t be sure how long a tennis match will last, we can say approximately how long will it take without any outside factors intervening. Generally, best-of-3 matches will last for around 90 minutes, and best-of-5 matches can take approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

As we already mentioned, there are several factors that can affect the duration of a tennis match. That is how a 90-minute match turns into several hours of a tense game. It is time you learned what factors impact the matches and why.

What Impacts the Duration of a Tennis Match?

There is a number of factors that impact tennis matches and determine how long they will last. Take a look at the list below to learn what the 3 most common ones are:

1. Opponents

The first factor that impacts any tennis match is, of course, the opponent. Depending on how highly the opponent is ranked, you can expect him or her to complicate the game and cause a war of attrition.

Imagine having two highly-ranked players fighting for victory. Now, those are the kinds of matches that usually last longer since both players are equally skilled and neither one of them would let the other win without putting up a fight.

There are also instances when low-ranked players put up a great fight and cause a little stir in the game. This is usually not expected, and that is why it impacts the duration of a match as much.

People expect the stronger or higher-ranked opponent to take the victory with ease, but the other opponent makes matters more difficult and the match ends up lasting a lot longer than originally anticipated.

2. Weather Conditions

The next factor that impacts the duration of a tennis match greatly is the weather. This factor is a major one and has been seen throughout tennis history continuously. When the weather is poor and/or it’s raining, for example, a match can be delayed to a great extent.

Not only for hours but days—there were matches that were played over several days because of these weather conditions.

Rain is not the only weather factor that affects how long a tennis match will last—heavy wind can do that too. When the weather is extremely windy, players tend to make more errors, which results in a prolonged length of a match.

3. Surface

The last factor we’re going to list that affects the duration of a tennis match is the surface on which the match is played. We all know on what type of surfaces tennis matches can be played, such as grass, hard, and clay. Some of these surfaces allow for a quicker game, while others tend to do the opposite—prolong it. It’s time to learn which of these surfaces impacts a match and how.

Surfaces like indoor hard and grass courts are usually the ones that will allow for faster matches. On the other hand, slow surfaces, such as a clay surface, will mostly extend the rally length.

The reason behind this is that the ball will bounce higher, as well as move through the court more slowly, so the entire match will take a longer time than it would if it was played on a faster surface.

What Are the Longest Male and Female Tennis Matches?

Curious about what the longest matches were in tennis history? We got you covered.

When it comes to men’s tennis, the longest match was between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. It took place in 2010 at Wimbledon, and it lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes.

As for the women’s longest tennis match in history, it was between Jean Hepner and Vicki Nelson. This one took place at the Central Fidelity Banks International Match in 1984, and it lasted 6 hours and 31 minutes.


Tennis matches can last anywhere from 20 minutes up until several hours, or even days, at a time. There is a number of factors that impact the duration of tennis matches, so you never know for sure whether you’re in for a quick game or a 10-hour-long war.

Certain factors that have an impact on how long a tennis match can last aren’t that predictable, such as the weather. In case of sudden and heavy rain or wind, players will have a harder time playing, and it will inevitably prolong the match.

All you can do is be as prepared as possible and hope for the best before you step onto the court—the rest is not up to you.


Darinka Aleksic has been writing for Tennis Tips since its launch and has been an integral part of our team. Her role is to cover topics regarding everything tennis-related around the globe. From expert equipment reviews to exercise tips and tricks, she covers all the fields with a lot of attention to detail.

Her goal is to deliver top-notch tennis content and keep you up to date with everything in the modern tennis era while also reminding you about the game’s roots and history. Sports have always been a fundamental part of her life ever since she started playing tennis at the age of seven.

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