Records are meant to be broken, right?
We are privileged to live in a golden age of tennis, with records falling all around us. Roger Federer winning the most men’s Grand Slam titles, Rafael Nadal dominating clay like no other, and Novak Djokovic earning the title “best returner of all-time” to name a few.
With new sporting records being set almost daily, it’s time for some bold predictions: here are 10 records that will never be broken.
1. Longest tennis match
In the opening round at the 2010 Wimbledon tournament, John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7-9), 7-6(7-3), 70-68 in 11 hours and five minutes. One could drive from Toronto to Montreal AND BACK in that time. The match lasted so long that it had to be spread over three days, and both players ended up with over 100 aces each. Needless to say Isner was a little bit happy after a first-round win…
2. Racquets smashed in a season
Some remember Marat Safin as a great champion with two Grand Slam titles. Some remember him as a crazy hot head. Personally, I think he is perfect mixture of both. In 1999, he broke a record 48 racquets during match play. I’ll let him shed some light on racquet breaking:
“In my career I have broken 1,055 rackets. I know the exact number, because Head gave me a snowboard with the number imprinted. I am a person, who has been frank both on and off court. If you like me, like me, if you don’t – it’s all good.”
The only person who could hang with Safin in a racquet smashing competition is Goran Ivanisevic, who broke some records himself…
3. Aces in a season
It can be argued that the serve is the most important shot in tennis. No other player has ever dominated with his serve like Goran did in his prime, firing 1,477 aces in 1996. His dominance becomes very apparent when we look at the top five ace-filled seasons.
4. Most Grand Slam doubles titles as a team (ATP)
Bob and Mike Bryan are the winningest duo of all-time on the ATP doubles circuit. They have won 16 Grand Slam titles, five better than any other team in the Open Era. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, aka “The Woodies”, have 11, a far cry from the dominance of the Bryans. The challenge is that teams don’t stay together as long anymore, but the Bryans don’t have that problem, seeing as they were born two minutes apart.
5. ATP singles titles
Winning the most ATP singles titles is one of the most coveted records in tennis. Jimmy Connors has put up an unreachable mark, winning 109 singles titles. This record is so difficult to break because Connors played for over 20 years – a rarity in the modern tennis world. Roger Federer ranks third with 86 titles (Ivan Lendl has 94), but he is the only active player even remotely close.
6. WTA singles titles
If you were impressed by Connors’ mark, you will be blown out of the water by Martina Navratilova. She has won 167 WTA singles titles, 58 more than Connors, and 99 more than current world No. 1 Serena Williams. Her career defines longevity and her record is impossible to break in the modern age.
PS. She won 9 (!) Wimbledon titles.
7. Titles won at a single Grand Slam (ATP)
Rafael Nadal has won the French Open NINE TIMES… and is still playing. In between winning all these French Open titles, The King of Clay won a mind-boggling 81 consecutive matches on clay between April 2005 and May 2007 – another record! He may have slowed down a little bit in 2015, but John Isner will tell you, he’s still got it.
8. Consecutive Grand Slam semifinals
For a six-year stretch between the 2004 and 2010 French Opens, Roger Federer did not miss a semifinal at any Grand Slam. To accomplish this, he had to win 115 consecutive matches in the earlier rounds – 115! For comparison, the longest such stretch by Sampras was three semifinals and by Rafa was five semifinals. This is not only one of the greatest records in tennis history, but one of the greatest in sports history.
Side note: This stat allowed the Swiss Maestro to stay atop the ATP rankings for 237 consecutive weeks, another untouchable record.
9. Total weeks at world No. 1
Steffi Graf is often regarded as the best women’s tennis player of all-time because she has spent more weeks at world No.1 than any tennis player in history. To top Graf’s record, Serena would have to stay at world No. 1 for (just under) three more years.
10. The Calendar Slam (ATP)
Winning all four Grand Slams in one season has only happened three times on the ATP circuit, and Rod Laver is responsible for two of those times (’62 and ’69). This feat has not been accomplished in the Open Era and may never be achieved again, let alone twice.
All of these individuals are world-class tennis players and their unprecedented records will stand the test of time.