Wimbledon longest match: How well does an 11-hour match pay?

Wimbledon longest match earned Mahut $1,500 an hour. Isner, the winner, will make more, barring another marathon match.

Glyn Kirk/Pool/Reuters
Wimbledon longest match: John Isner of the US celebrates after defeating France's Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 24. The 11-hour, five-minute epic, played over three days, was the longest match in pro tennis history.

How would you like to make $1,500 an hour. That's what Nicolas Mahut earned at Wimbledon after his epic match – the longest in tennis history.

And he was the loser of the match, which was played over three days and lasted a record 11 hours and five minutes.

Winner John Isner stands to earn at least $2,000 an hour, since the win earned him a spot in the next round, and presuming that his next match doesn't last an extraordinarily long time.

That sounds like great pay. Of course, it doesn't account for the hours of unpaid training and practice that pro players must put in, the costs of travel, coaches, and so on.

Players within the top 200 can expect to make money from clothing and racquet sponsorships in addition to prize money.

But to make a good living at professional tennis, players have to break into the top 50, according to The Tennis Times.

Since the Isner-Mahut marathon occurred in the first round, Mahut exits with £11,250 (about $16,800) that all first-round losers receive. But he ought to receive something more.

His tireless effort over three days and 183 games brought more attention to lowly Court 18 of Wimbledon and created more history than all the other first-round matches combined.

And what of Isner, the 23rd seed who finally broke Mahut's serve in the 138th game of the decisive fifth set? All his upcoming opponents should agree to run 10 miles right before they meet him on court.

His endurance and ability to keep serving aces, despite obvious fatigue, are worthy of nothing less.

Years from now, tennis fans will probably remember this match more than the championship.

Incidentally, the winner of the men's singles title will walk away with £1,000,000 (nearly $1.5 million). If his matches last an average three hours, that works out to $71,400 an hour.

Now that's real money.

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