Does anyone remember this?

Tennisfan339

Semi-Pro

Longest match ever for the WTA.
According to Wiki, the longest women's match (by time) took place at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984, when Vicky Nelson took 6 hours, 31 minutes to defeat Jean Hepner 6–4, 7–6(11). The match featured a 29-minute, 643-shot rally, the longest in professional tennis history.

I don't even understand how it's possible. 6h30 for a 6-4 7-6, and a 1/2 hour long rally.
Did you ever hear about this story?
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.

Longest match ever for the WTA.
According to Wiki, the longest women's match (by time) took place at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984, when Vicky Nelson took 6 hours, 31 minutes to defeat Jean Hepner 6–4, 7–6(11). The match featured a 29-minute, 643-shot rally, the longest in professional tennis history.

I don't even understand how it's possible. 6h30 for a 6-4 7-6, and a 1/2 hour long rally.
Did you ever hear about this story?
Didn’t see this match, but it did get mentioned in tennis magazines in the 80s, so I’ve known about it for some time.

I followed tennis pretty closely in the 80s, and while I appreciate all great champions from any era I do find it a bit odd how often posters here(many of whom don’t seem to have been following the game that long) sort of put down Serena and women’s tennis today when comparing it to the Martina/Evert/Graf era. Having watched a lot of tennis in the 80s(a lot of it live) I can say with some confidence that the quality of play in women’s tennis today from lower ranked players is much higher today to say the least. Moonballing was almost the norm for the majority of the women’s tour circa 1984. I sat through many of these matches with endless 50/60 ball rallies at the USO(hoping the matches would end so I could see men’s tennis) and believe me, it wasn’t fun. And the media was well aware of the poor quality of play, Chris and Martina had many press conferences where they were pretty much defending women’s tennis. While Graf and others certainly upped the bar, there were still a lot of moonballers in the late 80s/early 90s(and oddly these types of players weren’t exactly the most fit looking people. Cramping was a common thing back then. While it wasn’t nice of Krajicek to call women’s tennis full of fat pigs in 1992, many back then certainly don’t look that fit compared to most players today). So when you read Martina(who I’m a fan of, but can be objective about her era) went 83-1 in 1983, and see how often Martina, Graf, andEvert beat players 6-1, 6-1, keep in mind how many of the players they beat played like the 2 ladies in your post. I wonder what all the young posters here who constantly rip WTA today and say it’s unwatchable would think of having to watch a WTA event from beginning to end circa 1984. Watching a classic Chris Martina final on YouTube from then really doesn’t show the whole picture.

And going back to Jean Hepner, I came across an article about her match in the first round of the 83 USO(the article was more about her opponent since she came back from 06, 05, 0-40 in the quailies to win)
Score of this match was 61, 67, 63 and the match was 4 hours long with many rallies over 90 shots. I know that seems like a cake walk compared to the Richmond match, but I think it shows a pattern to how Hepner played and that the crazy stats about Richmond are probably correct.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
I know this story for a long time and always asked myself if there is video material. Most likely that won’t be the case as it was the 80s and a small tournament with rather unimportant players.

But if not, what is the proof for the 29-minute rallye? Not that I believe it’s wrong in this particular case, but eyewitness testimony as sole proof is notoriously unreliable.
 
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Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
I know this story for a long time and always asked myself if there is video material. Most likely that won’t be the case as it was the 80s and a small tournament with rather unimportant players.

But if not, what is the proof for the 29-minute rallye? Not that I believe it’s wrong in this particular case, but eyewitness testimony as sole proof is notoriously unreliable.
did you read my post? I found an article from 1983 on another Hepner match where they said 90 ball rallies were common. Obviously a 643 ball rally is a big step up, but if this player had no problem engaging in 90 ball rallies on a regular basis with other moonballers, I could see a situation where something like this could happen at some point if a match got really crazy. Also, the 6 and a half hour time for the match is presumably official and not based on eyewitness testimony. So with a crazy runtime like that, a 30 minute rally seems possible.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
Makes you actually appreciate Sampras v Ivanisevic at Wimbledon...

I would be dead long befire I hit 322 shots in a single rally.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
did you read my post? I found an article from 1983 on another Hepner match where they said 90 ball rallies were common. Obviously a 643 ball rally is a big step up, but if this player had no problem engaging in 90 ball rallies on a regular basis with other moonballers, I could see a situation where something like this could happen at some point if a match got really crazy. Also, the 6 and a half hour time for the match is presumably official and not based on eyewitness testimony. So with a crazy runtime like that, a 30 minute rally seems possible.
Yes, but this means 2.7 seconds per shot on average or 5.4 seconds until the ball comes back to the same player. This is insane, especially because such an average is maintained for so long. How is this even possible? I mean, this looks like ONLY lobs, even though nobody comes to the net?
 
Didn’t see this match, but it did get mentioned in tennis magazines in the 80s, so I’ve known about it for some time.

I followed tennis pretty closely in the 80s, and while I appreciate all great champions from any era I do find it a bit odd how often posters here(many of whom don’t seem to have been following the game that long) sort of put down Serena and women’s tennis today when comparing it to the Martina/Evert/Graf era. Having watched a lot of tennis in the 80s(a lot of it live) I can say with some confidence that the quality of play in women’s tennis today from lower ranked players is much higher today to say the least. Moonballing was almost the norm for the majority of the women’s tour circa 1984. I sat through many of these matches with endless 50/60 ball rallies at the USO(hoping the matches would end so I could see men’s tennis) and believe me, it wasn’t fun. And the media was well aware of the poor quality of play, Chris and Martina had many press conferences where they were pretty much defending women’s tennis. While Graf and others certainly upped the bar, there were still a lot of moonballers in the late 80s/early 90s(and oddly these types of players weren’t exactly the most fit looking people. Cramping was a common thing back then. While it wasn’t nice of Krajicek to call women’s tennis full of fat pigs in 1992, many back then certainly don’t look that fit compared to most players today). So when you read Martina(who I’m a fan of, but can be objective about her era) went 83-1 in 1983, and see how often Martina, Graf, andEvert beat players 6-1, 6-1, keep in mind how many of the players they beat played like the 2 ladies in your post. I wonder what all the young posters here who constantly rip WTA today and say it’s unwatchable would think of having to watch a WTA event from beginning to end circa 1984. Watching a classic Chris Martina final on YouTube from then really doesn’t show the whole picture.

And going back to Jean Hepner, I came across an article about her match in the first round of the 83 USO(the article was more about her opponent since she came back from 06, 05, 0-40 in the quailies to win)
Score of this match was 61, 67, 63 and the match was 4 hours long with many rallies over 90 shots. I know that seems like a cake walk compared to the Richmond match, but I think it shows a pattern to how Hepner played and that the crazy stats about Richmond are probably correct.
The depth is obviously much greater now, back then you could pretty much skip straight to QF if not SF for some good stuff. Still though, I'd prefer a procession tournament with a great final (or "real final" in case the best two players of the tournament happen to meet in SF or QF) to an upset-heavy one with a dull final.
 

Sudacafan

Talk Tennis Guru

Longest match ever for the WTA.
According to Wiki, the longest women's match (by time) took place at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984, when Vicky Nelson took 6 hours, 31 minutes to defeat Jean Hepner 6–4, 7–6(11). The match featured a 29-minute, 643-shot rally, the longest in professional tennis history.

I don't even understand how it's possible. 6h30 for a 6-4 7-6, and a 1/2 hour long rally.
Did you ever hear about this story?
I don’t remember. Do you have the full video of the match, by chance?
 

BringBackWood

Professional
Didn’t see this match, but it did get mentioned in tennis magazines in the 80s, so I’ve known about it for some time.

I followed tennis pretty closely in the 80s, and while I appreciate all great champions from any era I do find it a bit odd how often posters here(many of whom don’t seem to have been following the game that long) sort of put down Serena and women’s tennis today when comparing it to the Martina/Evert/Graf era. Having watched a lot of tennis in the 80s(a lot of it live) I can say with some confidence that the quality of play in women’s tennis today from lower ranked players is much higher today to say the least. Moonballing was almost the norm for the majority of the women’s tour circa 1984. I sat through many of these matches with endless 50/60 ball rallies at the USO(hoping the matches would end so I could see men’s tennis) and believe me, it wasn’t fun. And the media was well aware of the poor quality of play, Chris and Martina had many press conferences where they were pretty much defending women’s tennis. While Graf and others certainly upped the bar, there were still a lot of moonballers in the late 80s/early 90s(and oddly these types of players weren’t exactly the most fit looking people. Cramping was a common thing back then. While it wasn’t nice of Krajicek to call women’s tennis full of fat pigs in 1992, many back then certainly don’t look that fit compared to most players today). So when you read Martina(who I’m a fan of, but can be objective about her era) went 83-1 in 1983, and see how often Martina, Graf, andEvert beat players 6-1, 6-1, keep in mind how many of the players they beat played like the 2 ladies in your post. I wonder what all the young posters here who constantly rip WTA today and say it’s unwatchable would think of having to watch a WTA event from beginning to end circa 1984. Watching a classic Chris Martina final on YouTube from then really doesn’t show the whole picture.

And going back to Jean Hepner, I came across an article about her match in the first round of the 83 USO(the article was more about her opponent since she came back from 06, 05, 0-40 in the quailies to win)
Score of this match was 61, 67, 63 and the match was 4 hours long with many rallies over 90 shots. I know that seems like a cake walk compared to the Richmond match, but I think it shows a pattern to how Hepner played and that the crazy stats about Richmond are probably correct.
Still, good women's tennis in the 80 & 90's was far more enjoyable and tactically rich than the cookie-cutter dross that is all of women's tennis today. Give me a fattie who has skill & nouse over a talentless 'athlete' anyday. I'd even argue on grass female matches were often more fun to watch than the men's in the 80 & 90's.
 
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