Can A Tennis Match Go On For 7 Days? HBO's '7 Days In Hell' Gives Us One Really Long Game That Could Really Happen
HBO's brand new "HBO Sports" special, 7 Days In Hell , is everything you could ever want out out of an insane sports special. It's got swearing. It's got nudity. It's got ridiculously outfits (and wigs) and an even more insane plot. But between all of the absurdity that comes from an Andy Samberg led tennis match, 7 Days In Hell oddly enough reflects the true rules of the sport. With that being said, seeing as how it's insane and factual, could a tennis match really last for 7 days straight?
Simple answer: yes. But thankfully no one would probably ever let it get that far. I mean, come on. A 7 day straight tennis match literally is the epitome of 7 days in hell.
The 42-minute special does not waste any time setting up the actual rules of the tennis game, so hopefully you go into it knowing a little bit about the game — I mean, Wimbledon IS going on right now, haven't you been watching that?
It's probably best that the rules of the game aren't explained, because they're complicated if you don't know the first thing about tennis. Even though an explanation of them would have made for great comedy, so they can include that in the spin-off sequel.
First off, there is no such thing as a "tie" in tennis. Someone has to win. And each tennis game is comprised of four game points — love, fifteen, thirty, forty. Then there's the term, "deuce" when the players are both tied at forty. It's not like whoever wins the next point wins the game, because — as it's briefly touched on in 7 Days In Hell — a player has to win by an advantage of two points. So if both players keep on tying, the game goes on and on until someone finally wins two points in a row, basically. That's why Samberg's Aaron Williams and Kit Harrington's Charles Pool played for-ever-eeerrrr.
Also, that's just one game. Tennis matches are comprised of at least six games per a set, and there are three sets played. Once again, the player has to win by an advantage of two set points. So if Player One has won six sets, and Player Two has one five sets, they keep playing. And playing. Until one of them is up by two or they both die, mid-court.
So yes, theoretically a game could LITERALLY go on for days on end, and it's happened before. The longest tennis game, to date, took place in 2010 and it lasted three days. Three days. So a full week's worth of tennis isn't actually that far off.
Understand that it's not like they're playing the game straight through these three days. It's not like sunup to sundown. But if no one is winning the game-point, and the sun starts setting, finishing the game is postponed until the next day. The game can be postponed for weather. And I guess for streakers (and sex) on the court, but that doesn't really happen in real life, or at least it hasn't yet.
Some games span two days for reasons like the above. Some games start early in the morning, and go all day, sometimes around 5 or 6 hours. Even though what happens in 7 Days In Hell is completely exaggerated, it's all based on truth. With no tie-breakers in place, a tennis match can become a very long game.
While a multiple-day match might seem like a lot to take in, let's be honest with ourselves. If we knew Harrington was going to be wearing all-white and playing a sport for multiple days in a row, we'd clear our entire schedule to watch the whole thing.
Image: John P. Fleenorl; Giphy (2)