Last night the John Cain Arena at the Australian Open was treated to a 70-shot rally for the ages between Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov and Australian home favourite Jason Kubler. The rally had fans on the edge of their seats for its whole duration as the two players traded blows in a mesmerising display of skill and stamina. We got tired from just watching the tennis action, so we can only imagine how the boy’s legs must feel today. Check out the exhausting video clip above.
While the match ended in disappointment for Kubler, who eventually lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, the 70-shot rally was a moment that will live long in the memories of everyone who witnessed it. Both players showed remarkable stamina and skill as they battled it out in a 90-second rally that saw the ball travel back and forth across the court. Kubler was a set down and 5-4 down on serve when he was presented with a break point that he managed to convert. It took 70 shots (plus a lucky net cord) for him to eventually break serve, and although he won the set, he was unable to go any further in the match. Khachanov had the last laugh, but the crowd were still left with a magical moment that had everyone on their feet.
As if the 70-shot rally wasn’t enough, Khachanov dared to apologise to the home crowd for knocking out one of their favourites. After the match, he wrote on a camera lens: “Sorry Aussies, keep cheering for me, please.” The rally was not the longest ever at the Australian Open, with Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils having shared a 71-shot rally on the same court nine years ago. The longest recorded rally ever took place in 1984, when Jean Hepner and Vicky Nelson shared a 643-shot rally in a WTA tournament in Richmond, Virginia – a rally that lasted 29 minutes (umm… what?)
Kubler’s loss to Khachanov was not a huge surprise, with the Russian having proven himself as one of the dark horses of grand slam tournaments, knocking out Nick Kyrgios in last year’s US Open quarter-finals. Kubler’s best singles performance at the Australian Open may not have been enough to defeat Khachanov, but it was enough to give the home crowd an unforgettable sporting moment to savour.