Grass Roots Tennis Media Release
Written by : Dave Macleod
Embargo : None
Date 8 February 2017
Cape Town pair set a new tennis world record
Cape Town - Cape Town – Cape Town tennis enthusiasts Carlos Gomes and
Wendy Thompson broke the Guinness World Record for the longest singles
tennis match, raising close to half a million Rands in the process, and
despite the extreme physical and mental toll it took on both of them, they
have vowed to attempt a further record in the future.
At 10am on Monday morning they set a new record by playing singles tennis
for 64 hours, bettering the previous mark set by two German tennis
enthusiasts by almost two hours.
Cheered on by supporters at the Constantia Tennis Club and youngsters from
the Khayalitsha and Khayamandi Tennis Clubs, the clubs that they were
raising funds to upgrade, Gomes and Thompson had to dig deep to grind
through some serious challenges during their marathon match.
“Shew, I went into some really dark places,” said an exhausted but elated
Thompson, who had to have both legs heavily strapped to get her through the
“Physically we were able to deal with the challenges of the aches and pains
but mentally it was very tough. In particular playing through the night and
the tough times at around 2am on the Sunday and Monday mornings,” she added.
Gomes went through similar challenges, both mentally and physically. He went
into the bid carrying a cold, which gradually worsened and he lost his
voice. Then his right hand gave in midway through the Saturday, despite all the medical attention from
his support team, and he was forced to play the second half of the marathon
“If there is one good thing I have taken out of this experience, it is that
I might actually play better left-handed,” he said after the ordeal.
“Mentally, it was tougher than I imagined. The fatigued plays on your mind
and converts to anger. Luckily I had some good friends who were able to keep
my head together and keep us on track.
"Within the first 5 hours I realised the hugeness of the task at hand and
seriously doubted I could make it purely out of a time factor. I never
doubted my fitness or the reason why we embarked on this mad challenge.
"From about hour 58 I was going downhill quickly it just happened without
warning," said Gomes "I don’t remember much of it at all, I do remember
being blind for a while and being helped by our support team as to where to
stand and when to swing the racquet.
"I had zero strength and was in intense pain from my right wrist. I was
truly struggling with an hour to go before we beat the record. The guys
around me rallied whatever strength I had left in me to somehow push
through, I needed a medical time-out just to check vitals which proved to be
"We broke the record by some 15 min and then Wendy who was in much better
shape on Monday than me went on to complete the 65 Hrs for the sponsorships
with a substitute," said Gomes.
"We had the kids from Khayalitsha and Khayamandi there and they had a
massive impact on helping us through as they wrote motivational messages on
the pavement and sang songs of support and had an amazing time with our
coaches and on the jumping castle.
"They loved the experience and we loved doing this for them," said Gomes.
"We have choices they don’t so quitting is not an option."
With pledges, raffle ticket sales and other contributions still coming in,
Gomes and Thompson’s heroics seem to have struck a chord with tennis lovers
and corporates across the world.
The ultimate driver behind their new record was to raise enough money to
refurbish the tennis facilities at Khayalitsha on the Cape Flats and at
Khayamandi in Stellenbosch and to put in place a sustainable tennis
development and support programme at those centres.
And despite the pain and fatigue, the pair has been quick to set their
sights on another world record to bolster the capital needed to sustain
their Grass Roots Tennis project.
“Yes, there will definitely be another bid!” croaked Gomes. This time it
seems likely they will target the Guinness World Record for the longest
doubles tennis match, which, curiously, is actually shorter that the old
mark for the singles record.
More information can be found at
www.grassrootstennis.co.za where donations and pledges can also be made.
To interview the, please contact:
Carlos Gomes on 079 512 1256
Click to download the hi-res
Grass Roots Tennis Logo - JPeg
Carlos Gomes and Wendy Thompson
speak t media after breaking the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the
longest singles tennis match at the Constantia Tennis Club.
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