It was a case of mind over matter as Italian Lorenzo Giustino progressed to the second round of Roland Garros, with first tour win.
Hats off to Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino, who attributed his mammoth six-hour French Open tennis first-round victory over Corentin Moutet to an improved mental game.
"It means a lot for me. I think I improved a lot in these past two years. I believe in myself that I can make something better than I was before," the Naples native told the media once the match had ended after midnight in Paris.
"I'm trying to improve and in all the aspects, [the] mental aspect will be for sure one of the things that I improved the most."
With fatigue in the legs, most would feel that Giustino's fresher second-round opponent Diego Schwartzman of Argentina is at an advantage. But that's not how the Italian sees it.
"No, no, no. I feel perfect," Giustino continued after a reporter enquired about his level of tiredness.
"Tomorrow I'll go run a bit because I think I'm too fresh."
A rain delay on Sunday coupled with the lack of a fifth-set tie break at Roland Garros, meant that it took a grueling six hours and four minutes for a winner to be decided in the first-round encounter.
Like a gladiator emerging victorious in the ancient arena, it was a clay-covered Giustino who eventually took the spoils 0-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3), 2-6, 18-16, in what was also the 29-year-old’s first tour win.
Ironically, Moutet outscored his opponent by 242 points to 217, while hitting 31 more winners. But the stat that will no doubt linger in his mind longest is that he served for the match three times in the three-hour final set.
"My feelings, I don't know. We played a really long match," the Frenchman said afterwards. "I don't feel anything in my body right now. I feel empty."
But it was the Italian who won the points that mattered.
Unbelievably, it isn’t the longest match Roland Garros has ever witnessed.
That award goes to Barcelona '92 quarter-finalist Fabrice Santoro’s victory over two-time Olympian Arnaud Clement in an all-French affair in 2004, which lasted a whopping six hours and 33 minutes.
The longest tennis match ever took place on the grass of Wimbledon in 2010, when American John Isner took 8 hours and 11 minutes to beat France’s Nicolas Mahut.