Gustavus and KARE 11 Team Up To Break World Record for Longest Tennis Match

Posted on April 30th, 2010 by

Eric Perkins (left), David Watkins (center), Steve Wilkinson (right)

Gustavus Adolphus College will join with KARE 11 Television on May 3-4 as KARE 11 reporters David Watkins and Eric Perkins attempt to break the world record for the longest tennis match.  The match, which is the part of a series hosted by Watkins called “Record Wreckers”, will take place at the Swanson Tennis Center on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Watkins and Perkins will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for longest tennis match, which is currently 36 hours, 36 minutes, and 36 seconds.  The match will begin at 9:30 am on Monday, May 3 and end during KARE 11’s 10 p.m newscast on Tuesday, May 4.

The entire 36+ hour event will be carried live on the KARE 11 website ( and the pursuit of the record will be updated on the station’s 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. newcasts on both Monday and Tuesday.

Gustavus was approached by Watkins earlier this year as he was organizing his new series.  He asked if the College would be interested in hosting the event as he was hoping to feature legendary Gustavus tennis coach Steve Wilkinson as a part of the record attempt.  Watkins stated, “Wilkinson has more conference titles, national titles, and individual titles than he knows what to do with. He has every coaching record in the books, except to coach the longest singles tennis match in history!”

Gustavus was excited about the opportunity to team with Watkins and KARE 11 in their attempt to break the record and welcomed the idea to celebrate the career of Wilkinson in the process.

At the Swanson Tennis Center, Coach Wilkinson will be providing moral support to Watkins and Perkins and different times throughout the match, while the Gustavus athletic training staff under the direction of Troy Banse will be on site the entire match to help with any physical issues.  In addition, Gustavus sports information director Tim Kennedy will keep score of every game during the entire match and serve as the representative for Guinness to verify the authenticity of the record.

Watkins and Perkins were in St. Peter last week to get the feel of the surroundings for their world record attempt, while also working with Coach Wilkinson and current Gustavus head men’s tennis coach Tommy Valentini on tips and strategies in preparation for the event.

In addition to their preparation at Gustavus, Watkins and Perkins have also met with Doctor Jamie Peters at Fairview Sports and Orthopedic care getting mini-physicals and receiving tennis elbow straps and the folks at Max Muscle who talked to them about how to deal with the mixed emotions they will deal with during the match as well as providing them with a good mix of multi-vitamins and energy bars to help them with fatigue.

Gustavus welcomes the public to come and cheer on Watkins and Perkins as they attempt to break the world record for longest tennis match in honor of Steve Wilkinson at the Swanson Tennis Center on the Gustavus campus.  KARE 11’s dynamic duo will need plenty of encouragement as they attempt to break this grueling endurance record.

For the past several years, the Gustavus men’s tennis team has been actively involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life taking part in the annual event at Gustavus and raising a significant amount of money for the cause.  The commitment by the men’s tennis program to battling cancer became personal when Steve Wilkinson was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer 18-months ago.  The 2010 Gustavus men’s tennis team will once again be participating in the Relay For Life, which will be held in the Lund Center Forum next Friday and Saturday, May 7-8.

If you would like to contribute to the men’s tennis program’s effort to raise funds to battle cancer you can contribute through the Gustavus Relay for Life website.

Watch Marathon Live Through KARE 11 Website

David Watkins Blog

Track Match Score Through Twitter and Marathon Clock


One Comment

  1. Great attempt, for a great cause and coach!!!