We caught up with Carlos Gomes this week. Carlos is part of a team attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest tennis match ever played. The record currently stands at 63 hours and some change. In order to break the record, it needs to be an official match between 2 people, no substitutes, with official time keepers and umpires.
TSA: So Carlos, we think you're a lot crazy, because it's a long long time on a Tennis Court, but it's inspirational at the same time. What tennis player wouldn't want to spend almost 3 full days playing tennis if they could? What made you want to do this?
Carlos: We played a league match at Khayalitsha Tennis Club and we were moved by the poor condition of the courts and also by the enthusiasm of the kids. We decided something needed to be done. We started an organisation called Grassroots Tennis and we're using this record breaking attempt to raise both awareness and money for some of the projects, and ultimately to start a sustainable tennis academy.
TSA: What sort of things are Grassroots Tennis involved in?
Carlos: All the money raised, will be used to resurface courts at the Khayalitsha Tennis Club and also to build courts in Kayamandi. These are both underprivileged areas, in the Western Cape. Furthermore, coaches will be allocated to these areas, to teach the kids the game. These kids, will then also feed into the Western Province league, provided they are good enough.
TSA: The match has to be between two people, with no substitutes. Who are you playing against, and how did you select your partner?
Carlos: I'm playing with my mixed doubles Partner, Wendy. We started this venture together so we wanted to both be involved in the world record attempt.
TSA: What preparation have you done in the run up to this?
Carlos: We have both been doing lots of gym work and cardio work. We're very aware of how incredibly tough this record is to break, but we've worked really hard and I believe we're both ready.
TSA: The record currently stands at 63hrs 27min and 40sec, how long are you hoping to play for?
Carlos: our goal is to break the record and play a total of 65 hours.
TSA: Do you get any breaks during the record breaking attempt?
Carlos: We get a 5 min break each hour that we play. We're going to have to use those 5 minutes very strategically.
TSA: This is an incredibly physical event, do you have a specific recovery plan after you've broken the record?
Carlos: Sleep. Massage. Repeat :-)
TSA: Yes, we're sure you're going to need lots of that. Is there anything else going on around your record breaking attempt?
Carlos: The Western Province Seniors Tennis team, is pairing up with some local celebs. People like Werner Greeff (ex Springbok), Chanel de Jager (ex Egoli), Claire Allen (SA Masterchef) for a invitational game on Sunday. This small Pro Am is to raise awareness and hopefully attract people to the event.
TSA: Where can people get more information about what you and Wendy are doing this weekend?
Carlos: Please join the Facebook Event on the Grassroots page. If you're in Cape Town, then come down to the Constantia Tennis Club at the Constantia Sports Centre in Main Road. We start on 3 Feb at 17:00 and we'll finish mid-morning on 6 Feb.
We're in awe of your and Wendy's commitment to Tennis development in South Africa. You're definitely the best example of 'putting your money where your mouth is', that we've come across in a long time. Tennis South Africa wishes you both the best, and we're confident that we'll be able to post that 2 South Africans have a new world record during the course of next week.