Daniel Burns and Carlo Santelli will try to set a new world record this weekend for the longest tennis match.
Those words have been ringing through the mind of Carlo Santelli since he read them in elementary school nearly 15 years ago.
For him and lifelong friend Daniel Burns, those sentiments could become a reality this weekend as they attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the longest tennis match.
Both Clifton natives, the duo have been in the planning stages for years and are finally set to take on the challenge.
“We’ve been discussing and planning doing this for awhile and now the day has finally arrived,” said Santelli. “I think we are both pretty nervous but very anxious to get started. It will all be worth it though when we have our names in the book.”
Set to begin at midnight tonight and end Sunday night at midnight, Santelli and Burns will attempt to play for 48 hours, smashing the old record of 36 hours, 36 minutes, 36 seconds which was set by Jeroen Wagenaar (Netherlands) and Serge Fernando (Netherlands) at the Tennis Society ‘T.C. de Kooistee’ in Hellevoetsluis, Netherlands, on September 12, 2009.
On Sunday at 12:37 p.m., they will officially break the record and celebrate with a ceremony which the public is invited to attend before picking up their rackets and getting back to work for another 12 hours.
“The record has been broken numerous times by only a few hours so we figured why not try and smash it,” said Burns. “We were actually able to speak to the current holders who are from Holland and got some pretty good advice.”
Currently both students and 2006 Clifton High School graduates, Santelli attends Bergen County Community College (soon to be enrolled at Columbia University) and was on the track and soccer teams at CHS.
Burns, a senior at Farleigh Dickinson University, played lacrosse and was a sprinter on the track team.
In preparation for their feat, the pair played for 12 hours straight last month and feel good about the outcome this weekend.
“I think the hardest part will not be the physical aspect of it but the mental,” said Santelli. “We originally wanted to go for 60 hours but logistically we couldn’t make it happen.”
With some help from City Manager Al Greco and Recreation Department Supervisor Debbie Oliver, Santelli and Burns are able stay on the court, located at Sperling Park, 295 Speer Ave., past its closing at dusk.
“The city and everyone involved have been fantastic and really supportive of what we’re doing,” Santelli said. “There is so much negative news going around these days, especially in Clifton that we thought something good could be accomplished.”
Playing for 48 hours might just be the easy part. As with all of its attempts, the Guinness World Records needs detailed evidence to verify the record.
“We have to have two witnesses and timers at all times, video record the entire 48 hours and take plenty of pictures,” Burns said. “We get a five minute break every hour we play which we can also accumulate. I think boredom is going to be our biggest challenge.”
But who will win? Ask either one and you’ll get different answers. “I am definitely going to beat him more times,” Burns laughed.
“I think it will be close at the end but I can take him,” said Santelli.
If they succeed in their attempt, Burns is hoping it will spur other people to get take on challenges.