Melbourne, Australia, 19 April 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Two ex-Australian Defence Force members, Glenn Pope and Jamie Blair, hope to set a new world record in Melbourne next week.

The two mates are trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest tennis singles marathon and create awareness about men’s mental health in the process.

Their challenge, dubbed ‘Playing the Long Game‘, is raising money for Movember to honour the memory of Pope’s nephew Mark, who took his own life in 2021 and left behind two young daughters.

Suicide is a leading cause of death for males in Australia, with rates even higher for those to have served in the defence forces.

Pope and Blair’s attempt to play for more than 80 hours and 48 minutes begins at Melbourne’s National Tennis Centre from 7.30am on Thursday 25 April, following the city’s ANZAC Day dawn service.

To break the record, Pope and Blair will need to play until at least 4.30pm on Sunday 28 April.

They must follow strict rules to qualify for the record, which includes only having five-minute breaks for every hour played. They also need witnesses to observe play at all times and are seeking volunteers to sign up to help.

“We’d love the community support, either by donating or coming along to cheer us on during the event,” Blair said. “It’s going to be a long match, so we’ll need all the encouragement we can get.”

To prepare for the physically daunting challenge, Pope and Blair have been training hard.

“I try and get as many steps in each day as possible and get use to standing for long periods of time,” Blair said of his preparations.

“Apart from when I’m in bed, I’m on feet almost all of the time,” Pope added. “Lots of walking carrying my tennis racquet. Playing tennis. Even if there’s no partner available, I’ll have a hit against the wall at home.”

The duo concede “the standard won’t be high” but they are motivated to raise at least $10,000 for Movember by taking on the challenge.

“We’re hoping to raise as much money as we can,” Blair said. “Success to me would also be to raise awareness that Movember is a year-round charity. And the longer we can stay out there, the more awareness and hopefully donations we can achieve.”

The pair can take confidence from a previous world record attempt, when they successfully featured in the longest doubles tennis marathon. That match, played in 2019 with two other friends, lasted 61 hours and 15 minutes.

For anyone wanting to cheer on their latest world record attempt, their singles marathon will be played on Court 18 at the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne Park.

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