On the heels of a marathon men’s semifinal round at Wimbledon this year, the event has moved to a final set tiebreaker at 12-all for all singles matches.
The change applies to all singles and doubles events including qualifying starting in 2019.
AELTC Chairman, Philip Brook, commented: “In reaching this decision, the AELTC Committee sought the feedback of both players and officials, analyzed two decades of match data, and considered other factors including scheduling complexities and spectator experience.
“Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set. While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable timeframe.
“As a next step, we look forward to sharing further details with our Grand Slam, ITF, WTA and ATP colleagues when we meet in Singapore.”
This year, Kevin Anderson beat John Isner 26-24 in a fifth set, that pushed the finish of the marquee semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to the next day, which disrupted the start of the women’s final and left the South African debilitated in the final.
Now there will be a virtual “sixth set” before a final breaker to decide the winner.
The move also leaves the Australian Open and the French Open as the only events that still play out of the final set. With the push for quicker matches, both are expected to follow suit in some form in the future, though the Australian just had their pre-2019 media event and made no such announcement.
Wimbledon, however, is the only event with a nightly curfew (11pm) which makes this decision even more understandable.
John Isner, who famously played in a 70-68 win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, had this response on twitter:
— John Isner (@JohnIsner) October 19, 2018
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