Wimbledon will have final-set tiebreakers starting in 2019 to avoid ridiculously long matches
If matches hit a 12-12 tie in the final set, the new format comes into play
You asked and Wimbledon (eventually) answered. After a record-long semifinal between Kevin Anderson and John Isner last July that took 6 hours and 35 minutes and will have final-set tiebreakers in 2019. The matches can still go on for a while -- tiebreakers won't kick until a 12-12 score -- but it could at least avoid marathon matches like the 2018 semifinal., with Anderson winning the final set 26-24, Wimbledon
The rule will be universal, spanning across men and women's matches in singles, doubles and juniors. Per the Wimbledon website: "Informed by a thorough review of match data from the past 20 Championships, and upon consultation with players and officials, the tie-break will be played when the score reaches 12-12 in the final set."
This choice really could have been made by reviewing match data from the last championship, but it's understandable the powers that be want to be thorough.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Philip Brooks said in Wimbledon's statement:
In reaching this decision, the AELTC Committee sought the feedback of both players and officials, analysed 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.
One of the concerns of the Anderson-Isner spectacle was how long it delayed the other semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. At least by setting the tiebreaker score at 12-12, it keeps the spirit of the final set while avoiding marathon matches like this year's, and it can be a bit easier on schedulers.
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