Wimbledon and Grand Slams announce major rule change that impacts Djokovic, Nadal and Co

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Wimbledon and Grand Slams announce major rule change that impacts Djokovic, Nadal and Co

The Grand Slam Board has announced a trial into a new format for the final set at all four Majors. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and

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The Grand Slam Board has announced a trial into a new format for the final set at all four Majors. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open previously all had different rules for how to finish a match in the final set but they will now all play a first-to-ten-point tiebreak at 6-6 starting from Roland Garros this year.

The four Grand Slam tournaments previously all had different scoring systems for the final set. The Australian Open was the only Major that adopted the new trial rule of a first-to-ten-point tiebreak at 6-6 in the final set, while the French Open had no tiebreak and needed a standard two-game advantage for a match to finish. Wimbledon and the US Open both has first-to-seven-point standard tiebreaks but at 12-12 and 6-6 in the final set respectively.

On Wednesday, the Grand Slam Board announced a new trial to unify the rules at the four Majors, with the ten-point final set tiebreak selected as the method to use starting from the French Open which begins on May 22. “On behalf of the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, the Grand Slam Board are pleased to announce the joint decision to play a 10-point tie-break at all Grand Slams, to be played when the score reaches six games all in the final set,” the board wrote in a statement.

“Further to extensive consultation with the WTA, ATP, ITF and tennis officiating community, the Grand Slam Board’s decision is based on a strong desire to create greater consistency in the rules of the game at the Grand Slams, and thus enhance the experience for the players and fans alike.” The trial will extend to qualifying, main draw, juniors and wheelchair events in singles.

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All of the Grand Slams except the US Open had previously let the final set play out until a player won by a two-game advantage. It led to the longest match in history, a three-day encounter between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut in the first-round of Wimbledon back in 2010, eventually won by the American 6-4 3-6 6-7(7) 706(3) 70-68 after play was suspended two evenings in a row for fading light.

In 2018, Isner was involved in another marathon match, losing the final set of his semi-final against Kevin Anderson as the South African took it 26 games to 24. It prompted a rule change at the All England Club a year later with a standard first-to-seven-point tiebreak played at 12-12 in the final set, with its first use in the men’s singles draw in 2019 coming in the final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Earlier in 2019, the Australian Open had also introduced a tiebreak, but the first-to-ten-point format at 6-6, now being trialled across the four Majors.



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