Those six-hour Wimbledon marathons will be a thing of the past beginning next year as the All-England Lawn Tennis Club introduces a final-set tiebreak.
The organization announced Friday that once the final set reaches 12-12, the match will be ended with a tiebreaker.
A semifinal match this year between Kevin Anderson and John Isner lasted six and a half hours. Anderson won 26-24 in the final set.
Both called for a move to a final-set tiebreak afterward.
Isner was also involved in a 2010 match against Nicholas Mahut that spanned three days and more than 11 hours on court. Isner won that one 70-68 in the final set.
“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,” said chairman Philip Brook in a statement.
“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.”
The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam event that currently uses a final-set tiebreak in singles play. The Australian Open and French Open have instituted it, but only for doubles.
Wimbledon’s new rules will go into effect for all matches.
—Field Level Media