Australian Open joins Wimbledon and US Open by introducing final-set tie-breaks to settle matches
- Wimbledon will have first-to-seven-points tie-break at 12-12 in the final set
- Australian Open is different and will have first to 10 at six games apiece
- The French Open is now the only Grand Slam still with a long deciding set
The Australian Open has followed Wimbledon by introducing final-set tie-breaks for matches at next month’s tournament.
But, while Wimbledon will have a standard first-to-seven-points tie-break at 12-12, Australian Open matches that go the distance will be decided by a first-to-10-points tie-break at 6-6.
The US Open was the first Grand Slam to introduce final-set tie-breaks, with a first-to-seven-points game played at 6-6, meaning the three tournaments will all use a different format. The French Open is now the only slam still decided by a long deciding set.
Roger Federer and the rest of the field will now play under an adapted format
The Australian Open announced that the decision came after consultation with current and former players and tennis officials.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: ‘We asked the players – both past and present, commentators, agents and TV analysts – whether they wanted to play an advantage final set or not, and went from there.
‘We went with a 10-point tiebreak at six-games-all in the final set to ensure the fans still get a special finale to these often epic contests, with the longer tiebreak still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest.
Andy Murray is preparing for the Australian Open and will play under the shortened rules
‘This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak.’
In the men’s singles draw, the first four sets will feature a seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6, with the final set going to a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.
In women’s singles play and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the deciding set of three sets will be played with a 10-point tiebreaker if level at 6-6.
Matches such as John Isner’s extraordinary marathon against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 will no longer be possible, with the exception of the French Open. The Australian Open begins on January 14.
Matches like John Isner’s epic with Nicolas Mahut will now only be possible at the French Open