Grand Slams to unify with 10-point final tiebreak

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All four tennis Grand Slams will use a 10-point tiebreak in the final set on a trial basis starting with the French Open in May, the governing body of the sport’s most prestigious events said Wednesday.

According to the new rules, matches tied at 6-6 in the final set will move into a tiebreak and the first player or team to reach 10 points with a two-point lead will win.

“The 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 Grand Slam Board said in a statement. “The Grand Slam Board plan to review the trial during the course of a full Grand Slam year, in consultation with the WTA, ATP and ITF, before applying for any permanent rule change.”

Each of the four Grand Slams had a different way of deciding the final set previously.

While the Australian Open used the 10-point tiebreak, the US Open employed a traditional, seven-point tiebreak even in the final set. Wimbledon featured a seven-point tiebreak when the score reached 12-12 in the final set of matches at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

The French Open, which begins May 22 at Roland Garros, has been the only major without a final-set tiebreak, with matches continuing until a player secures a two-game lead in the decider.

“It may disappoint the purists, but we are proud to match the other Grand Slams with a super tiebreak at 6-6 in the fifth set,” new French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo told reporters. “From a sporting point of view it makes sense. It’s consistent with the other Grand Slams. Sometimes players didn’t know what the rule was.”

American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut were involved in the longest match of all time in the first round of Wimbledon in 2010, with the pair battling 11 hours, 5 minutes across three days before Isner took the fifth set 70-68.

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