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Marathon matches at Wimbledon are to become a thing of the past with final set tie-breaks set to be introduced at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
From 2019 a fifth set tie-break will take place when the score reaches 12-12 with the decision take in a bid to prevent a repeat of the marathon matches that have previously occurred at SW19.
In 2010 a match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut went over for over 11 hours and reached 70-68 in the final set, while the former was involved in an epic semi-final against Kevin Anderson this year, which the South African won 26-24.
In the wake of the match, Anderson called for organisers to consider introducing a fifth set tie-break ad the AELTC has confirmed that the format will be changed from 2019 onwards.
"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," a statement confirmed.
AELTC Chairman, Philip Brook, commented: “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.”
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