Grand Slams Adopt New Tiebreak Rule for Final Sets

Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open.
Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open. Photo by Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

The ultra-long tennis matches at Grand Slam tournaments are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, the four Grand Slams— Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and US Open—they adopted a new final set rule that will help determine a winner in tie situations much faster.

According to the Grand Slam Board, in the situation that the tennis match is tied at 6-6 in the final set, the players will play a 10-point tiebreak. The player that reaches 10 points first will be crowned a winner. However, the requirement of a two-point lead will still be in place.

The 10-point tiebreak will first be tested at the 2022 French Open and will be used for all the rest Grand Slams this year. If the trial proves to be successful, the rule will become permanent.

“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.”

All four Grand Slams previously had different ways of determining a winner when the match was tied in the final set. For example, the Australian Open used the 10-point tiebreak rule, and US Open had the standard seven-point tiebreak.

Wimbledon would extend the final set until one player would get a two-game lead. However, if the set would get to 12-12 at any point, the match would then proceed in a seven-point tiebreak.

Finally, French Open had no tiebreaks and would have the match go on until one player managed to get a two-game lead.

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