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Short tiebreaks to decide grand slams

First-to-10 tie-breaks will conclude the final sets of all four grand slam tournaments with immediate effect, the Grand Slam Board has announced.

The decision, which will initially be adopted on a trial basis, brings consistency to the issue of how to finish a match that reaches 6-6 in a decider.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon, the Grand Slam Board said: “The Grand Slam Board’s 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.

“This trial, which has been approved by the Rules of Tennis Committee governed by the ITF, will apply to all grand slams across qualifying, men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, wheelchair and junior events in singles, and will commence at the 2022 edition of Roland Garros.”

Calls for a rule change were made after John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the final set of their first-round match at Wimbledon in 2010, which took eight hours and 11 minutes to complete.

And final set tie-breaks were finally rubber-stamped for the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2019, after criticism of two lengthy 2018 semi-finals at the All England Club, including Kevin Anderson’s 26-24 deciding set win over Isner.

The statement added: “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.”

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