The International Tennis Federation head on Sunday endorsed final set tie-breaks trimming overlong matches at Grand Slam, praising Wimbledon for its decision to introduce them in 2019 and expecting the Australian Open to follow suit in January.
Wimbledon announced the new rule in October, following the policy of the US Open. However, the Australian and French Open are yet to introduce the format.
“I think that exciting matches don’t have to always be the longest matches,” ITF chief David Haggerty told AFP on the fringes of the Fed Cup final pitting the Czech Republic against the United States in Prague.
“I think that Wimbledon made a very good decision looking and seeing some of the unintended consequences of long play and the impact that it can have.”
“You can have a great three-set match, you can have a great five-set match, when you play as long as some of the players play it’s like seven, eight, nine, ten sets -— that’s a little bit too much,” Haggerty added.
Wimbledon will introduce tie-breaks in the final set for the first time next year, but only once the score in the deciding set reaches 12-12.
A tie-break is normally played to decide the set when the score reaches 6-6.
In this year’s Wimbledon men’s final, South African Kevin Anderson lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets less than two days after beating John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set after more than six-and-a-half hours on court.
Big-serving American Isner was also famously involved in the longest match in Wimbledon history when he beat France’s Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the deciding set in 2010 after over 11 hours on court over three days.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Australians do something for 2019,” Haggerty said.
“I know that all the Grand Slams are looking at what they should do and what’s the best thing for the players, for the fans, for broadcasts, for everyone.”