The Australian Open could include a deciding-set tie-breaker into the fifth set of the main rounds of the tournament, as soon as the season of 2019. Tennis Australia has reportedly been given permission by the Grand Slam Board to shorten the length of matches at the first major tournament of the year. It has been, according to reports, decided to play the tie-breaks at 6-6 in the fifth set with a player needing to win 10 points by a margin of two.
The London Telegraph has reports that suggest the approval is on a year-to-year basis. Wimbledon had recently made a similar change, to be implemented in 2019 where-in that competition tie-breakers will be played at 12-12 in the deciding set and follow the regular singles format of players needing to reach 7 points by a margin of two.
The UK Times has reported that the players on the roster are now being consulted on whether the new format should be implemented at next year’s Australian Open, which begins on January 14. The move by Tennis Australia would leave just the French Open as the only grand slam that does not have tie-breakers. The US Open already uses them at 6-6 in the final set. Meanwhile, the WTA’s top 102 women and ATP’s top 101 men have all confirmed they will compete at the 2019 event.
Romanian world No.1 Simona Halep heads the women’s field, with Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic is the men’s top seed and will be targeting a record seventh Open crown. The question has been raised by several experts as to if a final set-breaker would be detrimental to the women’s tennis. The recent past has seen some crackers in the women’s division, that have gone beyond the 6-6 mark. Here’s what New York Times’s writer Ben Rothenberg had to say about the incorporation of tie-breakers.
Halep-Davis going 15-13 in the third was awesome, as was Kuznetsova-Schiavone going 16-14. This rule is crap for women's tennis.
Please, stop throwing the women under the bus because the men demand two sets of self-indulgent foreplay before their matches get anywhere. https://t.co/Hhrl2NZ3QD
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) December 4, 2018
Ten Australians, led by women’s world No.15 Ashleigh Barty, and men’s No.31 Alex de Minaur, have secured direct entry to the main singles draws. However, Nick Kyrgios will be unseeded for the home tournament.