Tie-breaks will be introduced in the final set of the Australian Open for the first time in its’s history in 2019. This has come after organizers had decided to move away from the existing practice of an advantage in the final sets.
If the match reaches 6-6 in the final set, the winner will be the first player to reach 10 points. Organizers made the decision following the “most extensive consultation in the tournament’s history”. Wimbledon announced in October it would use final-set tie-breaks next year. That change came after the final set of Kevin Anderson’s semi-final with John Isner this year lasted almost three hours.
Afterwards South African Anderson, who eventually won the set 26-24, called for a rethink of the format.
“We believe this is the best possible outcome for both the players and the fans around the world,” said Australian Open’s tournament director Craig Tiley.
Current players, ex-players, commentators, agents and TV analysts were all consulted.
Tiley went on to say- “We went with a 10-point tie-break at six-games-all in the final set to ensure the fans still get a special finale to these often epic contests, with the longer tie-break still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest.
“This longer tie-break also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tie-break.”
The new rule will apply to qualifying, men’s and women’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles, junior singles and doubles, wheelchair singles and doubles and quads.The first four sets for men and two sets for women will have a normal tie-break, with players winning by two clear points.
The US Open was the first grand slam to introduce final-set tie-breaks, with a first-to-seven-points game played at 6-6.
Wimbledon’s is first to seven points at 12-12, while the French Open is the only slam to have a long deciding set.