Game. Set. Match. That’s the normal flow that produces a winner of a tennis tournament. But what if game after game goes alternately to each of the players—so that no one ever pulls ahead? A rules change is coming to Wimbledon in the spring. The All England Club said Friday it will introduce a final-set tiebreaker next year. When the score in that fifth and final set reaches 12 games to 12 games, a “breaker” will be played to finish off the match.
In 2010, players John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon. The match took more than 11 hours of game time and over three days. Finally, Isner won 70-68 in the final set. That’s not points. That’s games.
Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook supports the introduction of the breaker. He says the time had come for change. According to Brook, the solution is intended “for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set.”
In the tiebreaker game, the first player to get seven points and lead his or her opponent by at least two points will win the set.
(AP Photo: John Isner of the United States (left) and Nicolas Mahut of France pose next to the scoreboard following their record-setting men’s singles match at Wimbledon in 2010.)