In an effort to appease players and fans alike, Wimbledon will introduce tie-breaks when matches reach 12-12 in the final set from next year.
The All England Club decided to act after the final set of Kevin Anderson’s semi-final with John Isner this year lasted almost three hours – longer than the time it took Novak Djokovic to beat an exhausted Anderson in the final only 48 hours later.
Wimbledon said the move was made after reviewing match data from the past 20 tournaments and a consultation with players and officials. Fifteen singles matches – 14 men’s and one women’s – have gone past 12-12 in the final set at Wimbledon in that time frame.
All England Club chairman Philip Brook said: “Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set.
“While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable time frame.”
The move will apply to all events at the grand slam: qualifying, men’s, women’s, mixed, junior singles and doubles.