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Grand Slams to unify final-set tiebreak rules with 10-point tiebreak at 6-6
The new format will be trialled over a year of Grand Slams, beginning at this year’s French Open
Starting at this year’s Roland-Garros, all four Grand Slams will play a final-set tiebreak at 6-6, the first time the four biggest events in tennis have had the same format for deciding sets since the tiebreak was introduced in the 1970s.
The move represents the first time Roland-Garros has ever used a final-set tiebreak, while it means the US Open and Wimbledon move into line with the Australian Open, which introduced a 10-point tiebreak in deciding sets in 2019.
The new format – which will be trialled over a full year of Grand Slams running to the 2023 Australian Open – will be used in all men’s and women’s singles events, men’s and women’s doubles, qualifying men’s and women’s doubles, wheelchair singles and junior singles, the four slams said in a statement first posted on the Wimbledon website on Wednesday.
Mauresmo: Change designed to make things simpler for fans
New tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said the change was made to make things simpler for fans to understand.
“The central idea of the four Grand Slams was to be aligned regarding the rule of the last sets, for the sake of understanding. That was the central idea,” she told a press conference at Roland-Garros on Wednesday.
“There were other options, like a normal tiebreak. The idea is to preserve the players, and interest the spectators.”
“I can understand that it is not unanimous, but we could no longer afford, the four of us Grand Slams, to operate differently.”
In mixed doubles, junior doubles and wheelchair doubles at the US Open, French Open and Australian Open, a 10-point tiebreak will be played instead of a final set, though Wimbledon will continue to play three full sets, with a 10-point tiebreak at 6-6.
The US Open was the first of the slams to use a final-set tiebreak, in 1970.
Night sessions to be “an event”; mixed doubles back
As last year, night sessions will begin at Roland-Garros, beginning with a musical event at 8.45pm, with the first ball due to be struck at 9pm.
Court Suzanne Lenglen, which is usually taken out of commission after the quarter-finals, will be used right through to the end of the tournament, while mixed doubles will return to Roland-Garros after two years away because of the pandemic.
Roland-Garros will also offer assistance to any players suffering mental health issues, with a team of specialists ready to help anyone who needs psychological help.