MELBOURNE, Australia — The Australian Open in January will play a 10-point tiebreaker in deciding sets, joining Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in using tiebreakers to avoid long matches.
The tournament said Friday that the decision, reported widely a month ago but denied by Australian Open officials, came after consultation with current and former players and tennis officials. Temperatures often soar to 37 degrees Celsius (around 100 F) and beyond during the tournament.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says "we asked the players — both past and present, commentators, agents and TV analysts — whether they wanted to play an advantage final set or not, and went from there.
"We went with a 10-point tiebreak 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 tiebreak still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest. This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak."
In the men’s singles draw, the first four sets will feature a seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6, with the final set going to a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6. In women’s singles play and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the deciding set of three sets will be played with a 10-point tiebreaker if level at 6-6.
Wimbledon announced in October that it will next year have a standard first-to-seven points tiebreaker when the deciding set reaches 12-12.
The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce final-set tiebreakers, with a first-to-seven points game played at 6-6.
The French Open is now the only Grand Sam event still decided by a long deciding set by advantage.
The Australian Open begins Jan. 14.