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Grand Slam Board announces trial of new tie-break format in final set deciders

The Grand Slam Board has confirmed that final sets in grand slams will now be a contested as a race to 10 points.

The decision, which has been introduced with immediate effect, will initially be adopted on a trial basis.

It is hoped that the change will bring consistency to the issue of how to finish a match which is tied 6-6 in the deciding set.

The Australian Open is currently the only grand slam which already implements the rule.

Wimbledon, in contrast, used a first-to-seven tie-break at 12-12, while the US Open has played a first-to-seven at 6-6 since 1970. The French Open, on the other hand, didn't have a deciding tie-break.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon, the Grand Slam Board said: "The decision is based on a strong desire to create greater consistency in the rules of the game at the Grand Slams, and thus enhance the experience for the players and fans alike.
"This trial, which has been approved by the Rules of Tennis Committee governed by the ITF, will apply to all Grand Slams across qualifying, men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles, wheelchair and junior events in singles, and will commence at the 2022 edition of Roland Garros."

Calls for the rule change have been ongoing since John Isner's infamous 70-68 win over Nicolas Mahut in the final set of their first-round Wimbledon match in 2010. The marathon has gone down in history as the longest ever contest in Grand Slam history, taking over 11 hours to complete.

Final set tie-breaks were rubber-stamped for the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2019, in the wake of criticism of two lengthy 2018 semi-finals at the All England Club, including Kevin Anderson's 26-24 deciding set win over Isner.
The statement added: "The Grand Slam Board plan to review the trial during the course of a full Grand Slam year, in consultation with the WTA, ATP and ITF, before applying for any permanent rule change."

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