McEnroe suggests 10-Point tie-break to shorten Grand Slam matches

ATP
Wednesday, 26 June 2024 at 21:30
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John McEnroe proposes replacing the fifth set with a tie-break to speed up matches in Grand Slams. The 7-time Grand Slam champion believes that Wimbledon and the other majors should reduce the duration of matches.
The former world No. 1 is ready to start broadcasting at Wimbledon, as he will be working for the BBC during the tournament. The 3-time SW19 champion suggested eliminating the fifth set and using a 10-point tie-break to decide the final set.

McEnroe calls for tie-breaks to decide fifth sets

McEnroe’s proposed adjustment would eliminate up to 12 games in the final part of the match, meaning that once players reach the fifth set, the winner would be the first to reach 10 points with a margin of two: “I would propose a middle ground,” McEnroe said. “That is a compromise I would start with as opposed to going to the best of three sets.”
Another suggestion often proposed is changing the format in the first three rounds to best-of-three sets, with best-of-five sets starting from the round of 16. This was implemented in the first three rounds of the US Open between 1975 and 1978, but was later abandoned: “There is something that separates the men from the boys in a way when you play best-of-five sets instead of best-of-three,” McEnroe said. “That’s a big change [from the regular tour] and a big ask, so you need a combination of explosive speed and endurance, which makes tennis that much more tricky.”
“Welcome to the world of tennis,” McEnroe said. “There are times when there is uncertainty. There used to be more uncertainty when you didn’t know if you would play at all if it rained and there was no roof. This idea that playing half under the roof and half open air is a hell of a lot better. I wish I had a roof when I played, let’s put it that way.”
mcenroe 1977
John McEnroe at 1977 Wimbledon.
Wimbledon has always used the best-of-five sets format since the first tournaments in 1877. Originally, sets did not end until a player won at least six games with a margin of two. Tie-breaks were introduced in 1971 for the first four sets, maintaining the two-game margin in the fifth set.
However, in recent years efforts have been made to better address match duration. In 2010, the epic match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut ended 70-68 in the fifth set after more than 11 hours. In 2019, a 7-point tie-break was introduced when the score reached 12-12, and in 2022 it was decided that a 10-point tie-break would be used at 6-6 in the fifth set.
The problem also lies in the fact that schedules do not always start on time due to rain delays. Another issue is the start time on Centre Court, which currently begins at 1:30 PM. Although some players have requested an earlier start time, McEnroe agreed to keep it as is: “Welcome to the world of tennis,” McEnroe said. “There are times when there is uncertainty. There used to be more uncertainty when you didn’t know if you would play at all if it rained and there was no roof. This idea that playing half under the roof and half open air is a hell of a lot better. I wish I had a roof when I played, let’s put it that way.
“The BBC, for example, and the All England Club are like, ‘Hey, sometimes people like to watch it at 8 PM or 9 PM when the ratings are great.’ People have sat down after a long hard day at work and maybe want to watch some tennis, so it’s not the worst thing to play into the evening. You’re trying to find that sweet spot. It’s not always easy to get it right.”

13 years ago: the longest match in tennis history was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut ▪️ Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 ▪️ 11h05 of play ▪️ 3 days ▪️ A 8h11 5th set ▪️ 183 games won ▪️ 980 points played

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