EPIC Wimbledon matches will be a relic of the past after the introduction of a final set tiebreak for the first time.
At the 2010 Championships, American John Isner famously beat Frenchman Nicola Mahut 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68 in a match that lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes spread over the course of three days, The Sun reports.
It remains the longest professional tennis match in history.
However, as of next year, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) will finally implement a fifth set tiebreak for all its Championship events.
The tiebreak will be played when the score reaches 12-12 in the final set. This draws the tournament in line with the US Open which also uses a tiebreak in the final set.
The AELTC say the decision was taken following consultation with players and officials and following a thorough review of match data from the past 20 Championships.
It will apply to all games played at SW19, including qualifying, men’s and women’s singles matches, and junior games.
Commentators and traditionalists were divided over the decision on Friday night, with some lamenting the loss of the pure drama that comes with deep five-set thrillers.
AELTC Chairman Philip Brook said: “In reaching this decision, the AELTC Committee sought the feedback of both players and officials, analysed two decades of match data, and considered other factors including scheduling complexities and spectator experience.
“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 timeframe.
“As a next step, we look forward to sharing further details with our Grand Slam, ITF, WTA and ATP colleagues when we meet in Singapore.”
Wimbledon’s five set rules were brought into question during the 2018 Championships when South African Kevin Anderson defeated Isner in a six hour, 36 minute epic 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24 — the second longest match in grand slam history. He went on to lose the final to Novak Djokovic.
— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk