Does Wim­ble­don need 5th-set tiebreaker?

Is­ner, An­der­son agree tie-breaker should be done like U.S. Open

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - HOWARD FEN­DRICH

LON­DON — John Is­ner al­ready had won the long­est match in Wim­ble­don — and ten­nis — his­tory. And now he’s lost the sec­ond-long­est one ever played at the All Eng­land Club.

So there’s not much bet­ter an au­thor­ity to weigh in on whether it’s time for fifth-set tiebreak­ers at all Grand Slam tour­na­ments. Ac­tu­ally, both Is­ner and Kevin An­der­son, the man who won their Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal 26-24 in the fi­nal set af­ter more than 6 1/2 hours Fri­day, agree a switch is nec­es­sary.

“I’m a pro­po­nent of chang­ing that rule, for sure,” Is­ner said. “I think it needs to be done.”

The 33-year-old Amer­i­can is best known, of course, for beat­ing Ni­co­las Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of an 11-hour, 5-minute match that was con­tested over three days in Wim­ble­don’s first round in 2010.

This one seems rather tidy by com­par­i­son: An­der­son won 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24. Still, Is­ner did jok­ingly ask chair um­pire Mar­ija Ci­cak at one point dur­ing the last set whether they could play a tiebreaker.

That’s how the U.S. Open set­tles things at 6-all in the fifth set of a men’s sin­gles match — or at 6-all in the third set for women — and has since 1970.

But the other three Grand

Slam tour­na­ments all play on un­til one player wins by two games.

“It’s way be­yond a nor­mal ten­nis match or tac­tics. I mean, it’s just who’s go­ing to out­last each other,” said An­der­son, a 32-year-old from South Africa who is seek­ing his first ma­jor tro­phy.

“It’s pretty tough in the for­mat that we have right now, es­pe­cially at Slams. I mean, it’s not easy in that set­ting at the end.”

He and Is­ner sug­gested one pos­si­ble com­pro­mise: a tiebreaker at 12-all.

“A sen­si­ble op­tion,” Is­ner called it.

An­der­son noted that some mem­bers of the Cen­tre Court crowd were ready for his match to end, so that the day’s sec­ond semi­fi­nal, be­tween Rafael Nadal and No­vak Djokovic, could be­gin.

One spec­ta­tor called out, “Come on, guys! We want to see Rafa!”

“If you ask most of them, I’m sure they would have pre­ferred to see a fifth-set tiebreaker, too. They’ve paid to see two matches, and they came pretty close to only see­ing one match,” An­der­son said.

“I don’t see the other op­pos­ing view of not in­cor­po­rat­ing a fifth­set tiebreaker at all the Slams.”

Now he’s go­ing to have to use Satur­day to try to rest and re­cover so he can give it his best shot in Sun­day’s fi­nal.

Is­ner had noth­ing left to give af­ter his 70-68 record-set­ter eight years ago, and lost his next match.

Of course, Is­ner would love to have to deal with such prob­lems now.

He also would love it if this were never again an is­sue.

“I think it’s long over­due,” Is­ner said.

“I mean, I’m a big part of that, a big part of this dis­cus­sion, of course.”


Kevin An­der­son of South Africa, right, meets John Is­ner of the US on the court af­ter de­feat­ing him in their men's sin­gles semi­fi­nal match at the Wim­ble­don Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships, in Lon­don, on Fri­day.

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