Battle within a battle: the greatest tiebreakers
Let’s harken back to some memorable doordie tiebreakers that made history and brought pointbypoint agony and ecstasy, depending on whom you rooted for.
In 1970, Jimmy Van Alen, a New England aristocrat with revolutionary ideas, created the game’s first major scoring innovation, the tiebreaker. This has made an epochal impact on tennis. No longer would wornout fans have to sit through marathon sets and matches that exhausted players. Henceforth, tiebreakers would shorten matches and provide compact, thrilling climaxes.
The “sudden death” best fiveofninepoints tiebreaker made its Grand Slam debut at the 1970 US Open, and tennis was never the same again. While spectators, tournament schedulemakers, and television executives loved it, many players, at least initially, didn’t.
During the 1970s, the best sevenof12points tiebreaker was adopted, and players quickly accepted this muchfairer version.
The US Open, however, was the only major tournament to implement the tiebreaker for the deciding set. The other three Slams continue to revert to traditional scoring in the fifth set of men’s matches.
Wimbledon and the Australian Open are now reportedly considering introducing fifthset tiebreakers to reduce marathon matches, while the French Open has no plans to abandon the traditional format.
At the 2010 Wimbledon, John Isner outlasted Nicolas Mahut in an insanely long 706■ fifth set. This year Kevin Anderson overcame an exhausted, staggering Isner 2624 in the fifth set at Wimbledon, prompting former champion John Mcenroe to say, “Maybe, just maybe, this will be the match that gets the rule changed.”
Let’s harken back to some memorable doordie tiebreakers that made history and