Some of the best Wimbledon tournaments have been decided by tiebreakers. With that in mind, here’s how the rules work.
A blade of grass or a ruling by the line judge, sometimes tennis matches can be decided by the slimmest of margins. This is especially true in Grand Slam tournaments. Wimbledon, specifically, has played host to some of the more memorable five-set matches in tennis history.
A tiebreaker is only necessary if a fifth set is needed. In that fifth set, players have a chance to win by two games, but should that end at a 6-6 draw, then a super tiebreaker is required.
What are the Wimbledon tiebreaker rules?
The super tiebreaker rules are simple, and remain consistent with the other grand slam tournaments. The first player to reach 10 points and win by two wins the match. It’s relatively simple, but given the players alternate who is on serve, it’s not always easy to reach a scenario when one player can win by two.
In the past, two players would continue playing in the final set until one player could win by two games. That, unsurprisingly, took a very long time. The purpose of the super tiebreaker is to theoretically shorten the length of a decisive fifth set.
What is the longest match in Wimbledon history?
The longest match in Wimbledon history took place in 2010 between American John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. That match lasted over 11 hours, and had to be resumed the next day on two occasions as darkness fell upon the tournament. Yes, Isner’s eventual victory took three days to accomplish. Ironically enough, the longest match at Wimbledon was also among the longest matches in tennis history. The second-longest match in Wimbledon history also involved Isner, and took over six hours of on-court time. At this point, if you watch Isner play tennis, you could be in for a marathon.