Unlike other sports, tennis matches don’t end when a certain time limit is reached. Grand slam matches for men are played as best of 5 sets and may sometimes take up to 5 hours or more.
Over the years, Grand Slams have tried to add tiebreaks in the fifth as a means to end long matches. Prior to tiebreaks in the fifth set, the winner had to have a 2-game advantage in the final set.
At the 2010 Wimbledon championships, John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 in a first-round match. It was the longest match in tennis history. The two players played 183 games in total and the match lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes. The match lasted more than 2 days because the play was suspended due to lack of light.
Fifth Set Tiebreak Rules At Grand Slams
There is no uniformity among grand slam tournaments when it comes to fifth set tiebreaks.
When is the fifth set tiebreak played?
At Wimbledon, a tiebreak is played 12-12. At the US Open and the Australian Open, a tiebreak is played at 6-6.
At the US Open and Wimbledon tiebreaks, the first player to reach 7 points with a difference of two or more points wins the match. At the Australian Open, the first player to get to 10 points with a difference of two or more is the winner.
French Open is the only grand slam that does not have a tiebreak. The winner has to win by 2-games in the fifth set.