Fifth Set Tiebreak Rules At Grand Slams

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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.

Tiebreak Winner

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.

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What Tennis Balls Do Grand Slam Tournaments Use?

Every Grand Slam has its “official ball partner”. Wilson balls are used at the French Open and US Open, Dunlop balls are used at the Australian Open and Slazenger balls are used at Wimbledon.

Balls Used At Grand Slam Tournaments

Australian Open – Dunlop

Australian Open currently uses Dunlop balls. Australian Open signed a 5-year deal with Dunlop in 2018 and started using Dunlop balls at the Australian Open in January 2019.

French Open – Wilson

French Open currently uses Wilson balls. In November 2019, French Open signed a 5-year partnership to use Wilson balls. Wilson balls were first used at the 2020 French Open. French Open was previously using Babolat balls.

Wimbledon – Slazenger

Wimbledon currently uses Slazenger balls. The partnership between Slazenger and Wimbledon goes back to 1902, making it one of the longest partnerships in sports.

US Open – Wilson

US Open currently uses Wilson balls. US Open has been using Wilson balls since 1978.

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