Aus Open revolution is ‘crap for women’
AUSTRALIAN Open organisers are reportedly planning to follow in Wimbledon's footsteps but not before adding a twist of their own as they look to shorten final set marathons by introducing a "super tiebreak".
In October the All England Club revealed epic five-setters would be a thing of the past by implementing a rule that when the score reached 12-12 in the fifth set, a tiebreak would ensue.
Stuart Fraser of The Times reports the Australian Open has obtained permission to take a leaf out of Wimbledon's book, but isn't planning to copy the English tournament in every way. According to the report, tennis powerbrokers Down Under are keen on a final set tiebreak once the game score reaches 6-6.
However, instead of the usual first-to-seven formula, The Times reports a first-to-10 method is being preferred, where a player must win by two points.
There's been a recent shift towards curtailing the length of five-set matches at grand slams as players question the fairness of being kept out on court for hours. John Isner famously beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 in a 2010 Wimbledon match that lasted more than 11 hours while this year South Africa's Kevin Anderson called for tennis bosses to introduce a cut-off limit after he took six-and-a-half hours to overcome Isner, winning 26-24 in the fifth.
Although it's not yet decided when the Australian Open's plan will come to fruition, it is reportedly being considered to come into play as early as 2019 when the year's first major kicks off in January.
However, players will be consulted before any revolution, with the possibility of a trial being conducted before the final version is adopted a year later.
That would mean all four grand slams have completely different rules when it comes to final set tiebreaks. The French Open remains steadfast in having no deciding tiebreaks, the US Open has tiebreaks to seven at 6-6, Wimbledon has tiebreaks to seven at 12-12 and now the Australian Open may have tiebreaks to 10 at 6-6.
But the proposed move has been met with resistance from some tennis commentators, who have accused the move of taking away the drama from three set women's matches that have drawn out final sets.
New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg is upset the proposed rule change would "throw women under the bus". Rothenberg has long advocated for men's matches to be reduced to three sets and said shortening the final set - often the best part of a match - is misguided.
Tennis writer Jose Morgado also criticised the proposal, saying there is no reason to bring in final set tiebreaks for women's matches because the three set format already works perfectly.