The introduction of a final set tie-break for all Wimbledon Championship events today means the longest match in the sport will never be repeated.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s (AELTC) new rule, which will apply to the Championships next summer, means a tie-break will be played when the score reaches 12-12 in the final set.
The match winner will be the first player to win seven points with an advantage of two or more points.
AELTC Chairman Philip Brook said: “Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set.”
In making the decision, a comprehensive review of match data from the last 20 Championships was carried out and players and officials were consulted.
Scheduling complexities and spectator experience were further factors that helped officials reach this new verdict.
The new rule, which will soon be processed by the International Tennis Federation, will apply to all events at the Championships across Qualifying, Gentlemen’s, Ladies’, Mixed and Junior singles and doubles.
Mr Brook added: “While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable timeframe.
“As a next step, we look forward to sharing further details with our Grand Slam, ITF, WTA and ATP colleagues when we meet in Singapore.”
At present there will be no change to the current format of the Wheelchair and Quad Wheelchair events, which are the best of three tie-break sets.
The longest ever recorded tennis match of all time was back in 2010 when Nicolas Mahut of France and John Isner of the USA faced off in a first-round men’s singles match.
The outcome was finally decided after 183 games with 11 hours and five minutes of play spread over three days.