It’s A Tiebreak, Nothing But A Tiebreak


I tend to get wound up in the minutiae of sports sometimes, finding the rules and the mundane issues a tad more interesting than most do. The designated hitter rule in Major League Baseball that the American League has, but yet the National League doesn’t have (yet) is one of those such issues.

The other crops up this time of year when Wimbledon is played.  The US Open has a rule that if the final set of a match is at 6-6, they play a tiebreaker as would be the case in all of the other sets. However, the other three major tournaments don’t do this, going back to the historical concept that to win a match in a deciding set, one of the players has to break serve.

Five years ago, Nicolas Mahut and John Isner had a statistical oddity of a fifth set in an early round of the Wimbledon tournament, with Isner winning 70-68 in the fifth. It was the longest set in professional tennis history, with nothing really coming close to a 138 game set even when all sets didn’t have tiebreakers.

But just like how gravity in Major League Baseball is gravitating to both leagues one day using the designated hitter, I think players and TV will put the pressure on the other three tournaments to have tiebreakers in the final sets. It’s quicker for television, and easier for the players.


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