Already said what I had to say on the matter two months ago, after the announcement that Wimbledon will introduce final set tie-breaks, albeit only at 12-12, so this will just be a quick post, but couldn’t fail to mention that now a similar announcement was made by Australian Open as well, and on short notice too, the tournament taking place next month. Worse, the tie-breaks there won’t wait until 12-12, but be introduced at what would be the regular end of a set, 6-6, though they will admittedly be “match tie-breaks”, going up to ten instead of seven. And while in case of Wimbledon the change seemed to have infuriatingly been widely welcomed, in case of Australian Open it seems to have been widely condemned, yet they don’t seem to care.
So, as I was saying two months ago, these trends are why my interest in tennis keeps dropping overall, despite Simona Halep‘s results. It was, and should be, an endurance sport, yet it has become less and less so, and now Roland Garros remains the only actual major tournament as far as I’m concerned, and even that only applies to singles, since even there it’s just the singles that have no final set tie-break, plus that even so men’s doubles aren’t best of five sets and mixed doubles aren’t even best of three. And I dread the prospect of a similar decision there as well, though at the moment I still want to hope that the fact that it’s played on clay and serving is somewhat less important will go some way towards avoiding that.
True, particularly long matches take a lot out of players, but I’d much rather have them play fewer tournaments each year but be ready and willing to stay on court much longer if necessary when they do play. Besides, there are many players and the best ones being more careful in selecting which tournaments to participate in would give the others a chance to shine as well. And for said best players, those going far in the major tournaments, it could even be a matter of just taking part in the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open, one or two other more important tournaments before each of these, to prepare, plus possibly the Davis Cup or Fed Cup, and the ATP Finals or WTA Finals for the very best. That would make for a maximum of 14 tournaments played each year, but at least the major ones, if not those others played in order to prepare for those as well, shouldn’t have final set tie-breaks of any sort, men’s matches should be best of five sets for both singles and doubles and women’s matches and mixed doubles should be best of three. If anything, I’d even go for returning to having no tie-breaks at all in case of the major tournaments, or at least for that idea I mentioned before, making it so it won’t be possible to win a match in a tie-break, regardless of the number of sets.