Fans tuning into the 2018 Wimbledon tournament have noticed just how long a tennis match can go. Like many of the other major tournaments, Wimbledon’s tiebreaker defaults to the advantage rules, which means players must win by two games. Essentially, Wimbledon’s tiebreaker is not have a tiebreaker.
On the women’s side, the third and final set can go as long as needed for a player to win by two games. On the men’s side, the fifth set can extend for an unlimited amount of time until a player wins by two games. Sporting News details the advantage rules that functions as Wimbledon’s tiebreaker, and how it differs from a traditional tiebreaker format like the U.S. Open.
Basically, the final set must be won by two games. Example: 6-4. When a final set reaches 6-6, it continues until one player wins a game that puts him or her two games ahead. That could mean 8-6, 16-14 or 70-68…Tradition [the reason for the format]. The U.S. Open alone uses the tiebreaker primarily to accommodate scheduling and television. It has matches at night, so playing until 0-dark hundred isn’t an option. The U.S. Open put its tiebreaker rule in place in 1970. Between 1971 and 1982, 11 Aussie matches were decided by fifth-set tiebreakers. Then, Aussie went back to advantage set.
Back in 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut set the record for longest Wimbledon match at 11 hours and 5 minutes. The final set lasted 138 games, which took 8 hours and 11 minutes to complete, per the Sporting News.
Source: Heavy Sports