To begin, beginning in 2020, the new tie-break rules will apply at 12-12 in the last set of a Wimbledon tournament. The winner is the first player (or team) to reach seven points with a two-point or greater advantage. Wimbledon final set tie-breaks apply to all events (qualifying, men's, women's, mixed, and junior singles and doubles, for example).
The old rule - which has applied since 1890 when it was first used in the Wimbledon final - required the players to play an additional match if they are still tied after four sets have been played. This means that there have been 13 occasions when a match had to be finished by a fifteenth game. All but one of these matches were won in straight sets. The exception was the 1935 Men's Singles Final between Rod Laver and John McEnroe. They needed five sets to decide who was to become the first man to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles. Laver won 4-6, 7-10, 9-7, 10-8, and 6-4 to claim his second consecutive title.
There have also been several other occasions when a match went into a fifth set during the course of a tournament. These matches are not considered official results because they did not involve the same two opponents who meet in the final.
This year's Wimbledon will also feature a tie-break in the final set. However, instead of 6-6, the tie-break will be played at 12-12 (12 games total). It will also be a first-to-seven-point tie-break. The longest ever played match 70-68 was the final set score. The longest ever played on grass, 77-75, was not enough to determine a winner until today when Novak Djokovic won 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, 10-8.
The first player to win four sets will be the champion. If the fifth set is needed, then the same player will be declared the champion if they win it. If not, then the last remaining player will be the champion. For example, if we have a three-way tie after the fourth set has been completed, then the championship will go to the player who has won most matches during the tournament (3-0 or 1-3).
There is no rule that states how a tie-break must be played. The players can choose any method they like. In practice, however, both players usually agree what method they want to use as there is a limit of five minutes per game and they do not want to spend all day playing tennis! This year, both players agreed that they wanted to use the sudden death rule.
At 6 all in the final set (fifth set for men, third set for women) at the US Open, a tiebreak is played. Since 2019, if the score in the final set reaches 12 all, a tiebreak is played. The winner of the tiebreak will be the champion of this round.
In other words, there is no short cut at the US Open. If you want to win the title, you have to win every single point during these final rounds.
The best example of this happening at a real tennis tournament was in 1978 when John McEnroe and Fred Stolle came from 0-5 down in the fifth set to win their quarterfinal match 8-6. But even then, it was not enough to advance them since both they and their opponents were still able to compete in another round given the existence of the best-of-three format at that time.
Since the introduction of the best-of-five format in 1979, this has become a common situation near the end of long matches. It usually happens when one player is ahead by two sets to none. Usually, this player will go on to win in five or six games. However, if he or she is unable to finish the job off in one game, a tiebreak will be played instead.
The final version. First to 7 points, 12-12 tiebreak US Open: First set to seven points, tiebreak at 6-6. Wimbledon: First set to five games all won by one player, second set also finished 5-5. Olympic Games: First two sets played as best of three, then final set to 15 games if necessary.
In other words, if you are playing in a final and there is no clear winner after four or five hours of play, then the referee will call time and announce that the match is finished. The players will change sides of the court for safety reasons and can have a water break if they need to. But once the match recommences, it continues until one player reaches seven matches or 1500 points.
The only other possible conclusion to a tied match is if one player achieves a score of 6-0 (or 1-6 if you're talking about a men's singles match) in the first round of a tournament. In this case, the opponent can request a re-match any time before the start of the next round. If the player who was defeated in the first match refuses, then the match will not go ahead.
It may come as a surprise but ties are common in tennis.
Wimbledon is still playing a best-of-three match, with a tie-break in the final set at 12-12. (the advantage set was played before 2019). Similarly, in 2006, the ATP Tour implemented a match tiebreak system for doubles competitions. If the score reaches 6-6, then a tiebreak will be played using the same procedures as for singles matches.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event that continues to use the first-to-five-sets format. The other Grand Slam events use either all or nothing of a best-of-seven series, depending on the year. At the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, the women's and men's finals are now a best-of-five series. This change occurred between 2004 and 2009 at these tournaments.
At the Queen's Club Championships from 1877 to 1889 and at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) from 1890 to 1910, the best-of-nine series final was used instead. From 1911 to 1939, the best-of-11 matches were played at Wimbledon. Since 1940, the number of sets has remained at five except for the 1956 tournament when it was reduced to four because of rain delays.
In 2001, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) introduced an alternative way of deciding the champion.