Isner calls for tie-break deciders after marathon Wimbledon exit
John Isner called for Wimbledon final sets to be decided by a tie-break after the American lost 6-7 (3/7), 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 19-17 in a marathon third round clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday.
French 12th seed Tsonga, a semi-finalist in 2011 and 2012, saved a match point in the 32nd game of the final set.
The last set alone lasted more than two hours.
Isner, the 18th seed, famously won the longest tennis match ever played when he beat another Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut. 70-68 in the final set at Wimbledon in the first round in 2010.
The five-setter, stretched over three days, lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
After his latest marathon, Isner believes it is time for Wimbledon to follow in the footsteps of the US Open, which is the only one of the four Grand Slams to use a tie-break to decide the fifth set.
“I mean, I would, but I have said that a bunch,” Isner said.
Asked if he thought the tennis authorities will ever sanction the change, Isner added: “I don’t know. No clue. I can’t do anything about it.”
Isner had led Tsonga by two sets to one when play was halted at sunset on Saturday.
The American ended the four-hour, 25-minute tie with 38 aces, 101 winners and 53 unforced errors.
Tsonga, who goes on to face fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet for a place in the quarter-finals, hit 21 aces and 88 winners but made just 20 unforced errors.
Tsonga believes final set tie-breaks would be helpful to avoid pushing players’ bodies beyond their limits, making it impossible for them to recover in time for the next match.
“Of course, for us it’s good to finish it, because the winner will play another match and continue. Sometime it’s better for the body,” Tsonga said.
“At the same time, it’s good for the crowd and for the people around, for the story. For me it’s 50/50.
“I don’t know if I’m for it or against it. Probably what is difficult for us is to play the day after.”
With rain causing havoc with the Wimbledon schedule, Tsonga had to play on the first middle Sunday of action at the All England Club for 12 years.
He was frustrated by the chaotic planning of Wimbledon chiefs, which has left him having to play three days in a row to keep his title bid alive.
“It’s a little bit sad because a few days ago I won my first match, and I wait two days to play my second match. They didn’t schedule me on the second day,” he said.
“Now I have to play three days in a row. Yeah, that’s a little bit unfair, but I’m prepared for it.”