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Wimbledon 2018: Isner thinks 12-all should be fifth-set limit after another slog

Kevin Anderson and John Isner played a six and a half hour marathon in Wimbledon semi-final

London, July 14: John Isner believes a limit of 12-all should be implemented across all grand slams after his Wimbledon semi-final against Kevin Anderson on Friday (July 13) lasted six hours and 36 minutes.

Ninth seed Isner set the world record for the longest tennis match in history when he took 11 hours and five minutes across three days to beat Nicolas Mahut after 183 games at the All England Club in 2010.

That is the only Wimbledon clash to have lasted longer than his 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 loss to Anderson, who reached his second major final in under a year courtesy of a colossal effort on Centre Court.

The US Open is the only major that includes a fifth-set tie-breaker and, in the aftermath of their slog, both players felt a similar rule should be introduced to the other grand slams.

"I personally think a sensible option would be 12-all. If one person can't finish the other off before 12-all, then do a tie-breaker there," said Isner.

"I think it's long overdue. I mean, I'm a big part of that, a big part of this discussion, of course."

Anderson and Isner's mammoth tussle meant Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could not begin their semi-final until after 20:00 local time, decreasing their chances of a rest day ahead of Sunday's showpiece.

"Rafa and Djokovic, I don't even know, can they finish tonight? Isn't there some curfew? I don't know. They're getting on the court at 20:15, whatever it is. We're out there playing for seven hours. You know, it's tough," continued Isner.

"I'm a proponent of changing that rule. I think it needs to be done."

Despite coming out on top, Anderson echoed those sentiments and suggested the duration of the match may have taken away from the spectacle for the fans – one of whom shouted, "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" in the 27th game of the decider.

"I think if you ask the players, when you get stuck in these positions, playing such long matches, it's very tiring. It's very tough, playing six and a half hours," he said.

"I personally don't see the added value or benefit compared to, say, at the US Open where we're playing tie-breaks in the fifth set. It's no different to decades ago when there were no tie-breaks at all. Matches were even longer then. I think progress was made to introduce a tie-breaker.

"I personally don't see the reason not to include it now at least at all the slams.

"It's also tough being out there, listening to some of the crowd. Hopefully they appreciated the battle that we faced out there against each other, but if you ask most of them, I'm sure they would have preferred to see a fifth-set tie-breaker, too.

"I don't see the other opposing view of not incorporating a fifth-set tie-breaker at all the slams."

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Saturday, July 14, 2018, 3:00 [IST]
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