“When you lose everything, you discover the value of everything”. We could thus summarize the reason for our displeasure for the uniformity of the tie-break to 10 points in the V set in the Grand Slams. “But how?” The faithful reader of Ubitennis will ask, “Since 2013 you had hurled yourself against the fact that every Major did their own thing, pompous of their prestige, and now that they are finally equalized in the final epilogue, do you still have to complain about?” Of course! We, to put it in the words of De André (always to fly low …), abort America and then look at it with sweetness. Where America, here, is paradoxically everything there is outside the US Open, the only Grand Slam it had and kept the tie-break in the 5th set. Tie-break which, however, from now on, even from the parts of Flushing Meadows, will be at 10 points and no longer at 7.
One of the first uniformists of the Slams was Rino Tommasi, for which if you get to 6 even in the deciding set whoever wins is not an injustice. Of course, dear Rino, whoever wins will not be an injustice, but whoever loses yes… A mocking ribbon, a fence shot that remains on the field and the balance tip irreversibly shifts to one of the two contenders. More than a question of justice or injustice thoughthe long tie-break will deny us epic marathons that have made the history of this sport. First of all, the famous 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7) 7-6 (3) 70-68 which ended the match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut on field 18 of Wimbledon in 2010. Match lasting three days and commemorated with a plaque that summarizes historical score and duration (let’s say legendary: it’s worth it relive the day interrupted on 59 equal to the fifth told in the chronicle of the time by Ubaldofull of goodies between fooling around with colleagues in the press room, disintegrated records and all the other historical matches that the tie-break in the fifth set would have denied us, from Fred Perry-Donald Budge at the US Open of ’36 to Nadal-Federer in Wimbledon 2008).
Since then, the commemorative plaque of that incredible match has been found in the Church Road tennis temple near Court 18. Remain unforgettable pothe historical finals like that of 2009 between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, which ended 16-14 in the fifth for the former Slam record holder (since the beginning of February the boss, at 21, resides in Manacor …). Or, to change Majors, at the Australian Open 2011 Francesca Schiavone beats Svetlana Kuznetsova after 4 hours and 44 minutes of battle, 16-14 in the third set, canceling 6 match-points. But the marathons between the two don’t end there: at Roland Garros 2015 the lioness overtakes the Russian in 3 hours and 50 minutes, for 6-7 (11) 7-5 10-8, canceling a match-point on 6-5 of the third set.
From now on we will no longer see – or rather we will see them with a different epilogue – matches like the following.
TO Wimbledon: Nadal-Federer 2008 (9-7 in the fifth), Ivanisevic-Rafter 2001 (9-7 in the fifth), Borg-McEnroe 1980 (8-6 in the fifth). In Paris 2004 Gaudio-Coria 8-6 to the fifth, 1929: Lacoste-Borotra (8-6 to the fifth), 1927: Lacoste-Tilden (11-9 to the fifth). In Australia: 1988: Wilander-Cash 8-6 to fifth, 1947 Pails-Bromwich (8-6 to fifth), 1936 Quist-Crawford (9-7 to fifth). All ‘US Open in 1958: Cooper-Anderson 8-6 in fifth, 1936 Fred Perry-Budge (10-8 in fifth). The semifinal of Davis Cup Croatia-Czech Republic won by Radek Stepanek over Ivo Karlovic 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-7 16-14, with 78 aces by the Croatian giant. We haven’t seen games like Gonzales-Pasarell for some time: 22-24 1-6 16-14 6-3 11-9, game record before the insurmountable Isner-Mahut.
To make the ITF, ATP and WTA decide for the long tie-break, however, were the psychophysical conditions of the players in the next match. Facing an opponent who has just won in three easy sets after coming out victorious from five sets in which the last one ended 21-19 (as happened to Andy Roddick, who won over Younes El Ayanoui in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 2003) is not exactly the best in terms of equality in the starting conditions of the match: the American lost the next semifinal to the underdog Rainer Schuettler, a match that in normal conditions he would have easily taken home.
Federer himself, however, after winning the 2012 London Olympic semifinal with Del Potro for 19-17 in the third set, was then shot in the final against Murray. In short, the need for a long tie-break in the fifth set serves to prevent certain games from eliminating two instead of one player, but we are sure that Doesn’t the appeal of games like the ones mentioned above outweigh the risk of penalizing the winner in the next round?
The tiebreak would have made us lose those unique games, a bit like the golden goal in football: had it been foreseen at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City at the 1970 World Cup, the unforgettable Italy-Germany 4-3 would have ended at the beginning of extra time (moreover with a 2-1 victory for the Germans), instead it was the 30 minutes full of reversals in front of us that made that game in everyone’s memories. Ultimately, have they done so well to standardize the regulations in the four Grand Slams?