Long matches can cause problems for tournaments. For example, the starting times of subsequent matches can be substantially delayed causing inconvenience to players, spectators, officials and television scheduling. Long matches can even be seen as unfair in the tournament setting when the winner of a very long match, who may have negative after-effects from such a match, plays the winner of an average or shorter length match in the next round. Long matches can also lead to injuries to the participating players. One factor that can lead to long matches is the use of the advantage set as the fifth set, as in the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. Other factors are long rallies and a greater than average number of points per game. These tend to occur more frequently on the slower court surfaces such as at the French Open. This paper considers two long matches played in Grand Slam tennis, and shows that the likelihood of long matches can be substantially reduced by using the tiebreak game in the fifth set. It also shows that long matches can be reduced even more effectively by using a new type of game, the 50-40 game, throughout the match. The no-ad game has been used in ATP and ATP Challenger doubles matches since the beginning of 2006. However, the 50-40 game is more effective than the no-ad game in several ways, including in reducing the number of points played in a match.
Medicine and Science in Tennis,
Vol. 11, no. 2 (2006), p. 10-11