John McEnroe calls for shorter formats in Grand Slams
John McEnroe and Chris Evert both in agreement that best-of-five-set matches at Grand Slams should be shortened to a championship tie-break (played to 10 points); "We want this sport to grow, for God's sake," said the legendary McEnroe
Last Updated: 05/02/21 6:08am
Seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe says marathon best-of-five-set matches have had their day and shorter formats should be introduced to all majors.
Men's singles matches in the four majors are still the first to three sets, although tie-breaks have now been introduced to shorten fifth sets at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, along with the US Open which made the move 50 years ago.
American tennis legend McEnroe believes that with so much choice for television viewers these days, matches lasting five hours or more could turn fans off the sport.
He believes a championship tie-break (played to 10 points) should replace a fifth set.
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"I was always looking for that solution in the middle, which is best-of-five, but say a 10-point tie-breaker at the end of the fourth set," McEnroe said.
"That would be my compromise. I wouldn't make it two-out-of-three now at the majors. I would still have it different.
"But we want this sport to grow, for God's sake. We shoot ourselves in the foot all the time. I don't understand it. We have this incredible sport, so we should try to make it as accessible, so that they want to tune in.
"That would be a no-brainer personally. I mean, I've been saying that for 30 years."
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The longest match ever also famously took place at Wimbledon in 2010 with John Isner beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 11 hours and five minutes over three days with the final set going to 70-68.
McEnroe's compatriot Chris Evert also believes a tie-break to 10 points would be a fair way to settle matches tied at two sets apiece in the Grand Slams.
"I go along the junior circuit, that's all they do, the ITFs. There's still enough points in a 10-point tie-break so that you can play your way into the tie-break," she said.
"It's not like a seven-point tie-break where every point is like you're shaking in your boots."