Once you get a grip over the intricacies of tennis, it is a real pleasure to watch. Depending on a multitude of factors, matches can get over in less than 60 minutes, or run for hours on end. And as is the case with sports and numbers, a tie between two players is very much a possibility. However, tennis is not a sport where the victory can be celebrated by both parties, hence, the tie-breakers.
According to the USTA: in a tiebreak game, the next person who was due to serve will start the [tiebreak] game, and serve one point to the deuce side of the court. The following two points will then be served by the opponent starting on the ad side. In doubles, the player on the opposing team due to serve will serve these points. Players or teams switch ends of the court every six points and to score this tiebreak game, you use, “zero”, “one”, “two”, “three”, etc. The first player or team to win seven points, by two, wins the tiebreak. This means the score can end up being very high (e.g. 15-13) or as low as 7-0 through 7-5.
The list of the top 5 longest tie-breakers in men’s singles:
#1 Benjamin Balleret vs Guillaume Couillard
In January 2013, at the $10,000 Men’s Futures tournament, Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard played the longest tie-breaker in ATP history, which lasted 36-34. Balleret won the match 7–6(36–34), 6–1.
#2 Evgeny Tyurnev vs Danilo Petrović
In January of 2016, Evgeny Tyurnev defeated Danilo Petrović at the $25,000 Men’s Futures tournament, Kazakhstan F1 in 7–6(25–23), 6–3.
#3 Gary Lugassy vs Igor Zelanay
Gary Lugassy won a 22–20 second set tiebreak against Igor Zelenay in the first round of the 2008 BH Telecom Indoors, setting the record for the longest main draw tiebreak at an ATP Challenger Tour event. The final score was 6–2, 7–6(22–20).
#4 Guillermo Olaso vs Evgeny Karlovskiy
In 2018, Guillermo Olaso won a 22-20 first set tie-breaker against Karlovskiy, in the final qualifying round of the 2018 RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas.
#5 Bjorn Borg vs Premjit Lall
In the first round of Wimbledon 1973, Bjorn Borg defeated Premjit Lall in a 20-18 tie-breaker in the last set. The final score was 6–3, 6–4, 9–8(20–18) .