Abu Dhabi: Kevin Anderson, whose epic six-hour-and 36 minute battle with John Isner in the Wimbledon semi-final win 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 grabbed headlines earlier this year, was of the view that the Australian Open’s new first-to-10 points tiebreak rule was meant to give a little twist and had more to do with reducing the fifth set from going on and on, as it was not an ‘ideal situation’.
“Maybe, just like being a bit different whether it is 10 or seven, I don’t think it makes any difference. A normal tiebreak would have been fine, but it is an interesting take of making it first-to-10.
“Just like Wimbledon deciding to go 12-all instead of keeping it at 6-6. It is still a good step forward reducing the long five-setters,” said Anderson ahead of the Mubadala Tennis Championship where he will be looking to defend his title.
At the back of the marathon men’s semi-final round at Wimbledon this year, the event had already moved to a final set tiebreaker at 12-all for all singles matches.
With Australian Open having opted for change, French Open is the only event that still plays out of the final set and Anderson felt that the clay court event will also look for a change sooner or later.
“I’m sure French Open will change it at some point in time and it will be interesting to see how it progresses over the next few years. They’re just trying to be a bit unique in their own ways when it comes to what they’re doing in the fifth setters. I don’t think it’s going to make that big of a difference as long as it’s not endless, where the set keeps going on and on,” said the South African.
Russian Karen Khachanov, who makes his debut at this annual exhibition tournament in the capital against Dominic Thiem on Thursday, felt that the rule change has made things a little bit different.
“May be, they couldn’t negotiate and make one rule for all the tournaments. On the other side, it makes a little bit of difference between all of them so we have to try to adjust how to play.
“It is different so I don’t know if it’s easier or tougher because at the end you’re playing with an opponent. You don’t play just alone on the court and he has the same conditions and he has the same set of rules. So it’s the same for both guys, so it doesn’t matter if it’s up to seven or up to 10 or up to five, it will be the same thing,” said the world No 11.
Anderson, who will be playing South Korean ace Hyeon Chung in the opener to set-up a semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal, revealed that he was keen on retaining the title he won here beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut last year.
“That’s the goal and obviously I had a great year last year. It will a great way to start off the season as I played three very good matches. Will love to do that the same way this year. It is a great opportunity getting out to match courts and competitive atmosphere specially after taking a few weeks off in the off season,” said the world No. 6 who reached his second grand slam final this year, losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets at Wimbledon.