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What Are Tennis Tiebreakers and How Do They Work? – A Complete Guide

What Are Tennis Tiebreakers and How Do They Work? – A Complete Guide

Tennis is a global sport played by thousands and followed by millions. Like every other sport, tennis also has a set of rules that the players need to follow strictly. Only the people who follow it regularly can tell the game’s rules. But still, there are some rules that slip through our minds most of the time. One such rule is the rule for tiebreakers. Tiebreakers are frequent in tennis, but new people regularly watch the game and ask questions about tiebreakers. So once and for all, we will clear all the doubts that both new and old followers have regarding tiebreakers in tennis. So keep on reading to learn everything surrounding tiebreakers.

What are tennis tiebreakers?

In a typical sense, tiebreakers are a way to break the deadlock and announce a winner. Like in a football game, penalty shootouts are known as tiebreakers. But in tennis, tiebreakers are different. A player must win six games to win a set. But a tiebreaker occurs when both players are on six games each. During a tiebreaker, the player who wins two consecutive games wins the sets. A player needs to maintain a 2-point margin. Read More: Top 10 Tennis Quotes Of All Time

What Are the Rules in a Tennis Tiebreaker?

Reaching seven points first will win the match in favor of the player who did it. But if the game is tied at 6-6, the one who leads by two points will win. It is as simple as that. But there are a few more conditions in between for the tiebreakers. When the score is six games each, the player who served last will serve first. They will serve from the right side of the court. After that, the next two serves will be from the other player. They will serve from the left side of the court.

An important rule that needs to be strictly followed is that the serve has to change hands when there is an uneven number in the sum of points. The winner must win one point from their serve and the other player’s serve. This simple thing is called a ‘mini-break’. This becomes very strenuous as every six points lead to a side change without rest. Only a sip of water and no sitting or resting is permitted.


The match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon ended with a score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6,70-68. Over here, it is clearly seen that the tiebreaker goes on until a 2-point margin is established.

Tiebreakers At Doubles Tennis

The tiebreaker rule remains the same in the doubles category as in the singles category. When both teams are at six games each, a tiebreaker happens. The first team to create a two-point lead wins. The team that served in the last game will start; after that, the next two serves will be performed by the other team. This goes on until there is a clear-cut winner. But a few years ago, tennis authorities introduced a new tiebreaker system in the doubles categories to make it more enjoyable. The system is known as a ten-point tiebreak, and except for Grand Slam tournaments, it is used everywhere.

The 10-Point Tiebreakers

The 10-point tiebreaker rules are almost the same as the regular tiebreakers. The only difference is that the team has to reach ten points and maintain a two-point gap to win. If the score line shows that both teams are on 10 points each, a tiebreaker occurs, and the team that leads by two games wins. The last serving team will serve, and then the opposite team will serve for the next couple of times until someone creates a two-point margin. Everything is identical, the only difference being that the doubles matches have become longer due to 10-Point Tiebreakers. Even the changings after six points also remain the same. Read More – Top 3 Tennis Games on Nintendo Wii

FAQS On Tennis Tiebreakers

Q: What was the longest tiebreak at a Challenger Tour?

Ans: The longest tiebreak at a Challenger Tour happened in 2013. It was a match between Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard. The former was the winner, and the match had a 70-point tiebreak (36:34) to determine the winner of the first set.

Q: What is the score for the longest tiebreak in a men’s singles ATP Tour match?

Ans: The most extended tie-breaker score in a men’s singles ATP Tour match is 20:18.

Q: What was the tiebreak score in the match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut?

Ans: The tiebreak score between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon was 70 to 68.

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