John Isner backs 'sensible' Wimbledon tiebreak rule

John Isner congratulates Kevin Anderson on his victory in their marathon Wimbledon semifinal, July 2018. TPN/Getty Images

John Isner has welcomed the decision to introduce final set tiebreaks at Wimbledon, and even says the rule could be named after him.

The American has been the marathon man more than once at the Championships, winning the longest match in tennis history against Nicholas Mahut in 2010 and losing a sapping semifinal to Kevin Anderson in July.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced Friday that matches across the men's and women's tournaments would conclude with a tiebreak at 12-12 in the final set from next year.

"I have said all along 12-all is good," Isner told BBC Radio 5 Live. "That is sensible -- you're getting people who like the advantage and people who like tiebreaks."

"It is bucking tradition but a lot of people believe that is not a bad thing."

Isner's 70-68 final set victory over Mahut lasted 11 hours and five minutes, spanning three days of the tournament and making both players cult heroes at SW19.

But his semifinal defeat to Kevin Anderson in 2018, when the South African finally prevailed 26-24 in the fifth set after six hours and 36 minutes, led to calls across the game for a more practical approach at Grand Slams.

An exhausted Anderson went on to lose the final to Novak Djokovic prompting tournament organisers to bring in the new ruling, which world No. 10 Isner even joked should be named after him.

"The next match that gets to that, they should just say we will now play the Isner Rule," he said.

"I don't think they are going to do that, but I think I've been a big driving force for it."

Wimbledon has followed the U.S. Open which has employed tiebreaks at 6-6 in deciding sets, but by allowing a set to reach 12-12 organisers say they are maintaining tradition and allowing dramatic deciding sets to evolve.

The Australian and French Opens do not have final set tiebreaks.

"It may be that Wimbledon acting like this could drive them to do it as well," Isner said.

"There is drama enough in a tiebreaker. You could argue there is more drama in that."