The tiebreak in tennis is one of the most-contested situations during a set. Often the outcome of a tiebreak is trendsetting for the match. Thus, every point in a tiebreak may be defined as a “big point”, and only the best players are able to play their best tennis. However, differences in players’ performances between tiebreak points (TBP) and non-tiebreak points (NTBP) remain to be elucidated. Therefore, this study aimed to compare players’ performance at TBP and NTBP. For this, the rally length, serve and return behaviour, as well as the number of winners and forced and unforced errors for male players in the Wimbledon tournament 2016 were examined to determine possible impacts of a supposable mental stress in the tiebreak situation. A total of 28,570 points were analysed and divided into TBP (n = 1039) and NTBP (n = 27,531). It was shown that rally length increases subsequent to the first serve (p < 0.1; 3.27 to 3.70 shots) and that players produce less unforced errors at tiebreaks (p < 0.1; 23.50 to 20.60%). Further research may investigate a potential impact of these findings on winning or losing a tiebreak, eventually indicating future practice patterns that explicitly consider mental skills situations.
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