Fastest Tennis Serve Ever Recorded

How fast? – It’s faster than the fastest baseball, cricket ball, ice hockey or football shots ever recorded.

It compares to a 747 aircraft on takeoff! Below you’ll see who has the fastest tennis serve in history AND how to increase your serve speed.

Plus see how you can get tennis coaching from an international tennis champion.

fastest tennis serve ever Samuel Groth

Adapted: Tatiana from Moscow, Russia / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

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What is the Fastest Tennis Serve Ever Recorded?

No other shot is as important in the game of Tennis as the serve. It not only sets the tone for the rest of the point but is the only shot on which a player has full control over. Some players serve so powerfully that they get a tremendous advantage and complete control of the game early on.

The fastest unofficial Tennis serve ever recorded was 163.7 mph (263.4 kph) delivered by the Australian player Samuel Groth on May 9, 2012. Groth was playing against Belarus’s Uladzimir Ignatik in Busan, South Korea. 

The serve came in the second-round match between the two players, and Ignatik lost 4-6, 3-6. Watch him acing the ball at blazing speed below

However, this serve wasn’t recognized by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) because Groth delivered it at a Challenger event. As per the ATP, during challenger events, serve-speed guns do not adhere to the tournaments’ standards. 

The official fastest serve that the ATP recognizes is a blistering 157.2 mph (253 km/h) speed serve delivered by John Isner against Bernard Tomic. Isner delivered this bomb in the third set during the Davis Cup in 2016. Isner outclassed his opponent in all serve mechanics, including technology, technique, and height. Check out his outstanding serve below: 

What is the Fastest Female Tennis Serve Ever Recorded?

The serve’s importance in Tennis is widely documented. Without a solid serve, a player would struggle to make a career at the elite level because a competent returner will always punish them. That’s why players work so hard on acing their serves. 

The fastest ever female tennis serve officially recognized by the ATP was delivered by Spain’s Georgina Garcia Pérez in 2018. Pérez blasted the speed radar with her thunderbolt 220 km/h (136.7 mph) serve at the Hungarian Ladies Open. 

This great Spanish player has won one doubles title on the WTA Challenger Circuit, and one doubles title on the WTA Tour along with 11 singles and 14 doubles titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit. She acquired the best singles ranking of World No. 124 on November 5, 2018. 

What is the Fastest Serve Ever Recorded at Wimbledon?

At Wimbledon, the fastest ever serve was recorded at 238.2 km/h (148 mph). Taylor Dent delivered it in 2010. 

Andy Roddick has the Wimbledon’s second-fastest serve record of 235 km/h (146 mph), which he delivered in 2004. 

The third-fastest serve was delivered by Milos Raonic in 2017, clocking at 233.3 km/h (145 mph). Raonic served another fastest serve during the Championships at Wimbledon 2018, which clocked at 147 miles/h.

Fastest Recorded Tennis Serves - Players

A good serve is a valuable tool to gain complete control of the game. Across all eras, it has proven to be useful in setting the tone for a smooth serve-and-volley attack. In modern times, a powerful and precise serve can easily set up a forehand putaway. Some players mentioned on this list of fastest recorded tennis serves have single-handedly relied on their powerful serves throughout their fruitful careers. They should be given credit for repeatedly executing a complex skill. Check out the fastest recorded tennis serves of all time.

Ellsworth Vines: One of the earliest players to ever record the fastest serve in tennis was Ellsworth Vines. Vines delivered the thunderbolt during the 1932 Wimbledon finals. The serve clocked at 121 mph. However, at the time, speed guns or radars weren’t used, so this speed is unverified. 

Roscoe Tanner: In 1978, Tanner delivered an astounding serve that clocked at 153 mph. He was playing at Palm Springs in the final match against Raúl Ramírez. 

Bill Tilden: Tilden holds the record of the fastest ever official serve in tennis history, clocking the ball at 163.6mph. He delivered it in 1931.

Lester Stoefen: This American player is credited with delivering a 131mph (211 km/h) serve in the early 1930s. 

Mike Sangster: British player Mike Sangster delivered an excellent serve in 1963, which clocked at a speed of 154 mph.

Scott Carnahan: American player Scott Carnahan delivered tennis history’s fastest ‘scientifically timed’ serve. He delivered a cannonball at 137mph during an event in Los Angeles in 1976.

Udayachand Shetty: Shetty delivered a winning serve clocking at 120mph. He delivered this blistering serve using a wooden racket while playing at the Gilbey Gins fast serve contest. This contest was held on July 24, 1976, in Chicago. Shetty’s amazing serve helped him qualify for the West Side Tennis Club finals held in Forest Hills Queens Colin Dibley, Australia. He won the event with his knockout serve of 130mph.

Sam Groth: Groth’s career-best and tennis history’s fastest ever serve was recorded at an ATP Challenger event held in Busan, South Korea. Groth delivered a jaw-dropping serve clocking at 263 km/h (163.4 mph) in 2012. The serve speed was measured with an ATP-approved device. Unfortunately, the ATP doesn’t recognize service speed records at Challenger tour events because of the lack of uniformity and often unavailability of radar guns at these events. Nevertheless, Groth still holds the record of the fastest serve in tennis in a professional event.

John Isner: Isner was lucky enough to deliver the fastest serve at the right event. Isner is ATP’s official record holder of fastest ever serve at 253 km/h (157.2 mph). He delivered this bullet at the 2016 Davis Cup in a tie against Australia. The No.1 American player and former World No. 8 is definitely no stranger to serving records and is quickly reaching the all-time ace record of Ivo Karlović. Currently, Isner has 12,266 career aces. Isner is famous for the epic clash against Nicolas Mahut during the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. He delivered an unbelievable figure of 113 aces in a single match. 

Ivo Karlović: Karlović’s second serve during the 2007 Legg Mason Tennis Classic held in Washington, is the fastest ever recorded second serve in Tennis, clocking at 232 km/h (144.2 mph). In 2011, facing Germany at a Davis Cup doubles match, Karlović delivered a thunderous serve at 251 km/h (156 mph). After achieving this gigantic feat, Karlović became the first player ever to break the 250km/h barrier officially. The 6′ 11″ tall Croatian is also one of the tallest ATP professionals in tennis history. He shares this title with Reilly Opelka. Moreover, in the all-time aces chart, Karlović stands first with a career-total of 13,633 aces so far.

Feliciano López: López is well-known for his strong serve. The Spaniard delivered a blasting serve in his first-round match, which clocked at 244.6 (152 mph) while playing at the 2014 Aegon Queen’s Club Championships. He is regarded as an ATP Tour veteran for featuring in around 445 ATP tournaments, an all-time record. He also featured in 73 Grand Slams and is second in the all-time highest tally of contests. Roger Federer holds the record of featuring in the highest number of Grand Slam tournaments with 79 events. 

Milos Raonic: Raonic is the only Canadian player to ever feature in the ATP top 10 rankings. He recorded tennis history’s fastest serves during the 2012 SAP Open, where his opponent was Ryan Harrison. Raonic delivered a monstrous serve in the semi-finals, which clocked at 249.4 km/h (159 mph), matching the highest speed notched up by Andy Roddick. The Wimbledon 2016 runner-up’s game is based on a fast and powerful serve backed by his solid baseline groundstrokes. Raonic ranks third on the list of players having the all-time highest service games winning percentage of 91%. 

Andy Roddick: Roddick emerged as the mainstay for American men’s tennis post the Sampras-Agassi era. He reached the top slot in the ATP rankings soon after winning the 2003 US Open. Roddick is the last male from American to scale the rankings’ summit. Roddick is a gifted server and consistently delivers missiles clocking over 130mph. He gave an incredible 249.4km/h (159mph) ace during USA’s 2004 Davis Cup against Austria. It was the fastest men’s serve ever recorded back then.

Serve Speed

Serve speed is undoubtedly an essential aspect of any game of tennis. A good serve means half the job is done. The ace is a crucial part of a match, as it can give the player the much-needed relief during tense situations. The best example of how to use the serve to turn things around in tennis is Roger Federer. However, it should be noted that he is more into placement than high speed. With a quick-serve, the player can get the ball into the service box, which is challenging. But, whoever can ace it can whizz the ball past the opponent before they can even react. It is akin to green lighting. Here are some of the top players who could ace the serve speed and placement to devastate their opponents. 

At the 2015 Open, Williams hit a magnificent 126 mph serve, which was around 1mph faster than the men’s fastest ever serve record of Novak Djokovic. Williams was on fire that year as she served faster than many of the male players at the Open. For instance, she did faster than Fabio Fognini (124 m.p.h.), Lleyton Hewitt (120 m.p.h.), Kei Nishikori (123 m.p.h.), and David Ferrer (117 m.p.h.). 

Wimbledon 2008 will go down in Tennis history as a tournament offering the tensest finals ever. Serena Williams was defeated by her sister Venus Williams in a nerve-wracking final during the 2008 Wimbledon finals from the women’s side. On the other hand, Roger Federer was beaten by Rafael Nadal in what many regarded as the best men’s finals ever played in Wimbledon.

Roger Federer holds the record of the fastest serve in men’s finals with a speed of 129 m.p.h while the fastest serve speed record in women’s final is held by Venus Williams, who blasted the ball at 129 m.p.h.

The Serbian player Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, during the 2018 Cincinnati Masters 1000 final and recorded his fastest serve at 122 m.p.h., while Federer topped out at a staggering 127 m.p.h. 

Reportedly, men and women tennis players hit well on their forehand, and the backhand winners’ percentage is in a similar ballpark, that is, 30.2% for male players and 35.7% for female players. 

Does the Fastest Serve Depend on Height?

Andy Roddick’s world record of fastest serve ever was beaten by Ivo Karlović by serving at 156mph. An interesting aspect that this particular record highlights is that Roddick is 6feet 2inches tall, whereas Karlović is 6 feet 11 inches tall. 

In fact, Karlović is one of the three tallest tennis players in the world, the other two being the 6 feet 11 inches tall Reilly Opelka and the 6 feet 10 inches tall John Isner. However, it doesn’t mean that they are the only tallest people in the game as there are 6 feet 8 inches tall Kevin Anderson and thee 6 feet 6 inches tall Sam Querrey. But, what’s so interesting in this trivia? 

It’s the difference in the two players’ height, both being world record holders for fastest serves. So, this fact negates the entire theory that height plays a pivotal role in faster serving. If height was so important a factor, then why doesn’t Wikipedia include players’ height in its list of fastest recorded Tennis serves?

Still, it is a widely believed notion that serve speed depends on the player’s height. For instance, John Isner usually serves at an average range of 140 to 150mph, and his highest serve record is 157.2 mph. He is a tall player standing at over 6foot 10inches, and height is undoubtedly one of his most significant advantages. Despite not being the tallest player in Tennis, size has helped him a lot in his game. Isner not only generates more serve speeds but creates a reasonable enough angle for the ball to bounce high off the ground.

This doesn’t mean that Isner is one of the greatest tennis players only because of his height. The primary factor that can influence the serve speed is the player’s ability, such as the skill, experience level, strength, etc. Height is a secondary factor, and more or less a bonus. 

By no means does height impacts a player’s ability to serve better against a player with shorter height if the technique is incorrect. So, you see, it’s a combination of both things usually. Many tall players do not hold any records of faster serving, as yet. Quite possibly, their height acted as a hindrance in their ability to serve fast.

Another thing about the height vs. serve debate is how taller a tennis player should be to set the fastest serve record. As per the linear model, a player must be around 2.17 meters (e.g., 7 feet 1inch) taller than the average tennis players to deliver faster serve speed. Now that’s a bit too much to ask for. 

Taller young players may make their way through the top ranks faster than their shorter peers. For instance, in the top-100 juniors rankings between 2000 to 2009, men over 6 foot-5 and women 6-foot over appeared in the middle of the rankings. Four years later, they were ranked far better as pros; male players were 127 spots higher than shorter players of the same age, while female players were 113 places higher approximately. 

Between 1985 to 2016, the tallest female players won most titles, with players 6-foot or taller winning 15% of the Grand Slams. Most wins were secured by Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova. However, they made up just 6.6% of the top-100 during the same period. Garbiñe Muguruza is the latest to join the 6-foot tall women champions after winning the French Open.

It isn’t easy to determine precisely how much a player can benefit from his or her height. A quick look at the top 100 pros reflects that size does matter. The average height of top-100 male players is around once inch taller today than the median height in 1990. Similarly, the average female height in the top-100 pros is about 1.5 inches taller. Hence, it seems likely that size does give a competitive advantage. 

Why is it Nearly Impossible to Hit a 160 mph tennis serve?

Fast serves is a combination of stature, coaching, technique, mechanics, and experience. Add extensive practicing sessions to this concoction, and you have the perfect formula for a fast serve. We cannot overlook the correlation between a player’s height and power while serving; therefore, it isn’t a coincidence that almost all the top servers are also the tallest players. 

Still, the serve’s trajectory remains extremely important. Players who are over 6feet 7inches can hit the ball with a downward trajectory compared to those shorter than them. Modern technological advancements have also helped in enhancing serve power for tennis players. The shift from wooden to modern rackets has undoubtedly made a massive difference in determining serve power. Furthermore, the evolution of racket material and string technology collectively played a prominent role in enabling players to serve fast.

Then there are court conditions, which serve as the mitigating factor. Faster serving is more likely to occur on a hard court and in hotter temperatures because there is lesser resistance to air density, which translates into faster speeds.

However, the heart of the game is the symmetry. Taller players definitely get an edge over their opponents regarding serving, but that’s just one part of the game. Taller players do have an advantage. Height helps them serve at a sharper angle due to which they have a better error margin to clear the top of the net while still managing to bounce the ball inside or on the service line. 

The flip side is that height could be a disadvantage for players as well, especially men. Imagine a tall emerging star challenging legendary players like Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic. Would they be able to defeat them solely because of their height? It doesn’t seem too likely. That’s where technique and skills come into play.

Who has the Fastest Serve in 2020

Nick Kyrgios reportedly delivered one of the fastest serves of the year at the Australian Open. Kyrgios was playing against Karen Khachanov when he served a thunderbolt clocking at 252 km/h during the third round. However, this is not an officially verified speed since there was an issue with the speed gun. Despite that, Kyrgios has delivered the fastest serve of the year so far. 

Which Woman Has the Fastest Serve in Tennis?

Sabine Lisicki broke Venus Williams’s fastest serve record at the Bank of the West Classic held in Stanford, USA. The World No. 29 Lisicki delivered a thunderbolt at 131mph, which is approximately 2 mph faster than Williams,’ which she achieved during the 2007 US Open. Lisicki was defeated in the first round but made an outstanding comeback after shocking her opponent Ana Ivanovic with an unreturnable thunderbolt at 5-5 in the first set. Though she couldn’t win the match but was happy about breaking the world record for fastest serve. This is what she tweeted right after the game:

“Well at least I broke the world record for fastest serve.” 

How Fast is Serena Williams Serve?

Serena Williams’ power serve is one of the fastest in the world of Tennis. Usually, her serves average around 170km/h, which is approx. 12 km/h faster than an average professional female tennis player. 

She is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes of all time with 23 Grand Slam wins and countless trophies. However, the timing of her power serve is something that sets her apart from her opponents. 

Players typically use their whole body to increase the velocity behind the serve. They bend their knees, lower their shoulders, drop or rotate the hip, or twist at the trunk to maximize power. But, all this wouldn’t matter or help the player if they don’t hit the ball precisely and at the right moment, which is when your arm is fully stretched, and the body is in mid-swing. This technique is called fluidity. 

Serena is a master of fluidity. In fact, she is referred to as the most fluid serves in Tennis. This video explains how Serene has dominated the world of Tennis for more than a decade with her serving technique

How Fast is Rafael Nadal Serve?

The 6feet 1inch tall Spaniard isn’t known for delivering fast serves. Sometimes his serves are mediocre, averaging around 110km/h, and sometimes he delivers cannonballs like the one at the 2010 US Open. 

Rafa’s serve at the tournament clocked at a magnificent 217 km/h (135 mph). Nadal has been working on his serve pace, which is why between 2015 and 2017 there was a noticeable change in his serve. He was regularly serving at 130mph at the time, and with an even more impressive game, Nadal indeed became a more significant threat for his opponents. 

What is Federer's Fastest Serve?

Roger Federer’s fastest recorded serve speed is an incredible 143mph (230km/h). His average serve speed ranges between 207 to 209km/h or 128.5 to 130 mph. Serena Williams terms Roger Federer’s serve as an awesome weapon and a killer. In an interview after playing against Federer at the Hopman Cup, Serena Williams said that:

“I think his serve is super underestimated… he has a killer serve, you can’t read it, and there’s a reason why he’s the greatest as you can’t be that great and not have such an awesome weapon like that serve.”

Who has Served the Most Aces in Tennis History?

Ivo Karlović holds the record of most career aces with 13,619. Karlović also has the greatest number of aces in a best-of-three-set match with 45 aces, which he achieved in 2015 at Halle. During Wimbledon the same year, Karlović became the only player in tennis history to get a minimum of 40 aces in three matches consecutively.

Goran Ivanišević holds the record of the most aces in a single season with 1,477 aces in 1996. And in terms of highest aces in a single match, this record goes to John Isner. He achieved this record in Wimbledon 2010 when he hit 113 aces in a game against Nicolas Mahut. 

Interestingly, Mahut hit around 103 aces. And another notable fact about this match is that it was the longest ever played match in tennis history in terms of time (11 hrs, 5 mins) and the number of games played (183).

Checkout how Isner hit 113 aces against Mahut:

The record for most aces in a Grand Slam final was achieved by Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final when he hit 50 aces, his third-highest number in his career.

In tennis, an ace refers to a legal serve, which the receiver doesn’t touch but gives the server a point. In professional tennis, aces are usually recorded on a player’s first serve, where the server strikes the ball with max force and takes risks with ball placement. For instance, the player can hit the farther corners of the service box.

Who Has the Best Tennis Serve Ever?

The title of best all-around serve in the history of tennis is generally attributed to two players- John Isner and Ivo Karlović. The Florida native Isner is generally seen to have the best second serve, whereas the Croat Karlović is widely seen to have the better first serve. 

John Isner:

Isner’s second delivery kick serve is more potent than most first serves as these regularly explode off the court and over the opponent’s head. Just like Sampras, John Isner has a habit of hitting two first serves. His serve becomes all the more lethal with its consistency. 

The most astonishing thing about Isner’s serve is the percentage of his first serve. Isner is 6 foot, 11 inches tall, and height definitely gives him a competitive advantage by widening the service box. However, to consistently hit at such speed is an exceptional feat. John Isner holds pretty much all serving records under the sun. Who can forget the epic 11-hour game between him and Nicholas Mahut during Wimbledon 2010 when he served 84 times consecutively and hit 113 aces. 

Ivo Karlović

The 6 foot, 10 inch tall Croatian player has the most potent first serve in the history of tennis. He is the player for whom the phrase ‘serving out of a tree’ was coined. Karlović holds the record for the fastest serve ever, which he achieved at the 2016 Davis Cup. During an epic doubles match, Karlović’s first serve clocked at 156 mph, breaking the fastest serve record. 

However, it’s not just Karlović’s pace that creates hurdles for his opponents; his height and the angle at which he bounces the ball are equally effective. The only thing lacking in Karlović’s serving is the second serve, which is relatively weak. Maybe we are comparing the second serve to the magnanimous first serve, and that’s why it doesn’t appear up-to-the-mark for us. On average, his serves clock in at 140+ mph and are often unreturnable. 

Nevertheless, Karlović has incredible power and placement when it comes to the first serve, and he uses his height for serving more effectively. Karlović has the most career aces in tennis history, which currently stands at 13,619. He has the fastest recorded serve, and the highest percentage of service games wins and first-serve points. With eight ATP titles, a Davis Cup, and playing quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Karlović is undoubtedly a great player with a phenomenal serve.