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.

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 also the only shot over which a player has full control. Some players serve so powerfully that they get a tremendous advantage and take complete control of the game early on.

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 unofficial tennis serve ever recorded was 163.7 mph (263.4 kph) delivered by Australian player Samuel Groth on May 09 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 Groth 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 rules, 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 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 136.7 mph (220 km/h) 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 148 mph (238.2 km/h), delivered by Taylor Dent in 2010. 

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

The third-fastest serve was delivered by Milos Raonic in 2017, clocking at 145 mph (233.3 km/h). Raonic served another fastest serve during the Championships at Wimbledon 2018, which measured at 147 miles/h (236 km/h).

Fastest Recorded Tennis Serves - Players

A good serve is a valuable tool that can help you gain complete control of the game. 

Across all eras, it has proven 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 of the 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 below.

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, clocking 121 mph (195.7 km/h). 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 153 mph (246 km/h). He was playing at Palm Springs in the final match against Raúl Ramírez. 

Bill Tilden: Tilden holds the record for the fastest ever official serve in tennis history, clocking the ball at 163.6 mph (263 km/h). He delivered it in 1931.

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

Mike Sangster: British player Mike Sangster delivered an excellent serve in 1963, which clocked a speed of 154 mph (247 km/h).

Scott Carnahan: American player Scott Carnahan delivered tennis history’s fastest ‘scientifically timed’ serve. He delivered a cannonball at 137 mph (220 km/h) during an event in Los Angeles in 1976.

Udayachand Shetty: Shetty delivered a winning serve clocking at 120 mph (193 km/h). He delivered this blistering serve using a wooden racket while playing at the Gilbey Gins fast serve contest. 

This contest was held on September 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. 

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 163.4 mph (263 km/h) 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 is ATP’s official record holder of fastest ever serve at 157.2 mph (253 km/h). 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 no stranger to breaking records, and has 12,266 career aces.  

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 144.2 mph (232 km/h). 

In 2011, facing Germany at a Davis Cup doubles match, Karlović delivered a thunderous serve at 156 mph (251 km/h). After achieving this gigantic feat, Karlović became the first player ever to break the 155 mph (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 tall in first place, with a career-total of 13,633 aces so far.

Feliciano López: López is well-known for his strong serve. The Spaniard delivered a blistering serve in his first-round match, which clocked at 152 mph (244.6 km/h) 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 159 mph (249.4 km/h), 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 with the all-time highest service games winning 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 American male to scale the rankings’ summit. Roddick is a gifted server and consistently delivers missiles clocking over 130 mph. He gave an incredible 159 mph (249.4km/h) ace during USA’s 2004 Davis Cup against Austria. It was the fastest men’s serve ever recorded at that time.

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 some much-needed relief during tense situations. 

The best example of a tennis player using the serve to turn things around 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, players who ace it can whizz the ball past the opponent before they are able to react, a feat akin to green lighting. Here are some of the top players who have aced the serve speed and placement to devastate their opponents. 

At the 2015 US Open, Serena Williams hit a magnificent 126 mph (202 km/h) serve which was around 1 mph faster than the fastest men’s serve record of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. 

Williams was on fire that year, and in addition to beating Djokovic’s record, she also exceeded the speed of serves by Fabio Fognini (124 mph), Lleyton Hewitt (120 mph), Kei Nishikori (123 mph), and David Ferrer (117 mph). 

Wimbledon 2008 will go down in tennis history as a tournament which culminated in two incredibly tense final matches. 

Serena Williams was defeated by her sister Venus Williams in a nerve-wracking final women’s match, while Roger Federer was beaten by Rafael Nadal in what was regarded by many as the best men’s finals ever played in Wimbledon.

Roger Federer holds the record for the fastest serve in men’s finals with a speed of 129 mph (207 km/h) while the fastest serve speed record in women’s final is held by Venus Williams, who also blasted the ball at 129 mph.

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 during the 2018 Cincinnati Masters 1000 final and recorded his fastest serve at 122 mph (196 km/h), while Federer topped out at a staggering 127 mph (204 km/h). 

Reportedly, men and women tennis players hit well on their forehand, and the backhand winners’ percentage is in a similar ballpark: 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’s 156 mph (251 km/h) serve. 

An interesting aspect that this particular record highlights is that Roddick is 6ft 2 inches tall, whereas Karlović stands at 6ft 11 inches. 

In fact, Karlović is one of the three tallest tennis players in the world, the other two being Reilly Opelka (6ft 11 inches) and John Isner (6ft 10 inches). 

They are closely followed by Kevin Anderson (6ft 8 inches) and Sam Querrey (6ft 6 inches). But what’s so interesting about these players’ heights? 

There’s a substantial nine inches’ difference in height between Roddick and Karlović, but both have been world record holders for fastest serves. 

This undermines the theory that height plays a pivotal role in faster serving. If height was a crucial factor in speed serve, it would likely be more widely reported in official lists of fastest recorded tennis serves.

Still, it is widely believed that serve speed is determined by the player’s height. For instance, John Isner usually serves at between 140-150 mph (115-241 km/h) , and his highest serve record is 157.2 mph (252 km/h). 

He is a tall player standing at over 6ft 10 inches, and his height is undoubtedly one of his most significant advantages. Isner not only generates a high-speed serve, but is also able to create an angle for the ball to bounce high off the ground.

However, Isner’s height is not the only factor that makes him an outstanding tennis player. The primary influences on serve speed are the player’s ability, skill, experience level, strength etc. Height is a secondary factor to his game, and more or less a bonus.

Height helps tall players to 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.  

However, while height may be an advantage, it will not guarantee a good serve against a shorter opponent if a player’s technique is incorrect. 

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.Many tall players don’t hold any serve speed records. Quite possibly, their height may have actually acted as a hindrance in their ability to serve fast. 

Another aspect of the height vs. serve debate is how much taller a tennis player should be than average in order to set the fastest serve record. 

As per the linear model, a player must be around 2.17 meters (7ft 1 inch) 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 6ft 5 inches and women over 6ft appeared in the middle of the rankings. 

Four years later, they were ranked far better as pros: male players were approximately 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 6ft or taller winning 15% of the Grand Slams. The most wins were secured by Venus Williams (6ft 1 inch), Lindsay Davenport (6ft 2 inches), and Maria Sharapova (6ft 2 inches). 

However, they made up just 6.6% of the Top 100 during the same period. Garbiñe Muguruza (6ft) is the latest to join this club of women champions after winning the 2016 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 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 are a combination of stature, coaching, technique, mechanics and experience. 

Add extensive practice sessions to this concoction, and you have the perfect formula for a fast serve. As discussed above, we cannot overlook the correlation between a player’s height and power while serving: 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 6ft 7 inches can hit the ball with a more downward trajectory compared to those shorter than them. 

Modern technological advancements have also helped in enhancing tennis players’ serve power. The shift from wooden to modern rackets has undoubtedly made a massive difference, and the evolution of racket material and string technology has also played a prominent role in enabling players to serve fast.

Court conditions are often a 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 and this translates into faster speeds.

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 156 mph (252km/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 reported serve of the year so far. 

Which Woman Has the Fastest Serve in Tennis?

Sabine Lisicki broke Venus Williams’ fastest serve record at the Bank of the West Classic held in Stanford, USA. 

The World No. 29 Lisicki delivered a thunderbolt at 131 mph (210 km/h), which is approximately 2 mph faster than Williams’ serve 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. She didn’t win the match but was happy about breaking the world record for fastest serve, tweeting 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 tennis world. Usually, her serves average around 105 mph (170km/h), which is approximately 7.4 mph (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 speed of her power serve sets her apart from her opponents. 

Players typically use their whole body to increase the velocity behind their serve. They bend their knees, lower their shoulders, drop or rotate the hip, or twist at the trunk to maximize power. 

But all this won’t help the player if they don’t hit the ball precisely and at the right moment, when the arm is fully stretched, and the body is in mid-swing. This technique is called fluidity. 

Serena is a master of fluidity. This video explains how Serena has dominated the world of tennis for more than a decade with her serving technique:

How Fast is Rafael Nadal's Serve?

The 6ft 1 inch tall Spaniard isn’t known for delivering fast serves. In fact, his serves can be mediocre but he has been known to deliver cannonballs. 

Nadal delivered one such serve at the 2010 US Open. Rafa’s serve at the tournament clocked a magnificent 135 mph (217km/h).

Between 2015 and 2017 there was a noticeable change in his serve when, following a period of focus on improving his serving speed, Nadal was regularly serving at 130 mph (209 km/h). This, coupled with an impressive game, made him a significant threat for his opponents. 

What is Roger Federer's Fastest Serve?

Roger Federer’s fastest recorded serve speed is an incredible 143 mph (230km/h). His average serve speed ranges between 128.5-130 mph (207-209 km/h). 

In an interview after playing against Federer at the Hopman Cup, Serena Williams said:

“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?

In tennis, an ace refers to a legal serve which the receiver doesn’t touch but which 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 maximum force and takes risks with ball placement. 

For instance, the player can hit the farther corners of the service box.

Ivo Karlović holds the record for the 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 IvaniÅ¡ević holds the record of the most aces in a single season with 1,477 aces in 1996, while Josh Isner holds the highest number of aces in a single match. He achieved this record in Wimbledon 2010 when he hit 113 aces in a game against Nicolas Mahut. 

Interestingly, Mahut hit around 103 aces in this match: the longest ever match in tennis history (11 hrs 5 mins) with the highest 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, the third-highest number in his career.

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. 

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. 

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. 

Isner stands at 6ft 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 is a Croatian player who stands at 6ft 10 inches. He is widely accepted to have the most potent first serve in the history of tennis and 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 156 mph (251 km/h), breaking the fastest serve record. 

 

However, it’s not just Karlović’s pace that creates trouble for his opponents: his height and the angle at which he bounces the ball are equally effective. 

The only thing lacking in Karlović’s repertoire is his second serve, which is often relatively weak in comparison to his incredible first serves. On average, his serves clock in at 140 mph (225 km/h) or more, and are often unreturnable. 

 

Karlović has the most career aces in tennis history, with this record currently standing 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