Serving Up Speed: Unveiling the Fastest Tennis Serve Records in History

By Lin
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fastest tennis serve records

Over the years, many tennis players have attempted to break the record for the fastest tennis serve. Of course, this is much easier said than done, especially with the current record sitting at such a rapid speed.

Australian Sam Groth has one of the fastest recorded serves at 163.7 mph. He was able to pull this off in 2012 while playing in South Korea, and it still shocks people to this day.

However, the fastest-ever serve recorded by the ATP goes to American player John Isner, with his being 157.2 mph hit during the 2016 Davis Cup. Regarding the ‘official’ fastest serve, the title is John Isner’s, although many consider Sam Groth, the king of serving.

Are you wondering what other tennis players have hit super fast serves? We’ll cover them as well as the guidelines surrounding these official tallies in this article, so keep reading!

Table of Contents

Who Recorded The Fastest Tennis Serve Ever?

Although there are varying reports of “fastest” tennis serves, the official ATP record goes to American player John Isner, who hit a serve recorded at 157.2 mph during the 2016 Davis Cup. Because of questions with other recording systems, many of the fastest tennis serves have yet to be officially considered by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

Here’s Isner’s serve that got him the record:

That said, Australian player Sam Groth is said to have hit the world’s fastest serve in 2012, recorded at 163.7 mph in Basan, South Korea. The ATP does not officially consider it, but to many, the title is his.

Here’s a video of when it happened:

Who Recorded The Fastest Second Serve Ever?

Reilly Opelka holds the record for the fastest second serve at a whopping 144.8 mph. The American tennis player achieved this title during the quarterfinals of the 2021 Italian Open in Rome.

Traditionally, second serves are hit more conservatively than first serves, making this an impressive accomplishment for Opelka.

Men’s 10 Fastest Tennis Serves (ATP)

john isner tennis serving
Photo Credit: Twitter

Men’s tennis has always been filled with record-breaking players, including ten of the fastest serves recorded. All of these are per ATP guidelines, so they’re official.

  1. John Isner – 157.2 mph (253 km/h)
  2. Ivo Karlovic – 156.0 mph (251 km/h)
  3. Andy Roddick – 155.0 mph (249.4 km/h)
  4. Milos Raonic – 155.0 mph (249.4 km/h)
  5. Ryan Harrison – 152.0 mph (244.6 km/h)
  6. Feliciano Lopez – 152.0 mph (244.6 km/h)
  7. Marius Copil – 151.6 mph (244 km/h)
  8. Hubert Hurkacz – 151.0 mph (243 km/h)
  9. Taylor Dent – 149.8 mph (241.1 km/h)
  10. Juan Martin del Potro – 149.1 mph (240km/h)

Women’s 10 Fastest Tennis Serves (WTA)

Sabine Lisicki tennis serving
Photo Credit: Twitter

Moving to the women in tennis, here are the fastest-recorded serves per WTA standards.

  1. Sabine Lisicki (131.0 mph)
  2. Venus Williams (129.0 mph)
  3. Serena Williams (128.6 mph)
  4. Julia Gorges (126.1 mph)
  5. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (126.0mph)
  6. Nadiia Kichenok (125.5mph)
  7. Naomi Osaka and Lucie Hradecka (125.0mph)
  8. Anna-Lena Groenefeld (125.0mph)
  9. Ana Ivanovic (124.9 mph)
  10. Kristina Mladenovic (124.3 mph)

Interestingly, Noami Osaka and Lucie Hradecka are tied for seventh place at 125 mph serves.

Does The Fastest Serve Mean The Best Serve?

Although having the fastest tennis serve in the world is a cool thing to come home with, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the “best.” Instead, focusing on your serves’ precision and your form before, during, and following it is essential.

Generally, a successful serve in tennis is hit with authority. Yes, this may mean a faster, stronger first or even second serve, but it doesn’t have to be record-breaking to impact the game significantly. The more you practice serving, the easier it is to hit a super-fast one.

Focus on your point of contact (the ball and racket’s first connection), which sets up a great or not-so-great serve.

Does Height Help When It Comes To Serving?

According to various studies, height has impacted how fast a player can serve their ball during a game of tennis. One of the findings of this research is that taller players can reach higher, ultimately having faster, stronger serves.

With the additional arm length, you can generate more force before hitting the ball for the first time. Some of the best tennis players are taller, so there’s undoubtedly an advantage for those with taller heights.

That’s not to say that a shorter player can’t break records, but it’s more difficult without the extra foot or two.

What Is The Average Height For A Male Tennis Player?

Most male tennis players tend to be around 6.1 feet tall. 222 of the top 500 players measure between 183 cm to 188 cm (6-6.1), so it’s safe to say half are taller than 5’9.

What Is The Average Height For A Female Tennis Player?

The average height for a female tennis player lands right at 5.9 feet. Considering the average woman in the US measures 5’3, tennis players are much taller than the national average.

How to Measure Your Tennis Serve Speed

Speed Radar

The more accurate speed reading when serving is using speed radar. It costs around $100-$200 but will give you more of a proper reading versus alternative options. Try to have a friend or fellow player hold the gun steady while you’re serving, and the reading should be accurate.

Phone’s Camera

The other way to measure your serve speed is by using your phone’s camera. To do this, you have to record a video serving and count the number of frames when the ball travels from the baseline to the opposite side of the court. Learn how to measure the speed with a camera here.


How Fast Does An Amateur Tennis Player Serve?

Most amateur tennis players typically serve as fast as 70-80 mph. Of course, this can sometimes be exceeded, especially with taller players. Most professional players serve closer to 100 mph, with many exceeding 120 with their more powerful serves and returns.

Which Type Of Tennis Serve Is Fastest?

Of the types of serves someone playing tennis can try, a flat serve is your best bet at a fast, precise shot. Because a flat serve applies minimal spin to the ball, this allows the player to have more force behind it.

Generally, you want to use a flat serve to score an easy point against your opponent while starting a game. This one will take practice, but it’s one of the best options in the game.

How Can You Make Your Serve Faster?

An easy way to speed up a serve is to loosen up. Many players get tense when tossing and hitting the ball during their serve, leading to a slower, sloppier first hit. The best way to get your serve across the net quickly is to throw the ball high enough into the air, drop your shoulders, and stay relaxed until you make the connection to the ball.

If you’ve watched some of the greats during a tennis match, you’ll notice a calmness when they’re serving/beginning a game. Keep this mentality and aim for the ball to connect with the center of your racket.

It might even be helpful to exhale or grunt when you hit the ball during your serve, which can release a burst of energy and speed right as the ball and racket come in contact with each other.

Our article on grunting in tennis might be helpful: Why Do Tennis Players Grunt? – Decoding the Grunts.

In Conclusion

In this article, we uncovered who has the official fastest serve in tennis, with American player John Isner taking the crown. Although there have been other recordings of faster serves, the ATP makes the final decision.

Sam Groth is known to have made one of the fastest serves in history, although the equipment used to record it was not ATP-approved.

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Editor of All Points Tennis and a huge Roger Federer fan, I've spent countless hours studying his moves, especially his forehand and one-handed backhand. I also love writing about all the technical stuff like rackets and strings. I'm super pumped to share my insights with fellow tennis lovers here.