A serve is arguably a tennis player's greatest weapon and a fundamental element in the arsenal of any elite competitor. The best serves on the tour blend sheer power with razor-sharp precision, creating a formidable advantage.

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Consider Novak Djokovic, who has spent years refining his serve to achieve pinpoint accuracy, or Serena Williams, renowned as the greatest server in the history of women's tennis. While these serves are technically masterful, possessing one of the fastest serves allows players to dominate, taking the racquet out of their opponent's hand and simplifying the game.

In 2024, the race for the fastest serve is heating up. Young American Ben Shelton is knocking on the door of the men's record, bringing fresh excitement to the court. While on the women's side, Elena Rybakina, Naomi Osaka, and Liudmila Samsonova have smashed their way into the top ten fastest serves, showcasing incredible power and precision.

RadioTimes.com delves into the details of these powerful servers, highlighting the biggest and fastest serves ever recorded in both the men's and women's games.

How fast is an average tennis serve?

The standard speeds for professional players are around 120mph (190-200 km/h) for the men, and 105mph (170-180 km/h) for the women.

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Those numbers alone, on average across every serve, are enough to put us into a dizzying spin, wondering how any serve is ever returned.

What is the fastest tennis serve ever recorded?

The quickest serve ever was reportedly hit by giant Australian Sam Groth in Busan, South Korea, in 2012 - with a serve clocking in at a mesmerising 163.7 mph (263.4 km/h).

However, this fact is contested. Groth’s serve came during a Challenger event – the step below the ATP Tour – meaning it was tracked using different equipment to Grand Slam games.

Instead, former Wimbledon semi-finalist John Isner’s 157.2 mph (253 km/h) serve in 2016 is the official fastest.

For more Wimbledon features, check out: Wimbledon FAQs, facts and figures | How does Wimbledon Hawk-Eye work?

What is the fastest women's tennis serve ever?

Top of the serving tree for the women is relatively unknown Spanish player Georgina García Pérez, who slammed down a 136.7 mph (220 km/h) rocket in Hungary in 2018.

The politics of what is and isn’t recognised come into play again here as former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki holds the official title for her 131 mph (210.8 km/h) effort in 2014.

To add context, undeniable GOAT Serena Williams’s fastest serve of her career was 128.3 mph (206.4 km/h).

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