'The serve is the most important aspect of tennis.'
That's a sentence we've often heard from experts and commentators alike. And it is not just a mere cliché.
When you serve well, that is nearly half the job done. The ace is a very crucial part in any match and can act as a get out of jail card in tense situations. Roger Federer is the best example of that. But he is more about placement than high speed.
When a player has a very quick serve, it's very challenging to get the ball into the service box. But when they do, the ball whizzes past the opposition player before they even can react, kind of like a green lightning.
Here, we look at the top 10 fastest Tennis serves recognized by ATP:
10. Greg Rusedski, 1998; surface: outdoor hard
Greg Rusedski played for Canada until 1995 and then moved to Great Britain. He was quick to overshadow the British-born players, and soon became the British No. 1 - in 1997.
In the '98 edition of the Indian Wells Masters (Newsweek Champions Cup), Rusedski recorded the then fastest serve ever seen during the semifinals. He served at a whopping 238.8 km/h or 149 mph, a record which stood for 6 years.
9. Taylor Dent, 2010; surface: clay (French Open)
Taylor Dent is the only player in our Top 10 who recorded his speed on Clay. In a career plagued by injuries, he reached a highest ranking of No. 21.
Clay is probably the toughest surface to serve fast on. But in Round 1 of the French Open 2010, the American clocked a 240 km/h (149.1 mph) serve that startled everyone.
This is the fastest serve ever recorded in the tournament. He hung his boots later that year, and what a record to go out with!
8. Juan Martin del Potro, 2017; surface: indoor hard
It is no surprise that the gentle giant Juan Martin del Potro finds a place in the countdown. He is the best Argentinian player of his time, with a US Open title to boast.
Del Potro was playing the final of the 2017 Stockholm Open when he delivered a killer 149.1 mph serve. The speed of 240 km/h that he recorded is the most recent one in the list of fastest serves.
Like Federer tweeted recently, he is indeed Del Thortro!
7. Hubert Hurkacz, 2016; surface: indoor hard
Hubert Hurkacz is an up-and-coming player from Poland who climbed 151 spots through the 2018 season to finish the year as World No. 87. He hit his fastest serve ever in the 2016 Davis Cup.
Although his team lost against Argentina in that first round contest, Hurkacz gave them something to cheer about. The young Polish player let the ball rip on serve and when he looked up, the speed gun read 243 km/h or 151 mph.
6. Marius Copil, 2016; surface: indoor hard
Marius Copil is now known for toppling two top-10 players at the Swiss Indoors 2018. He finished 2018 as the 57th ranked player due to that extraordinary performance. The 28-year-old is just realizing his potential now, but he already had a record two years ago.
In the 2016 European Open Copil recorded one of the fastest serves ever. During the quarterfinal, the Romanian caught the ball perfectly on the racquet while serving to record a speed of 244 km/h or 151.6 mph.
5. Feliciano López, 2014; surface: outdoor grass
Feliciano López is one of the most experienced players on tour. Having turned pro in 1997, he managed to reach a career high ranking of 12 in 2015.
One of his highs came in the Aegon Championships of 2014 when he served one of the fastest ever serves. In the first round match the Spaniard smacked the ball to serve at the speed of 244.6 km/h or 152 mph.
4. Andy Roddick, 2004; surface: indoor hard
Andy Roddick was the best American tennis player of his time and was ranked World No. 1 at the end of 2003. A guy who was known for belting the ball, he always used his serve as his main strength.
In the 2004 Davis Cup semi-final against Belarus, Roddick broke Rusedski's record for the world's fastest serve. He sent the ball flying at a blistering speed of 249.4 km/h or 159 mph. The record wouldn't be touched until 2011.
3. Milos Raonic, 2012; surface: indoor hard
Milos Raonic showed everybody the full range of his abilities when he beat Federer to win the Brisbane International in 2014. And he repeated the feat in 2016, in the Wimbledon semifinals!
Raonic is the first Canadian player to achieve a top 10 ranking. He is also one of the biggest servers the game has ever seen.
In the 2012 SAP Open semifinals he clobbered the ball at 249.4 km/h or 159 mph to tie with Andy Roddick for the second fastest serve at the time.
2. Ivo Karlovic, 2011; surface: indoor hard
Ivo Karlovic is one of the tallest players on the tour. A great server in his prime, he has the record for the most career aces with nearly 13,000 of them.
In Croatia's first round encounter of the 2011 Davis Cup, Karlovic broke Roddick's fastest serve record. He shot out an absolute missile of a serve, with the speed gun capturing it as 251 km/h or 156 mph.
With that, Karlovic became the first player to break the 250 km/h barrier.
1. John Isner, 2016; surface: portable grass
We all know how good a serve John Isner possesses, especially since his victory over Mahut in the longest professional tennis match. He has had a career high ranking of No. 8, and is currently placed at 10th.
Although Isner is first in this list of fastest serves, he is just behind Karlovic in the aces tally, standing at 10,937. The American let out a thunderbolt of a serve in the 2016 Davis Cup tie against Australia, recording the fastest serve ever at 253 km/h! (157.2 mph)Published 29 Nov 2018, 14:43 IST