An Aussie underdog player, ranked 340th in the world, has set a brand new (but unofficially recognised) ATP record last week by smashing his way to a 263kph serve at a challenger event held in South Korea.
Samuel Groth – perhaps best known for being the husband of former women’s top 50 player Jarmila Groth – broke the previous record of 251kph set by Ivo Karlovic at a Davis Cup match in 2011 by an incredible 5.3 percent. The serve, which even Federer has described as “an incredible number” was delivered during a second-round match against the Belarusian Uladzimir Ignatik. Not content with blowing away the previous record, the Aussie also hit serves of 253kph and 255kph in the same match, earning him three of the fastest serves in history within a 60-minute time frame.
In classic Aussie fashion, Groth described how he “…just threw it up and absolutely smashed it down the T and it popped up on the gun at 263 and I was a bit like, ‘Whoa, whoa’ ”. And although the serve wasn’t officially recognised as a new record by the ATP due to the variance in radar guns, a spokesperson for the organisation has confirmed that “the event was using approved equipment, and that other data gathered appeared within a normal range”.
Not being officially recognised has meant that this new record has attracted its fair share of disbelief, one Yahoo blogger has even commented that “three record-setting serves from a radar gun at a challenger event in South Korea is a dish best served fishy”, but it seems that record-breaking serves aren’t all that uncommon in professional-level men’s tennis. Speaking about the serve in a press conference after securing his place in the Madrid Open final, Federer explained how he expects the record to be broken again – “It’s not endless but it’s definitely only going to go up as the years go by….I am sure that eventually there’ll be a guy who will break that record too”.
Despite his incredible serve speeds Groth lost the match 6-4 6-3, but earning a new world record and the admiration of a top-seeded player is sure to provide some consolation.