The 10 Best Servers of All Time
Let's take a look at the biggest and best servers that the game has to offer. Keep in mind that biggest isn't always best. Seven out of the top 10 in most aces in a match lost that match.
No. 10 Patrick Rafter
Serve and Volley. With Patrick Rafter, if you could get his big first serve back, you'd better be ready to pick up his volley.
Rafter's serve wasn't overpowering and wasn't always the most accurate. He was never a guy that put 20 aces on you in a match, but when Rafter's serve was on, it was tough to break him.
No. 9 Boris Becker
Boom Boom, the nickname for Becker's serve, showed that other players had to respect his serve.
Although he didn't have a huge serve, Boris Becker had a serve that commanded respect. For players of his era, they couldn't just come in on it and follow to net.
His serve had the power to keep players back, and so he had the advantage off the serve. Most players who could charge in after a serve couldn't with Becker’s serve.
No. 8 Mark Philippoussis
Some claim that Mark Philippoussis was a waste of talent.
He could have been a great player. But there is no denying that his serve was a weapon. With his 6'5" frame, he had a huge serve.
His placement was great, and he had a great kicking second serve. During the height of his career, Mark was known as having one of the fastest serves in the game. A personal best was 142 mph.
His best serving performance was against Andre Agassi, a personal best 46 aces.
No. 7 Greg Rusedski
Greg Rusedski was a great underachiever.
His serve was a huge weapon, and put that with the fact that he was left handed, and you had a problem.
Rusedski held the record for fastest serve at 149mph until Andy Roddick broke it. Rusedski was a staple for Great Britain in Davis Cup, but he was still an underachiever there as well.
No. 6 Richard Krajicek
Richard Krajicek showed he deserves to be on this list in 1999 when he put down a then-record 49 aces against Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the US Open.
This record stood for six years. He took his huge serve and won the match of his career, upsetting Pete Sampras on his way to a Wimbledon title.
No. 5 Ivo Karlovic
Ace, Ace, Ace.
That is the score line for this man. Ivo Karlovic has made his tennis career based on his serve.
In 2009, in a Davis Cup match against Radek Stepanek, he recorded a record 78 aces in one match.
He has the second fastest serve, recorded at 153 mph.
He holds the record for fastest second serve at 144 mph. He also is second in aces in a season with 1,318.
Only once in his career has he not had an ace in a match. Not bad, huh?
No. 4 Roger Federer
With probably the smoothest service motion in tennis, Roger Federer has to be on this list.
With a typical service speed of about 125mph, you ask why he is so high on this list—accuracy.
Roger is deadly accurate on the service line.
He showed this in the 2009 Wimbledon final, serving 50 aces on Andy Roddick to win the fifth set 16-14.
Roger's ball toss is exactly the same on each and every serve, which makes it very hard to read his serve.
This is what makes his serve so good.
No. 3 Andy Roddick
That is what Andy Roddick's serve should be called.
Example: Andy plays two bad points and is now down 15-40. Two "erasers" and we're back to deuce. This is Andy's trademark shot.
Andy holds two serving records. The first is fastest serve ever, 155mph in a Davis Cup match in 2004.
The second is fastest serve in a grand slam match at 152mph at the US Open in 2004. With his huge serve, he had a tour best 1,019 aces in 2004. Besides his speed, Andy probably has the best second serve in tennis.
No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic
Standing at 6'4", he had a huge serve.
His delivery is one of the fastest service motions ever. He is 10th place all time in aces in a match at 46. He holds four of the top five spots on the list of most aces in a season (#1-1,477 in 1996), (#3-1,169 in 1994), (#4-1,065 in 1998), and (#5-1,048 in 1997).
With a cannon left arm, he normally hit around 135mph on his serve and rarely had a match without a dozen aces. How can you argue with these stats?
No. 1 Pete Sampras
That is the reason Pete Sampras is the greatest server ever. At anytime, he could come up with an ace during a tight service game or even late in a tiebreak. His placement and consistency were the best.
Although he only led the tour in aces twice (1,011 in 1993, 974 in 1995), it shows that you don't need to get an ace for your serve to be effective.