Australian tennis pro Sam Groth holds the record for the fastest ever serve – a 263 km/h ace, which he hit during the 2012 ATP Challenger in Busan. Since first picking up a racquet at the age of 10, Sam has powered through to ITF Pro Circuit victories, reaching his highest world ranking of 173 in 2013.
Here, he shares his best tips for an explosive serve.
1. Use a continental grip
A lot of beginner or amateur players tend to hold more of a forehand grip, restricting them to hitting a flat serve. Using a continental grip will allow you to hit slice, flat and kick serves, as well as being able to serve in all directions.
2. Develop a consistent ball toss
Try to maintain the same ball toss when serving to different areas of the court so your opponent can't tell where you’re aiming. You don't want your opponent waiting for that serve to the forehand and consistently crushing winners off it.
3. Leg drive
Whether you have stationary feet like Roger Federer or a step-up serve like Andy Murray, find something that’s comfortable for you but also allows you to drive up and into the court. A large proportion of your serve speed will come from your legs, and your leg drive is what will get your racquet dropping down your back before it launches up into the ball.
4. Keep your arms loose
Everyone wants to tense up and almost muscle the ball over the net when they serve. I’ve found that I serve my best when my arms are relaxed and I'm not forcing the serve. Loose arms and a loose wrist will lead to a more powerful and consistent serve.
5. Remember to practise your second serve
A lot of people will practise their first serve but forget all about their second serve. Unless you can somehow land 100 per cent of your first serves into the court, you’re going to have to hit your second serve on a big point in a match. You need to know in those moments that you have the confidence to step up to the line and that you’re going to make it.
Try to develop and maintain the same routine each time you step up to the line to serve. This will help you with your overall consistency, plus it gets you in the right frame of mind as you get ready to serve.
Most of all, good luck and keep practising!
Sam Groth is a professional Australian tennis player best known for hitting the fastest serve on record. He is currently ranked at 173, his highest ranking to date.