Top 10 greatest ATP servers of all time
With a great serve, comes great responsibility. Join Tennishead as we take a look at the greatest tennis servers of all time on the ATP Tour and why no one can touch this elite list, literally.
10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 6,626 career aces (9.9 of aces per match)
The former World number five has played 669 matches during his career to reach his impressive tally of aces. The Frenchman even holds the record for the joint 15th fastest serve of all time at 147.3 miles per hour (237.0 km/h) which he hit at the Rogers Cup in 2014.
With a first serve percentage of 62% and a 77.6% success rate on first serve points, as well as having a 52.8% success rate on his second serves, it is clear why his serve is regarded as his biggest weapon.
Tsonga’s second serve is also reliable in finding the target as he averages just 2.4 double faults per match during his career.
9. Gael Monfils – 6,634 career aces (Avg. 8.28 aces per match)
A fellow Frenchman pips Tsonga to the ninth spot – the mercurial talent of Gael Monfils. He also holds the joint 21st fastest serve of all time at 146 miles per hour (235.0 km/h), which he produced back in 2007 at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic (now the Citi Open) in Washington.
Monfils, who is generally known for his highlight reels, rapid foot speed and baseline encounters, also has a reliable first serve as he has a respectable 62.4% first serve percentage.
However his second serve is weaker – as throughout his career he has only a 50% win rate on his second serve points and averages a high 3.6 double faults per match.
8. Marin Cilic – 7,542 career aces (Avg. 9.30 aces per match)
The 2014 US Champion is known for having a colossal serve which he definitely uses to his advantage. This is evident as he has a 76.8% win rate on his first serve which tees him up nicely for victory.
However, if you compare this to Tsonga’s first serve percentage of 62%, this win percentage on his first serve is limited due to his slightly lower first serve percentage which sits at only 56.7%. Also at the 2016 Davis Cup, he tied with Monfils for the 21st quickest serve in tennis history at 146 mph.
7. Kevin Anderson – 7,674 career aces (Avg. 12.9 aces per match)
Former US Open finalist Kevin Anderson has played only 595 matches to reach this remarkable number of aces putting him at number seven on the list.
Throughout his career he has had an extremely high first serve percentage which sits at 64.5% enabling him to be on the front foot for many of his service games. This is also reflected in the percentage of first serve points won which is 77.0%.
His serve is also extremely reliable as he only averages 3 double faults a match.
6. Milos Raonic – 8,136 career aces (Avg. 15.5 aces per match)
The Canadian throughout his career has made 8,136 aces in only 524 matches – the fewest matches out of anyone to appear in the top 10. He is 6th on the all time fastest serve list, where he reached 155 mph (249.4 km/h) in the SAP Open in 2012.
Interestingly, the former World number three’s serving stats distinctly differ between the hard-court and grass surfaces. Despite having over half of his career aces on the hard court surface, which is to be expected, he has a greater first serve and first serve points won percentage on grass (66% and 83% against 62% and 82% respectively).
5. Sam Querrey – 8,729 career aces (Avg. 12.7 aces per match)
The American is known for a powerful serve which has proven to be effective over his 683 match career. His first serve percentage does sit low at 59%, however when the first serve lands, success follows. He averages 79% for first serve points won over his career.
A similar pattern to Raonic can be seen within Querrey’s serving stats. He has 5,686 career aces on hard-courts but only has a first serve percentage of 58% and a 79% success rate on first serve points. However when you compare this directly to Querrey’s stats on grass there is a big difference. His first serve percentage and first serve points won percentage rise to 62% and 81% respectively.
Sam Querrey also holds the record for consecutive aces with 10 which he hit against James Blake in the quarter-final of the 2007 Indianapolis Tennis Championships.
4. Feliciano Lopez – 10,117 career aces (Avg. 10.5 aces per match)
The 2005 Wimbledon quarter-finalist takes the 4th spot having played a ridiculous 961 matched during his career.
As he turned professional in 1997, longevity definitely explains why Lopez ranks highly on our list. However over the course of his career he has remained consistent with his serve having averaged 76% of first serve points won.
3. Roger Federer – 11,478 career aces (Avg. 7.8 aces per match)
Similarly to Lopez, longevity plays it’s part on why Federer’s ace count ranks so high. Federer has played in 1,462 matches – the most of any player in our top 10 by nearly 500 matches.
Federer may not have the quickest or most powerful serve of all time but it certainly is effective. His placement, accuracy and disguise are the key to his success which is reflected in his high first serve percentage of 62%.
On multiple occasions the Grand Slam legend has wrapped up games in matches by making four aces in a row – notably in the Wimbledon final against Djokovic in 2014.
The Swiss great is almost faultless too whenever he steps up to the service line averaging only 1.9 double faults per match.
2. John Isner – 13,343 career aces (Avg. 18.5 aces per match)
In only 719 matches, the American has hit 13,343 career aces no doubt helped by making the most of his 2.08 metre (6 foot 8 inches) frame.
Isner holds the record for the most aces in a single match. He hit 112 aces in a match against Nicolas Mahut (who himself hit 103) in the first round of Wimbledon in 2010. This match was the longest ever played both in terms of time taken (11 hours and 5 minutes) and number of games (183).
His big serve is the key to his style of play, relying on a lot of quick points and serve and volleying. This is reflected in the reliability of his first serve – as his first serve percentage sits at a ridiculously high 69.1%.
1. Ivo Karlovic – 13,728 career aces (Avg. 19.8 aces per match)
Number one in the top ten servers of all time is Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic. His numbers are huge.
He has served up over a whopping 13,728 aces over his career in just 694 matches. He boasts a first serve percentage of 65.5% and the highest ever win rate on a first serve at 82.7%. Overall it means that he was won 92% of his service games throughout his 694 matches.
Even more incredible numbers just show how potent the former World number 14’s serve is. He sits fourth and first for the fastest ever first and second serves respectively, with 156.0 mph (251.0 km/h) for his first serve and 144.2 mph (232 km/h) for a second serve.
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