So far this year, Wimbledon has given us plenty, starting with the time two legendary icons of the sport couldn't even escape the second round.

What it hasn't given us is a challenger to the record for the fastest serve ever at Wimbledon. That mark remains the 148 mph (238 km/h) serve by Taylor Phillip Dent (USA) at the 2010 competition.

How does that stack up against not only the fastest tennis serves on all courts, but against the fastest hits in other sports? Glad you asked!



Infographic: Original GWR illustration/Jon Addison

Some interesting notes based on the info:

  1. Naturally, a perfect environment of conditions allows for better performance. Of the above, the fastest hits for badminton, golf, lacrosse, hockey, and rugby were all achieved outside of an organized game or match (i.e. at a skills competition).
  2. The reason Dent's Wimbledon serve is so much slower than Groth's outright record is, of course, the grass. Groth's record was set on a hardcourt similar to the U.S. Open's, which has the fastest Court Pace Rating (Category 5) of any of the Grand Slam venues. Wimbledon registers as Category 3 thanks to its unique grass variety.
  3. Despite sitting only fourth on the list, jai alai is widely considered the "fastest sport in the world." That's due mainly to the consistent top speeds at which the pelota is delivered in gameplay, whereas golf strikes and badminton hits can vary in gameplay.
  4. Nolan Ryan claimed the title of fastest thrown baseball for decades, at what was measured a 100.8 mph fastball. Since 2006, however, the tracking system Pitch f/x has measured baseball speeds in all MLB ballparks. Their highest-ever reading is Chapman's, included in this list.
  5. Other soccer players have claimed faster shots, but Hirst's is the only one that's been technologically measured. Oddly, for such a thunderous strike from such a short distance, he actually missed. Shot comes at the 34-second mark:

There are, of course, a lot of sports for which nobody has had an official speed measurement taken. Anybody feel like tossing an American football as fast as they can? Let us know and we might just include you in the next such look at speed in sport!

And don't forget to check out our video coverage from Wimbledon if you missed it with the man himself from GWR: OMG!, Oli White: