Fast. Faster. Fastest… Sam Groth hits the 3 fastest serves ever recorded.

15 May

Aussie tennis journeyman Sam Groth, knows all about the highs and lows of sport. He was feted as a genuine prospect some 7 years ago following a runner-up performance in the junior boys doubles at Wimbledon, and had the full backing and funding of Tennis Australia, and the Australian Institute of Sport.  Coaching, overseas training camps, managed tours and the odd wildcard to skip qualifiers were all lavished upon him. Groth had talent, a prodigious bullying serve, he was raw, athletic and possessed an uncomplicated game plan. Sam worked hard, but was frequently injured – another player struck down by the pounding schedule and over training on hardcourts. And the fruits of his labour – a career high ATP ranking of 220, total prize-money in the vicinity of US$40K, a couple of Futures singles wins. Not much to show – but anyone who has been down that road knows just how tough it is.

The LOWS

Fast forward to the winter of 2011.

I am coaching at Melbourne Park, and Sam walks in and asks to borrow some tennis balls to blast some serves on the court next to me. He looks a dejected figure – and has recently split up with his wife (WTA top 30 player Jarmilia Gajdosova) and tells me “the Doc wants me to crank a few serves out to loosen the arm” – he then lets me know he is going under the knife for shoulder surgery the following day. I thought at the time if only I had a radar – as one after another Groth pounded down explosive serves on the indoor courts to anyone who dared attempt a return – and there was only a handful of  volunteers – simply too dangerous. Seemed the past 7 or 8 years striving to “make it” had really hit home- and Sam was taking it out on his arm. He was serving MASSIVE.

Sam spent time recuperating, his rehab was doing the odd bit of coaching, hanging out with some old buddies, he tried a stint of Aussie Rules football and finally was persuaded to give the tour one last shot. He won a Futures event in Bendigo, and was given a spot in the Aussie Open wildcard play-off. Needless to say his lack of match practice stood out – he served BIG, but was unable to combat John Millman’s grinding game. Another Futures win in Ipswich was the catalyst to give it one more go overseas.

The HIGH – a 263 km/h BOMB.

And it was in Busan, South Korea last week that Sam Groth had one of those sporting highs. Groth not only set the world record for the fastest serve ever recorded – but the top 3 of ALL TIME. Ivo Karlovic had the fastest serve – it was 251km/h. Groth blasted serves at 253 km/h, 255 km/h and 263 km/h. Groth has broken back into the ATP top 400 – currently 317 – and has the goal of getting inside his pre-op. high of 220. And his gameplan, it’s still uncomplicated. “Enjoy what I am doing, stay fit, injury free; and serve BIG”. 

The PRO

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2 Responses to “Fast. Faster. Fastest… Sam Groth hits the 3 fastest serves ever recorded.”

  1. sallyparrott May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    A great timeline on what I hope will prove to be a great player – again!

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