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saram
02-13-2008, 08:55 AM
After reading the November/December issue of Tennis Magazine, I came across a rumor/legend that Bill Tilden served up a bomb at 163.3 mph. Maybe it happened, and maybe it didn't. My curiosity is to how in the world they could have clocked it at that speed with the technology that they had in 1931.

I'm not even here to discuss today's technology in sticks versus old time. What I am curious about is how they came up with that figure/number with the technology they had back then in tracking speeds of tennis balls.

Any thoughts into this or links to factual data concerning this amazing urban legend????

Chauvalito
02-13-2008, 08:59 AM
They looked at archival footage frame by frame I believe...

of course they didn't measure that speed in 1931 :)

saram
02-13-2008, 09:11 AM
They looked at archival footage frame by frame I believe...

of course they didn't measure that speed in 1931 :)

I guess if the new the speed of the film, then they could do that. Never thought about that. Thanks!

Edit: "...if they knew...."

I'm a dork! Sorry for the lousy grammar.

Chauvalito
02-13-2008, 09:32 AM
I guess if the new the speed of the film, then they could do that. Never thought about that. Thanks!

no problem, I cant remember where I read this. some more information on this topic would be interesting.

r2473
02-13-2008, 09:47 AM
They looked at archival footage frame by frame I believe...

of course they didn't measure that speed in 1931 :)

That's nothing. Have you seen how fast people ran back then? Babe Ruth used to trot around the bases in about 2 seconds!!

Moose Malloy
02-13-2008, 10:16 AM
They looked at archival footage frame by frame I believe...

of course they didn't measure that speed in 1931

No, they did measure the speed at the time of the serve, did not use archival footage. I believe they used a stopwatch & the distance of the court to come up with the number. Maybe urban knows more.

Ellsworth Vines was clocked at 128 in the 30s, that's probably what Tilden was really at.

Radar guns first were introduced in the 30s & some pitchers were clocked back then. They had to throw a ball into a hole that had devices that measured the speed as it went through.

Tchocky
02-13-2008, 10:19 AM
Absolute lie. Does anybody here really believe that to be true?

stormholloway
02-13-2008, 10:24 AM
Ridiculous. And Vines didn't serve in the 130s. I'm sorry. Becker was lucky to break into the 130s. There's no way Vines did it.

These guys are benefiting from the distortion of ancient history.

Leelord337
02-13-2008, 07:45 PM
I was watching the djokovic/tsonga match and dick enberg said "Djokovic hit a 196mph serve". I think he meant to say kilometers, anyway it was really funny and i think i might record it and post it on youtube.

Gimmick
02-13-2008, 08:04 PM
I don't find 130's that hard to believe, but 168 seems unlikely.

NLBwell
02-13-2008, 08:54 PM
163 for Tilden is probably measurment error, since no one has approached that, but why would you think that Becker could hit a significantly harder serve than Vines? Any facts to back that up?

circusmouse
02-13-2008, 08:55 PM
Yeah, measuring archival footage and using a stopwatch don't seem like exact sciences to me. I'm sure Tilden had a big serve, but some things will just have to remain mysteries.

kimbahpnam
02-13-2008, 09:04 PM
was it in?

VGP
02-14-2008, 11:07 AM
It's in the Guiness Book of World Records.....

What I would like to see is a measuring a modern serve using the method used for Tilden back then. Perhaps we could reverse-extrapolate Tilden's serve speed based on those measurements.

Vision84
02-14-2008, 11:18 AM
Using a stopwatch is incredibly inaccurate at such a short time frame. It probably takes longer to stop and start the timer than it does for the serve to bounce over the net.

nocab
02-14-2008, 11:28 AM
using a stopwatch wouldn't make much sense. You would get the average ball speed over the distance they measured. The ball is fastest right when it leaves the racquet and slows down significantly after it clears the net and even more when it hits the ground. If 163.3 was the average then the ball had to travel even faster then that at first, which is very unlikely.
If they only measured the speed over a short distance (i.e. the racquet to the net) then you would have a greater chance of human error, like when did he actually hit start and stop on the watch.

Northshoreplayer
02-14-2008, 11:30 AM
I've seen slo-mo footage of Tilden's serve motion: very elegant, quite efficient, but there's no way he hit over even 130 considering he barely gets his legs into it, and he barely gets into the court with his follow through.
And after his 25 minute workout which included three laps around the court and some rope-jumping he probably had a cocktail under a shaded umbrella.

VGP
02-14-2008, 11:40 AM
Remember that there was a rule where you had to have one foot touching the ground at all times during the service motion....

tacoben
02-14-2008, 11:42 AM
I believe that Roscoe Tanner use to serve in the upper 130's to 140 mph recorded with modern technology (speed guns).

hoodjem
02-14-2008, 11:42 AM
It's fairly easy to measure different frames of movie film and measure the distance traveled by the ball over a known interval of time, such as 24 frames per second or 18 frames per second (standard moving film rates indicate 1/24 second or 1/18 second between consecutive frames).

Distance over time=speed (as in miles per hour)

I can't vouch for the veracity of 163.3 mph, but the physics of the measuring is rather simple. You don't need radar or lasers.

drakulie
02-14-2008, 11:52 AM
Ridiculous. And Vines didn't serve in the 130s. I'm sorry. Becker was lucky to break into the 130s. There's no way Vines did it.

These guys are benefiting from the distortion of ancient history.

I couldn't agree more. The same "historians" claim that he, along with several others (Vines, Pancho, etc) **ROUTINELY** hit forehands over 100 mph>>>> a feat that modern players don not even come close to.

No way these guys, incluiding Tanner were hitting serves over 130, or coming near that routinely.

VGP
02-14-2008, 12:26 PM
I remember seeing Tanner on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (a big tennis fan). They set him up on stage with a radar gun and he was hitting 115-125......

stormholloway
02-14-2008, 02:31 PM
Guys, Tilden was probably lucky to get over 100 mph. Federer has far more action on his serve and doesn't really even get into the 130s.

Considering the lack of leg action and the foot on the ground rule, I'd bet my life that he never hit 130.

I won't even dignify this 163.3 nonsense.

brtennis
02-14-2008, 06:27 PM
Did he use a PD+ in 1931? :-)

AndrewD
02-14-2008, 09:55 PM
Guys, Tilden was probably lucky to get over 100 mph. Federer has far more action on his serve and doesn't really even get into the 130s.

Considering the lack of leg action and the foot on the ground rule, I'd bet my life that he never hit 130.

I won't even dignify this 163.3 nonsense.

163mph is called 'publicity', not reality. However, we most certainly can't discount players of Tilden's era being capable of generating speeds similar to the ones recorded in the 1970's. Colin Dibley held the world record for a serve timed at 148mph and he did that using a wooden racquet, one foot on the ground and a lot less talent than someone like Tilden or Vines.

Also, remember there's an enormous difference between the speed a player, during the 'wood era' COULD hit their serve and the speed they WOULD hit their serve. So, what you see in archival footage is less an indication of their capabilities than of the limitations imposed by the equipment.

Leelord337
02-14-2008, 10:19 PM
its also on wikipedia. just wiki bill tilden

Gimmick
02-15-2008, 04:23 AM
Guys, Tilden was probably lucky to get over 100 mph. Federer has far more action on his serve and doesn't really even get into the 130s.

Considering the lack of leg action and the foot on the ground rule, I'd bet my life that he never hit 130.

I won't even dignify this 163.3 nonsense.

If Serena can hit 90 with an abdominal tear and no lower body, then I have no problem with 130 for an able-bodied person who simply has to keep one foot on the ground.

krosero
02-15-2008, 07:00 AM
I remember reading encyclopedia articles about Pancho Gonzales hitting a 113 m.p.h. serve.

At this page he's listed as hitting a 112:

http://www.halfvalue.com/wiki.jsp?topic=Pancho_Gonzales#_note-5

In the days of wooden racquets, Gonzales's 112-mph serve was the fastest ever recorded.

But there's also a description of his forehand being measured at 113 mph:

At a professional event in 1951 the forehand drives of a number of players were electronically measured. Kramer was particularly known for his fine forehand, but Gonzales was recorded as hitting the fastest one, 112.88 mph, followed by Kramer at 107.8 and Welby Van Horn at 104. Since it was generally assumed at the time that Pancho Segura's two-handed forehand was the hardest in tennis, it is possible that he was not present at that event.That coincidence of numbers doesn't seem right to me.

Also it's strange that his serve would be no faster than his forehand.

A footnote for the same article:

Note: Gonzales's forehand was also once timed at 112 mph (see the article) but the similar figures are coincidental
Strange.

randomname
02-15-2008, 10:22 AM
If Serena can hit 90 with an abdominal tear and no lower body, then I have no problem with 130 for an able-bodied person who simply has to keep one foot on the ground.

and where did you get your degrees in physics and bio-mechanics?

Pushmaster
02-15-2008, 12:24 PM
If Tilden could hit a 163mph serve with a wood stick (which I seriously doubt) he could probably have clocked one at 180 with a modern stick (which I seriously doubt as well).

JMaj
02-15-2008, 01:22 PM
How to measure the speed of a tennis ball? The strobe light was invented in 1931. Coincidence?

http://mit.edu/6.933/www/Fall2000/edgerton/www/prewar.html

stormholloway
02-15-2008, 03:16 PM
163mph is called 'publicity', not reality. However, we most certainly can't discount players of Tilden's era being capable of generating speeds similar to the ones recorded in the 1970's. Colin Dibley held the world record for a serve timed at 148mph and he did that using a wooden racquet, one foot on the ground and a lot less talent than someone like Tilden or Vines.

Also, remember there's an enormous difference between the speed a player, during the 'wood era' COULD hit their serve and the speed they WOULD hit their serve. So, what you see in archival footage is less an indication of their capabilities than of the limitations imposed by the equipment.

Timed at 148 mph using what? A sundial? There's no way he hit 148 mph back then, with a foot on the ground and a wooden racquet. Look how much torque Roddick gets on his serve. It's huge, yet 148 is about as fast as he can hit it. Sampras never came close to 148, yet this Dibley guy did it?

I'm calling BS on all of it. They didn't use speed guns back then and the numbers could easily be inflated.

I'm sure they had great serves for their time and considering the rule on serve, but McEnroe had a great serve with a wood racquet and wasn't even close to the numbers these guys were claimed to have.

Gimmick
02-15-2008, 03:48 PM
and where did you get your degrees in physics and bio-mechanics?

The first step is admitting you have a problem. The next is doing something useful about it.......feel free to enlighten us with something more substantial than cynicism.


"In 1997, in a comparative test done by Tennis magazine, Mark Philippoussis, the six-foot-five, 217-pound Australian renowned for his powerful serve, averaged 124 mph when serving with his own composite racket. With a classic wooden racket, he averaged 122 mph."

Call BS if you want, but even with his own Racquet the serves were similar, even in a "modern" test.

AndrewD
02-15-2008, 04:23 PM
Timed at 148 mph using what? A sundial? There's no way he hit 148 mph back then, with a foot on the ground and a wooden racquet. Look how much torque Roddick gets on his serve. It's huge, yet 148 is about as fast as he can hit it. Sampras never came close to 148, yet this Dibley guy did it?


If you can locate the 1974 Tennis magazine article where they outline exactly how the players were timed then you'll be able to find out. Then you can make an informed decision.

meowmix
02-15-2008, 04:27 PM
It's not impossible that the guy DID hit a serve 168 mph with a woodie. Is it probable? Not really. But is it possible? Definately! Just because Roddick can only reach about 150 with his massively powerful PDR+, insane torque, and 6' whatever height doesn't mean that somebody 76 years ago couldn't possibly have hit 168 with one foot on the ground. It's physically completely possible.

Also, there is going to be no way to prove this. Unless someobody can get actual footage of the guy making this 168 mph serve, nobody can either confirm or disconfirm this piece of info. So, anybody feel like bringing up some hard evidence and showing us a vid?

stormholloway
02-15-2008, 05:20 PM
If you can locate the 1974 Tennis magazine article where they outline exactly how the players were timed then you'll be able to find out. Then you can make an informed decision.

I'm making a decision based on the same information everyone else is using. Just because my decision is different doesn't mean it's any less informed.

From what I've read they used some sort of clock to measure the speed. It'd be like timing a runner going over 100 mph with a stopwatch. It can't be that accurate.

Again, is everyone living in fairy tale land? These guys had like zero knee bend. Becker had massive knee bend and racquet speed and his fastest serve was in the mid 130s. Last time I checked Tilden had a pretty open stance on serve, little to no knee bend, and had to keep a foot on the ground. Yet somehow he pulls off a 163.3 mph serve?

Really guys... really.

stormholloway
02-15-2008, 05:24 PM
It's not impossible that the guy DID hit a serve 168 mph with a woodie. Is it probable? Not really. But is it possible? Definately! Just because Roddick can only reach about 150 with his massively powerful PDR+, insane torque, and 6' whatever height doesn't mean that somebody 76 years ago couldn't possibly have hit 168 with one foot on the ground. It's physically completely possible.

Roddick's core is far more powerful than Tilden's ever was. He's a pretty big dude. His racquet speed is insane on serve. Tilden's racquet head speed was almost totally generated by the arm, letting the racquet drop and virtually swing itself. There is nothing magical about it. It was a good smooth motion but not near as violent as Roddick's, or even McEnroe's for that matter. I don't see how, after looking at video of Tilden's serve you can believe he hit 163 mph.

I do however retract the statement that he had an open stance. It is closed. It's a good motion but I'd bet a grand on the fact that he never breached 120, let alone 160.

drakulie
02-15-2008, 05:28 PM
^^^what I find even more laughable is comments made by historians that these guys were routinely hitting 100+ mph forehands.

Just looking their strokes and speed they generate on the stroke, almost no follow-trhu compared to todays players who don't routinely hit 100+ mph fh's would make it an impossible feat.

saram
02-15-2008, 06:10 PM
Any thoughts into this or links to factual data concerning this amazing urban legend????

This was the original question I asked. Didn't ask people to argue or banter about this or that. Considering that no one here on an educated board can find any data either, I'm assuming it's just a good urban legend and we'll have to live with that.

It is probably possible to hit one that fast out of a million with the technology in the day, my question though, was as to whether there is any data/information backing it up.

Nickognito
02-15-2008, 06:30 PM
Sampras hit a 120 mph serve with a wooden racket. It's possible and probable that Vines and others served with that speed. It's not probable that they did it very often, because wooden racket give less control, at the same level of power.

Sampras said that groundtrokes were different with the wooden racket, but his serve speed was not so different. But he said that at the same speed he couldn't control the ball as well as with the new rackets.

randomname
02-15-2008, 09:01 PM
The first step is admitting you have a problem. The next is doing something useful about it.......feel free to enlighten us with something more substantial than cynicism.


"In 1997, in a comparative test done by Tennis magazine, Mark Philippoussis, the six-foot-five, 217-pound Australian renowned for his powerful serve, averaged 124 mph when serving with his own composite racket. With a classic wooden racket, he averaged 122 mph."

Call BS if you want, but even with his own Racquet the serves were similar, even in a "modern" test.

I just think its funny that you somehow made the conclusion that an injured woman being able to serve 90 mph has anything to do with a man with a wooden racquet serving with one foot on the ground

Gimmick
02-16-2008, 10:02 AM
I just think its funny that you somehow made the conclusion that an injured woman being able to serve 90 mph has anything to do with a man with a wooden racquet serving with one foot on the ground

I just think its funny that there's still nothing more useful than your own bemusment in your post.

When Tennis magazine did the study with Mark he had a 60% accuracy with the wooden racquet and 50% with his own. The 5.0 they had perform the same test also had a higher accuracy with the wood racquet. The 3.0-4.0 players however had dramatic reductions in accuracy with a wood racquet. For test purposes, the three racquets they tried were all strung with Babolat VS gut at 70 Lbs (Mark's choice of tentsion and string at the time). I don't know how long that Dunlop Fort would have lasted with that much tension, but it made it through the tests intact.

stormholloway
02-16-2008, 10:27 AM
Dunlop Fort at 70 lbs? That is a lot. I can definitely understand accuracy with a wood racquet. I am surprised that the speed was equivalent however.

stormholloway
02-16-2008, 10:31 AM
^^^what I find even more laughable is comments made by historians that these guys were routinely hitting 100+ mph forehands.

Just looking their strokes and speed they generate on the stroke, almost no follow-trhu compared to todays players who don't routinely hit 100+ mph fh's would make it an impossible feat.

You're right about this. Groundstrokes would be far more affected by wood racquets than the serve.

I think when historians talk of 100 mph forehands they're using it in a symbolic sense, i.e. it was a fast forehand.

stormholloway
02-16-2008, 10:33 AM
Sampras hit a 120 mph serve with a wooden racket. It's possible and probable that Vines and others served with that speed. It's not probable that they did it very often, because wooden racket give less control, at the same level of power.

Sampras said that groundtrokes were different with the wooden racket, but his serve speed was not so different. But he said that at the same speed he couldn't control the ball as well as with the new rackets.

I do agree I've placed too much emphasis on Vines and Tilden having used wood. What is far more important is the fact that those guys don't come anywhere close to the violence of Sampras' service action.

The truth is we'll never know just how fast they served, but I'd love to see some old films of some of their matches to see how they played.

hoodjem
02-16-2008, 11:44 AM
Dunlop Fort at 70 lbs? That is a lot. I can definitely understand accuracy with a wood racquet. I am surprised that the speed was equivalent however.

I believe that Borg used to string his Donnay at something insane, like 80+ lbs.

There's a true story about his coach, Lennert Bergelin, being awakened in the middle of the night by strings spontaneously popping in the racquets stored in a closet. He said it sounded like firecrackers going off.

AndrewD
02-16-2008, 02:26 PM
What is far more important is the fact that those guys don't come anywhere close to the violence of Sampras' service action.

How in the world would you know? You're basing your comments on what, a few minutes worth of footage and taking it entirely out of context?

NLBwell
02-16-2008, 09:45 PM
StormHolloway - You have no clue what your are talking about, and don't even know who Colin Dibley is or when he played, do you?

168? Has to be a measurement error, since no one has done it since. Could guys playing with wood rackets reach into the 120's and 130's (and even possibly 140's)? Yes, documented with radar guns.

Does a foot on the ground cause you to hit slower? Maybe slightly, but not much if you grew up serving that way. What it does do is make it much more difficult to get a hard serve into the court, since you lose height, angle, and the ability to rip upwards to get as much spin on the ball.

Enlightened Coelacanth
02-18-2008, 12:17 PM
Yes. 163mph is unquestionably out of the reach of human attainment, especially given the wood racquet (though wood makes the least amount of difference when serving).

orangettecoleman
02-18-2008, 05:04 PM
i wonder why someone with a good serve like querrey doesn't use the most powerful racquet and strings he can find for one match just to get in the record books for fastest serve. i imagine a lot of guys could top the 153 mark using a 29 inch racquet and gamma live wires or something. they would lose the match because serving would be all that racquet would be good for, but still i imagine it would be fun to be the top gun for a little while...

stormholloway
02-18-2008, 06:05 PM
How in the world would you know? You're basing your comments on what, a few minutes worth of footage and taking it entirely out of context?

I've seen Tilden's service motion. I've seen Sampras'. That's enough for me to draw a conclusion. It didn't take much thought.

stormholloway
02-18-2008, 06:07 PM
StormHolloway - You have no clue what your are talking about, and don't even know who Colin Dibley is or when he played, do you?

168? Has to be a measurement error, since no one has done it since. Could guys playing with wood rackets reach into the 120's and 130's (and even possibly 140's)? Yes, documented with radar guns.

Does a foot on the ground cause you to hit slower? Maybe slightly, but not much if you grew up serving that way. What it does do is make it much more difficult to get a hard serve into the court, since you lose height, angle, and the ability to rip upwards to get as much spin on the ball.

Do you take your canoe into the River Denial? Or do you prefer to kayak?

Was Dibley's serve measured with a radar gun? Frankly, I'm not even sure it matters. Even modern radars have shown to be totally inaccurate. I saw an Andy Murray match where he was serving like 140. The commentator admitted he heard Murray saying he can't actually serve that fast.

Trinity TC
02-18-2008, 06:56 PM
If you can locate the 1974 Tennis magazine article where they outline exactly how the players were timed then you'll be able to find out. Then you can make an informed decision.
They used a camera attached to a strobe/flash unit. A calibrated board was set on the court and the distance covered by the serve during each photo was converted into mphs.

Scott Carnahan was by far the fastest at 137 mph with Roscoe Tanner at 128 mph and John Newcombe 123 mph.

FedForGOAT
02-18-2008, 07:20 PM
Tilden's serve speed was measured by a device called a ballistic chronometer. I tried finding what it is on the internet but was unsuccessful.

stormholloway
02-18-2008, 07:40 PM
It's probably a gyrosphere connected to a gerbil's head via copper wire, encased in a wooden box.

VGP
02-19-2008, 08:23 AM
How about if we all send in to Mythbusters about this discussion.....

drakulie
02-19-2008, 12:21 PM
^^LOL,

I was actually thinking of doing that a few days ago.

I was also going to write them so they could explore the myth about low string tension adding speed and or spin as opposed to higher tension.

krz
02-19-2008, 12:34 PM
I don't think he could have done it, or was there even a plausible way of measuring it.

I would think you need a radar gun since serve speed is measured at the rackets contact point.

You can't use a stop watch or frames on a film. Thats measuring the AVERAGE velocity. You want "instantaneous velocity"

Some how derive the position function for the path of the ball and then you can get the exact speed, if not then I don't believe there is a way to get the velocity of the ball off of a video clip.

VGP
02-19-2008, 01:19 PM
Radar guns require the ball traveling some distance to measure speed. That's how radar works.

The guys on Mythbusters do use film (well, frame rates) and measured distances to calculate speed. What you can gauge is the speed of the ball close to the contact point.

It's easily done now and could easily have been done in 1931.

hoodjem
02-19-2008, 02:20 PM
It's probably a gyrosphere connected to a gerbil's head via copper wire, encased in a wooden box.

Now you're just being silly for the sake of it.

Ballistic chronometers are very accurate scientific measuring devices. They are used to measure the speed of bullets from different firearms. They also measure the speed of missiles.

I imagine they would be quite accurate on something as slow as a tennis ball--whether from Colin Dibley or Roddick.

Too many people think the only technology that's worth paying attention to is today's technology. And the only tennis players that are any good are today's pros. These people think like they were born yesterday.

Midlife crisis
02-19-2008, 02:26 PM
I was also going to write them so they could explore the myth about low string tension adding speed and or spin as opposed to higher tension.

http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2005/02/outlook_2005_string.html

Midlife crisis
02-19-2008, 02:38 PM
Something this far out of the ordinary is not believable. Throwing a baseball and serving a tennis ball use relatively similar biomechanics, yet if you look at the fastest pitchers of all time, the ones that have been accurately measured are all closely grouped in the 101-103 MPH range.

A modern tennis racquet has a coefficient of restitution of about 0.4 when hitting a ball in this way. An older racquet from Tilden's time would have been worse, probably 0.35. This means that using a modern racquet, he would have been able to serve at 172 MPH, whereas the next closest measurement was Roddick's (questionable) 155 MPH. Tilden's serve would have beaten this by 11%. This is the equivalent of saying that someone is all of a sudden going to come around and pitch a ball at 114 MPH or that someone has already pitched a ball at that speed, but no one else is above 103 MPH. It hasn't happened and outside of some clearly obvious anatomical abnormality which Tilden didn't have, isn't going to happen.

By the way, it is incredibly violent and probably physically damaging to have to move any body part at speeds necessary to do this. Like stormholloway says, just casually looking at video shows that with the techniques displayed, it wasn't possible for Tilden to have done this.

drakulie
02-19-2008, 03:03 PM
midlife, thanks for that link. Good stuff.

brrrrrrendan
02-19-2008, 04:20 PM
Has anyone considered that his serve maybe wasn't 164 mph but still was say, 150 mph. Unless someone just randomly made up that this guy was the fastest server ever, then he probably could serve 150ish mph which is still extremely impressive. you're all debating whether he did it or not, and most that say not are betting he didn't even break 130. For those of you that say you would "bet your life he wouldn't break 130" could you enlighten me on how this random guy's serve was chosen to be increased in the stat book by THIRTY mph. Whether the technology is accurate or not, if ANYONE is relying on it, its not 30 mph off.

drakulie
02-19-2008, 04:38 PM
Here is a clip of Tilden's serve motion. Obviously, it is in slow motion, but there is no way this guy hit anything close to 163:

http://www.woodtennis.com/tilden_serving.gif

Bill Tilden is renound for his powerful service but I had not seen the action before this clip. What do you think of it?

Azzurri
02-19-2008, 05:15 PM
^^LOL,

I was actually thinking of doing that a few days ago.

I was also going to write them so they could explore the myth about low string tension adding speed and or spin as opposed to higher tension.

That would be very interesting. Are you serious about contacting them?

Gorecki
02-20-2008, 12:15 AM
when the ball hit the ground the planet moved a few centimeter lower...
that is how powerfull Bill serve was. my father remembers that day. he says it was like the days ob the bombings... the terror in his eyes... i try to explain him it was just a Tennis player with a wood stick.

Leublu tennis
02-20-2008, 02:43 AM
Are they sure it was 163.3 and not 163.329?

VGP
02-20-2008, 01:40 PM
Maybe Bill Tilden did it as an experiment, or a publicity stunt.

He could have had his rackets strung loosely and got some real trampoline effect going. He most likely also used what would be considered a heavy racket by today's standards....+16 oz.

Balls weren't pressurized back then either....

Maybe the wind was at his back....

Lots of variables.

r2473
02-20-2008, 02:15 PM
Of course Tilden served it 163, but that is just his "official" fastest serve. I am sure he once served well over 200 MPH in practice.

In fact, all of the guys who played in that era routinely served over 150 MPH and hit over 100 MPH+ groundstrokes.

Just another example of how great things were "back then" and that we are currenty in the "mug" era.

Rusedskifan
02-20-2008, 04:36 PM
All I need to say.

xnarek
02-20-2008, 05:01 PM
How the heck did he serve like that with, most likely, a messed up style?

xnarek
02-20-2008, 05:02 PM
It went out 99% of the time didnt it!