Serve speed guns/radar

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BeHappy, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    There are certain posters saying that players like Sampras, Becker and Ivanisevic would have been clocked as serving at 140mph/150mph if they were clocked by today's speed guns that measure the speed of the ball as it leaves the racquet.

    My memory is that the new speed guns came in around the year 2000 and that it only added around 7-8mph to players serves. And quite a few players like Sampras and Agassi played under the new speed guns and din't serve much faster.

    EG Sampras went from the 115-128mph on first serves to 122-135mph, Agassi went from 105mph-115mph on first serves to the 112-122mph range.

    Is my memory letting me down or are some forum members delusional teenagers pretending to be older than they are?
     
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  2. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I can't remember for sure, but your numbers sound reasonable. There have been further incremental improvements in the guns, also, so the 135 might be 140. However, there are some guns which are "juiced" which read much higher than others on the tour (maybe 10mph?). Some of the Davis Cup guns seem to be this way. A Sampras serve on these particular guns might be 150 mph, but wouldn't be on most of the guns.
     
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  3. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    If Rafa can serve 135, I'm sure Pete would exceed that by quite a bit.
     
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  4. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Yeah Davis Cup and Queens. Look at Andres Guzalli's list and everyone hits their fastest serves there!

    Well.. he didn't! 136-137mph was his top end, and he served 139mph at the Davis Cup if you believe those guns.

    Murray hit a 124mph forehand, I guess you think he has a better forehand than Federer?

    You all need to realize there's more to serves than MPH.

    And you also need to realize that Sampras never had had the biggest first serve. In the 90's Ivanisevic was hitting 1500 aces a year to Sampras's 1000. Philippoussis, and Krajicek were serving in the mid 140'smph (about 15mph faster than Sampras) and Rusedski served 149mph.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    +1

    10pronations
     
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  6. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    In the 90's i could swear some of Pete's untouchable serves looked a lot bigger than just 128.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The Pistol hit with huge amounts of top/slice spin, so his ball speed was never as fast as the pure flat hitters, but it was more effective with the spin.
    ColinDibley hit 149's back in 1977, while tall guys known for big serves, like StanSmith, around 124. VictorAmaya was at the 144 range...at 6'6" and maybe 210 lbs., a serving behemoth.
    JohannKriek, at 5'8" or so, hit into the 127's, with huge spin similar to Pete's.
    KevinCurran at 6'3" hit into the 138's.
    The new guys don't hit harder, no do they volley any better than those guys. The new guys are much fitter, change directions better, run faster, and hit much stronger groundstrokes.
     
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  8. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    I know, but these delusional 15 year old kids posting as 60 year olds on this forum don't know that. They think Sampras had the biggest serve ever.
     
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  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    They were if measured right after impact as is the custom today, rather than as it crossed the net.
     
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  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    FYI, there are no pure flat servers in pro tennis. They all hit a ton of spin. Sampras hit 2 tons.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Depends what you think "bigger" means.
    Some say pure mph is the biggest.
    Some tie effectiveness into the serve equation, which can mean a great volley.
    We know Edberg did not serve fast. But it was effective for his game, so it was in some ways, "BIG".
    We know ColinDibley never made it very far in most tournaments, was relegated to lower 30's in his best years, but he served faster than almost anyone of his day. Was his serve "big"?
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's almost impossible to hit a tennis ball purely flat, we know that.
    But some, like Dr.Ivo, hit flatter first serves than most anyone else.
     
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  13. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    I know that, I'm talking about mph on the first serve in this thread. Look at Limpinhitter's posts on this thread. Do you believe this guy even saw Sampras play if he believes Sampras could have served 150mph?
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Actually, while I often disagree with the Limper, I agree on this one!
    You see, you guys are always searching old articles on service speeds. Limp and I have stood courtside while Agassi, Kriek, Dibley, and quite a few other's practiced their serves.
    I sat behind a couple of Q guys who had to face Sampras in the first round. Believe me, when Sampras uncorks a flatter serve, it's smoking fast. And I've tried to return KevinCurran's best. It's just that Sampras is not out to impress US with ball speed, he's instead trying to win the point.
    As for Agassi, for SURE he hits into the 130's, it's that he never chooses to try one during a match against a top player. What's the point? He already knows Becker and Sampras can hit harder, and his game relies on running his opponent ragged, NOT crushing ONE shot to end the point. Ala Nadal.
    If a backcourt players ends the point with ONE serve, it's to his DISadvantage. Because he relies on running his opponent!
    Think of Edberg's serve. Most go right around 95-105. For sure, if he chooses to flatten it, it'd go easily into the highest 120's, if not 130's. But he CHOOSES to hit heavy top/slice, top/twist, and pure topspin serves, to allow himself time to get close to net position for his volleys.
    Same with PatCash and PatRafter. They seldom hit flat first serves, but you can bet, during practice, they can smoke into the lower 130 realm. But they also want to WIN points, and for them, getting closer to net allows them a greater percentage of WINNING the point than a flat smoking heater that goes in maybe 35%.
     
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  15. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Goran served 145 during an exo last year.
    didn't Sampras get to 140 at an exo in San Jose last year? And his readings were high in the Fed exos as well, seemed higher than they were on his last year on tour. Maybe that was more about his new racquet than the radar guns.

    Mac was clocked at 127 in an exo I saw a few years ago(which he never got while he was on tour)

    I recall the new radar guns coming around 2003/2004(the '04 USO had really high mph's throughout, I think they were on average higher than they were at last year's Open actually, I was looking up the old USO websites a while back)

    I read an article that discussed average mph's throughout the years & I think it mentioned there was a rather noticeable increase in the mph tour average from '99 to '04

    that's a pretty big difference, going from 115 to 135. I don't think Sampras hit a faster serve than 122 at the '91 USO. at '02 USO his fastest was 135 I believe.

    Andres thinks 1996 Goran would be in the 140s with todays guns

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=389483&page=2
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Goran is 6'4", long limbed, a trained professional tennis player. For sure, he can serve as fast as anyone except taller, younger, stronger guys.
    Roddick is an aberration, at 6'2", serving like he does.
    Raonic is more the standard. Tall 6'5" athlete, young and still flexible.
    I'd BET OliverRochus could serve into the highest 129's, if he wanted. His percentage might be something like 20%, which would hurt his game style, but he's strong enough, flexible enough, and explosive enough to do it. What would be the point? He needs to EXTEND points to win, not shorten them and get into a slugfest.
     
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  17. BeHappy

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    Exo's don't count for extremely obvious entertainment related reasons. Sampras didn't serve harder in his Fed exo's than he did in his Wimbledon match with Federer where he served 136mph in the 5th set tiebreak, his biggest regular tour serve ever.

    7-8mph is a TINY difference comparred to the 25-30mph Limpinhitter is looking for.

    The new guns came in in around 2000.

    If Sampras could serve 150mph nowadays you must think that Rusedski could serve 179mph? And why wouldn't Goran serve in the low 140's consistently with the new guns and an uninjured shoulder when he served 135mph consistently with the old guns? Andres isn't saying anything controversial there. What you forget is that Ivanisevic had a much bigger first serve than Sampras in every single way. His personal best is nearly 1500 aces to Sampras's 1000.

    Sampras was a 19 year old under developed kid in 1990 when he won his first open, so why are you compared his serve speeds there? From 1994-1999 his top serves were 128mph, from 2000/2001 onwards once the new guns were installed, his biggest serves were around 135mph:
    [​IMG]

    It's time to get real.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
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  18. Romismak

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    Agree with OP that the speed difference isn´t that big and definitely nobody would hit 150mph regularly - nobody isn´t hitting 150mph regularly from hardest servers in this era.

    You may hit 150mph serve once in season... but guy like Sampras i think already was hitting his ,,maximum,, speed in 2002 for example - he won USO so i don´t remember his numbers there but 2002 USO already i think has new speed guns, so maybe you can add few mph to hix fastest serves from that USO - when he is hitting faster at exhos i think exhos doesn´t have such accurate speed guns and don´t know maybe he is playing with better racquet? so is he able to hit it harder?

    Guys like Krajicek, Ivanisevic were having most aces-per 1st serve put in play in their era, Ivanisevic´serve was effective mostly, becuase he was lefty, Krajicek howewer was hitting really hard, but i can´t see him hit much harder than say Raonic today-who is regularly hitting hardest 1st serves-135mph-low 140s all the time if flat bomb.
     
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  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    In the first set of his 2001 match against Federer, Sampras' average first serve speed was 125 and Federer's was 114 as I recall. Sampras' average second serve speed was 111 or so.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ..and when Sampras would decide to flatten out what is considered the heaviest spinning fast first serve of anyone, you can easily expect that serve to go into the highest 130's, if not more.
     
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  21. CRWV

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    Raonic v Querrey rd 2 Wimby 2012:

    avg 122/105, fastest 139/120

    Not quite...
     
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  22. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    He said 'if flat bomb'. Raonic uses a remarkable ammount of slice and big kickserves on his first serve, therefore skewing his average speed down.
     
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  23. CRWV

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    He also made it sound like he hits 140+ at will, which he did not do once in that match...
     
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  24. BeHappy

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    Do you think a Sampras 128mph serve from 1998 would be clocked at 150mph with today's guns Andres?
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Sampras mid 140's, Becker 150.
     
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  26. Romismak

    Romismak Rookie

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    I said flat, so about average there is not much to talk, he has amazing slice serve-which is very fast for flat but logically slice will your average take down..

    about fastest-139was his fastest what is pretty slow considering for him- his fastest at RG was 147mph , i don´t know if those heavy balls at Wimby have impact or he wasn´t serving his best that day, but Raonic when you watch him on any other tournament like i am - he hits flat bombs on 1st serve between 220-230 all the time if you want bigger difference that from 210-233 kph all the time what is in MPH - lower 140s

    don´t even mentioning SAN Jose and Memphis which is indoors and his fastst serve are very fast there, many of them in 140s- mid 140s a lot of them and also few in 150s.... so you probably didn´t watched Raonic serving on any other tournament besides this Wimbledon...
     
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  27. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Not really. But in my opinion, Sampras never had the biggest serve. He had a huge serve, meaning it was fast as hell, and incredibly heavy. I always felt serves from Sampras and Becker being like trying to return bricks: something you would need to apply a lot of force to return it. In Goran and Richard's case, I always felt his serves were more a matter of actually NOT seeing the ball. They served faster than Boris or Pete.

    I think, if we try to put it in layman's terms, receiving from Pete or Boom Boom would be like trying to deflect a cannonball, while receiving from Goran or Krajicek was more like trying to DUCK a rifle shot.

    Having seen plenty of Sampras, and plenty of modern servers, and having compared both by video analysis and audio analysis, I'd say Pete was serving around 138 - 145. I'd say he served like a prime Ljubicic.

    Goran, in 1996, was a beast. He was clocking 136 mph back then. He clocked 142 in the seniors tour last year. Comparing the indoor events from 1996 vs. modern Raonic, prime Roddick or prime Dent, and he's not behind. In modern guns, with his good '96 shoulder, Goran would be clocking 150s.

    I'll try measuring something for you guys to compare. Gimme a couple of days.

    This video is a good reference of Goran in one of those days:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIUYkop5tY
     
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  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks! Question: The biggest serve I've ever seen clocked live was by Philippoussis back in about 99' at Key Biscayne against Wayne Ferreira. According to the clock on the court he cranked several serves in the 140's and hit one at 149. The crowd uttered a collective "woah" at that serve. Yet, it seems the fastest serve he is credited with is 142. Any explanation?
     
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  29. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    His 142 mph serve was the fastest serve ever recorded at the time. Then, it was surpassed by Rusedski's 149. And then, it was like any Scud serve under 149 didn't matter, even if they were bigger than 142.

    Same happened to Goran. He clocked a 136 mph in 1994. It was the biggest official serve at the time. In fact, he's often credited at topping at 136 (even HIMSELF believes it was his fastest), yet he hit a 224 kmh (139 mph) serve in early 1998 and then a 228 kmh (141.7 mph) later that year.

    It's like "if it's not a record, we just dont care"

    In fact, I still see websites claiming only 4 people reaching the 150 mph mark, when in reality there are several (verified) others
     
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  30. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    When asked about the difficulties involved in returning Sampras' serves, Agassi (post-retirement, I believe) described Pete's serves as 140-mph serves in one interview
     
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  31. NonP

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    I actually don't think Pete and Rafa are that far apart in top-end speeds. IMO Pete's would top out around low 140s. Maybe mid-140s would be doable, but they'd be very rare.

    Probably not. As I just said on the other thread, the new racquets and strings do most likely help increase average serve speeds, but not so much in the top range. Of course there's also the fact that he's no longer 24 years old.

    It's really hard to know which ones are more "accurate," unless somebody can go back and research the radar at every one of the events. It's important to keep in mind that the radar guns aren't uniform across the tour even today. Never have been, and probably never will be. The outliers at Davis Cup and Queen's are the ones we only know of, there could well be others in use right now that we still have no clue about. The one that captured Samuel Groth's new "record" comes to mind (provided that it wasn't a radar malfunction).

    Yes, there's no doubt that the new guns came into wide use around this time frame.

    This sounds about right, though, again, I'd shave off a couple mph. Boris could approach 150, but not IMO top it.

    And everything here is pretty much bang on. Krajicek probably had the bigger bomb down the T (arguably the best ever), but Goran was the king out wide, especially on the deuce court.

    BTW I love that Goran video you referenced. Apart from the serve he was playing with so much abandon and confidence in that match, and moving awfully well for a 6'4"er. It's a shame he didn't play with the same confidence more often at the majors. Or maybe not, we don't wanna spoil his 2001 Wimbledon run in any way. :)
     
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  32. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    But Andres, Sampras served under the new guns in 2001/2002 and served 128-136. Have there been new speed guns since then again?

    And wouldn't that mean Philipoussis, Krajicek and Rusedski would be serving 165mph since they served 20mph faster than Pete?

    I mean Tsonga doesn't serve any faster than Pete did in 2001/2002 and serves just as many aces as Sampras did.

    I agree with you about Goran though. I just think 145mph is a bit on the high end for Sampras. He served the same in his Federer exhibitions in 2007 at 37 as he did as 31 in 2001/2002 so there's consistency there too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
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  33. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    In Sampras case, that 138-145 range I referred to I was talking about top speeds, and not average speeds.

    I have Sampras clocked as high as 139 mph during his prime. It's not like he was ALWAYS serving 125-128 mph. He was averaging those speeds. Scud or Richard were never serving 20 mph faster than him. Their top speeds were quite similar, with those guys being a mere 5, 7 mph faster.

    In fact, he served 136 mph last year against Fed. Or was it 2010? Anyway, it's not too farfetched to think he could be serving at 138 - 145 mph back then when he was 25/26 years old and in the heights of his prime.
     
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  34. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    For example, in terms of top speeds, I don't have Richard higher than 139. It'd be awesome if someone would show me a match with a higher gun clock. But in those relative terms, Pete and Richie both top at the same speed. I believe Richard could and should be able to, at least, outserve Sampras by a good 5, 7 mph. He averaged a fastest first serve pretty much his entire career.
     
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  35. BeHappy

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    Well, that 139mph was at Davis Cup, and so was Goran's actually. It's just that Sampras never hit over 128mph until those new guns came in, and when he did the fastest serve he ever hit in 2-3 years of new guns on the ordinary tour was 136mph-137mph, so it's hard to see where the top serve of 145mph could come from.

    I always thought Krajicek was serving much harder than Sampras but it must just have been flatter because he's so tall. But still, Phillippoussis and Rusedski were definitely hitting in the 140's mph, Scud served 142 mph and Rusedski served 149mph which is 15-20 mph faster than Sampras was serving in the 90's.
     
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  36. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Pete's 139 that I've seen and registered was on the northamerican masters event. I don't know if it was either Cincinatti, Canada Masters or the USO. Wasn't on DC.

    Goran's 139 and 141 were on the european indoor swing. Lyon, Paris Masters and such. Again, no DC

    There's something funny about Rusedski. He NEVER used to go over 140/142 mph. That one 149 mph serve was an anomaly, and never again topped 142 mph. He was really lucky for one serve ;)
     
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  37. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Disagreed on Sampras. In fact, he was hitting 135 mph in 1998, USO 4th round, against Safin. No Getronic guns. I found the match on Youtube, lemme link you to that particular serve ;)
     
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  38. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    Do MLB pitchers throw faster than they did 20 years ago, or is the gun? I remember 94 used to be considered top of the range. Now it seems like 97 is the new 94.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Out to lunch.
    BobGibson had a faster fastball than NolanRyan, for sure, and Nolan was clocked at 99.
    A young RandyJohnson just exceeded the 100 barrier, but not the older RandyJohnson with the SFGiants.
    You guys are out to lunch. You only quote tournament speeds. THINK, which you don't do. In a tournament, the player is trying for placement AND percentage, both of which slow the ball speeds down. All players can serve FASTER than their tournament recorded speeds.
    Just like you and me. NOBODY sees our best days. EVERYONE sees our worse days...:):):)
     
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  40. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, I agree 100% with you. I know they ALL can serve faster. I'm absolutely sure about it. Thing is, just like with any sports, you gotta go with the official readings. If not, it's just a guessing game. And of course, there's no use of having a 160 mph serve if you can't bring it to the court in matchplay.
     
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  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    So, let's take a Formula 1 car. It's track speed is about 180 on the fastest tracks. So is that the top speed of a Formula 1 car, 180?
    We know they can easily exceed 275 if geared correctly and the straightway is long enough.
    At Darlington, Talledega, and Daytona, the fastest NASCAR's go just around 210 on the banking. Is that the fastest a NASCAR can go?
     
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  42. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Useless to use an analogy in this case. Why even bother using a racing analogy? We're talking about humans. Comparing apples and oranges.

    I already said I agreed with you, Lee.
     
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  43. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Found the match I was talking about.
    Sampras vs. Safin, USO 1998
    Two minutes into the match, 1st serve on his second service game, he cranks up a 130 mph serve after Safin hitting 132 mph.

    I'll keep editing this message as soon as I see new serves over 128 ;)

    Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBiU55zOHck

    130 mph, 2:15
     
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  44. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think the issue is so much the accuracy of the radar guns as it is where the speed is measured. My understanding is that until fairly recently, the speed was measured as the ball crossed the net and now it's measured immediately after contact. That would make a significant difference.
     
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  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Andres, you got a point.
    BobGibson, human.
    Most games, his fastest speeds were clocked in the higher 90's. For the spring of one year, lower 100's. But would his pitches go faster in practice?
    JaMarcus's longest every game throw was about 80 yards. He could throw 110 in practice, from goal line to goal post. How far can JaMarcus throw?
     
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  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And how can we account for ColinDibley serving at 149 in 1977? VictorAmaya 144. StanSmith 124. RaulRameriz 132. Seems accurate, having seen all those guys at courtside.
     
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  47. BeHappy

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    He hit 135mph in 1998?

    Wow, I never knew that. Well that changes everything I suppose.

    But were there changes to the speed guns in the 90's? I mean 1 minute Goran, Sampras Becker and even Lendl in 1991-1992 are serving 118mph-125mph on average and mid 90's Goran's 136mph is the world record, then in the late 90's Sampras is suddenly hitting 135mph (7mph faster than his lifetime best of 128mph in 1994) and Scud and Rusedski are serving 140mph+? What happened in that 3 year period?
     
    #47
  48. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    Your examples are all at least 20 years old. Gibson is close to half a century old. Anecdata fail.
     
    #48
  49. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    That 132mph serve by Safin at about 1:50 looked more like one of Roddick's 145mph serves. And, before that, Safins ace out wide was called at 118mph. WHAT A JOKE! David Ferrer hits bigger than that today, and there's no comparison between that Safin ace and any serve Ferrer has ever hit, ever.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
    #49
  50. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Yes, that was indeed the case until the turn of the century. Whatever differences between the relatively recent radar guns are probably marginal at best. The phased-array radar, though, does time the ball in more dimensions than the IBM radar guns, so in that sense this new technology is more accurate, if not widely used (yet).
     
    #50

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