Originally Posted by pc1
One serve that is not mentioned but perhaps at worst deserves an honorable mention is Ivan Lendl's serve. He had a very powerful first serve and an excellent second serve. I heard an interview years ago in New York that Brad Gilbert did. They asked him who had the toughest serve for him. He answered Ivan Lendl. The reason was that besides the fact his serve was so powerful, that he had such a variety of serves and every one of them were very good.
The most impressive stat I ever saw for Lendl's serve was against McEnroe at RG in '88. In the fourth set, he made 20 of 21 first serves and lost only one point on serve.
He also served at 75% when he beat Tanner at Wimbledon ('83).
In both those matches he was hitting it with pace, not just spinning in it.
As long as you're talking about honorable mentions, how about Borg. I still don't know of anyone else who's won 19 straight points on serve in a fifth set -- and Borg did it twice, against McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon and then Tanner two months later at the USO.
That's a record -- if it's a record, though I don't know of any official source confirming such streaks -- that has stood for thirty years now. Should count for something.
PC1, I'd be interested if you ever come across information about the streak against Tanner. It was reported in the press but I don't know where to find a copy of the match, and I'd like to know how much of the streak was due to Borg's serve and how much to his overall endurance in a fifth set (I know against Mac it was a combination of both).
Anyway Borg put in some impressive service performances in his last two years of playing Slams. There were the Mac/Tanner sets; and 16 aces against Connors at the 81W; and 14 aces against Connors at the 81 USO, in only three sets.
Even Connors admitted after the last match that Borg served "extra special", and everyone was raving about his aces.
Plus, the CBS commentators said that one of his serves during the final was the fastest of the tournament -- somewhat surprising because Tanner was in the event (he lost in four sets to Borg).
I think Borg's serve was better than ever in his last years, and there's every reason to believe it would have gotten better if he'd continued.