Australia's Samuel Groth, ranked No. 340 and best known in tennis circles for being the ex-husband of tennis player Jarmila Groth, set an unofficial ATP record last week when he hit a serve 164.3 mph at a challenger event in South Korea. That breaks the previous record of 156 mph, set by Ivo Karlovic at a Davis Cup match last year.
Groth's serve increased the record by a whopping 5.3 percent. To put that into context, that'd be like Usain Bolt lowering his 100 meter world record from 9.58 to 9.07.
''I just threw it up and absolutely smashed it down the T and it popped up on the gun at 263 [kilometers per hour] and I was a bit like, 'Whoa, whoa,''' Groth told The Age. ''It became a bit of a talking point around the guys; I guess it's not something you see too often, where suddenly 263 pops up on a radar gun.''
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The 24-year-old also hit serves of 158.9 mph and 157.5 mph in the same match. This means that the three fastest serves in the history of tennis occurred in the same 60-minute stretch courtesy a player never ranked inside the top 200 at a tournament in a country that's home to one player ranked in the top 500. Oh, and none of it is on tape.
Those are red flags, in case visual metaphors aren't your thing.
The ATP doesn't officially recognize speed records because of a lack of reliability in monitoring equipment. Still, the governing body of tennis confirmed that the radar gun at the Busan event was working and that other data collected was within appropriate range. Oh, like those other two serves that were faster than any other serves in history? And the one that was more than 8 mph faster than the previous record?
I'm not saying Groth didn't thrice break the record, nor am I suggesting that speed records can't be set by journeymen. I'm merely suggesting that three record-setting serves from a radar gun at a challenger event in South Korea is a dish best served fishy.
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