The Impression of Speed: Tennis February 07 2017, 0 Comments

 Many sports revolve around a ball. Traditionally, the ball is round, however, there are exceptions such as a rugby ball. In some cases, a ball has been replaced by a puck in ice hockey or a shuttlecock in badminton. Would you have ever guessed that the badminton shuttlecock is the fastest object in sports? A new world record was set in Malaysia while testing new racquet technology. The speed: 493 km/h! The ball with feathers can fly like no other.

What about tennis? Who holds the record for hitting a tennis ball the fastest? As far back at 1931, Bill Tiden served at a speed reported to be 293 km/h but this record is often excluded from official records because of the accuracy of questionable technology. Accurate it may not be but no doubt the tennis ball was one of the fastest, not seen in tennis before. 

Speed records in tennis may vary, depending on the calibration of equipment across the globe. This is why recorded speeds at challenger events may not be comparable. The Australian, Sam Groth, May 2012, while playing tennis in South Korea, reportedly served at a speed of 263.4 km/h. However, Technically, John Isner still holds the official record for the fastest serve ever in tennis. 

Tennis at Wimbledon is quite speedy, too. Sam Groth took honours for the second-fasted tennis serve in Wimbledon’s history. This was narrowly exceeded by Roger Federer who managed a serve speed of 148 mph (238km), turning a tennis ball into a weapon. 

To measure the speed of a served tennis ball, two specially designed radar sensors are positioned behind the baseline at either end of the centre tennis court, as well as on certain other courts. Once the play strikes the ball, the radar gun activates and detects it’s speed.   The details are automatically recorded on the IBM’s central tournament database, which is updated by the second. 

So it is not only the speed of the ball but the speed at which the information reaches the whole world. Now that is impressive.

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