© Ella Ling

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki: How to serve at 130mph

How to serve at 130mph. Tips from Sabine Lisicki, who holds the record for the fastest serve in the women’s game.
The most important thing is rhythm. “This is the key to hitting a hard serve. Without rhythm, you will struggle. To get rhythm on your serve, you need to spend some time on the practice court, as when you’ve got it you can stand there on the baseline, just toss the ball up and just hit it hard as you can. It’s a nice thing knowing that you can serve at 130mph – it’s great to have the record – and I know it’s all about the rhythm.”
There are no short cuts – you have to practise. “I’ve hit thousands and thousands of serves, and you’re going to have to as well as if you want to get a faster serve.”
There are no special exercises for increasing your serve speed. “When I go to the gym, I’m working on my whole body. In tennis, you need to have strong core, strong trunk muscles, so that you can keep everything stable. And it helps to have strong legs, as that gives you power. But I don’t go to the gym trying to improve my serve speed. You have think about your whole body, and your whole game, not just one part of it.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking that power is everything, and that all you have to do is hit the ball as hard as possible. “Don’t make that mistake. You also need to think about where you’re directing the ball. There’s no point hitting it at full power towards your opponent’s racket as then it’s going to come right back at you just as fast. I mix it up, don’t always hit my first serves at full power. Sometimes it’s not possible anyway, because of the wind, but even in good conditions I don’t always go for full power. You want to keep your opponent guessing.”
  • JJ

    I find it quite funny how she said “There’s no point hitting it at full power towards your opponent’s racket”, when that’s exactly what she did when she hit her 130mph serve. And she lost the point when her opponent returned it!