Roddick sets serve record with 153mph thunderbolt

At 3.40pm yesterday at the Stella Artois Championships here, everybody blinked. Then everybody cheered. A small, fluffy, yellow ball projected from the racket strings of Andy Roddick, the US Open champion, was timed at 153mph - the fastest serve ever recorded.

At 3.40pm yesterday at the Stella Artois Championships here, everybody blinked. Then everybody cheered. A small, fluffy, yellow ball projected from the racket strings of Andy Roddick, the US Open champion, was timed at 153mph - the fastest serve ever recorded.

Serving into a light wind, Roddick hit an ace into the right-hand corner of the box before his quarter-final opponent, Paradon Srichaphan, of Thailand, could make a move.

Roddick nonchalantly half-turned, already thinking about lining up his next serve at 1-0, 30-0, in the second set en route to a 6-3, 6-3 win. "I can't feel the difference between 146mph and 153mph," he said later. "I didn't realise how fast it was until the crowd cheered. I can feel when I hit it big, but if you're asking do I say to myself, 'Oh, that's it', I have no idea."

The 21-year-old from Florida has experienced similar moments twice before this year. In February, playing against Austria in the first round of the Davis Cup in Uncasville, Connecticut, Roddick served at 150 mph - 1mph faster than Greg Rusedski's record serve in Indian Wells, California, in 1998, which Roddick had equalled against Andre Agassi at Queen's last year.

Then, during the Easter weekend, a Roddick serve was timed at 152mph against Jonas Bjorkman in the Davis Cup quarter-final against Sweden, in Delray Beach, Florida.

As usual in the record serves department, Roddick's latest boomer required ratification. The data was sent to the South Africa headquarters of EDH timing systems. Roddick's serves in the Davis Cup were timed by the Florida-based IDS systems.

"Every time I hit it," Roddick said, mildly irritated, "it's a question. Maybe a whole bunch of [the machines] are wrong." Sebastien Grosjean, who also advanced to today's semi-finals after defeating Radek Stepanek, of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3, mentioned to a French colleague earlier in the tournament that he was surprised at the speed some of his own serves had registered. "It's tough to say," Roddick commented.

"Obviously the conditions are lighter on grass, and you see a lot of people putting up big numbers on grass." Not that Roddick spends much time mulling over record serves. "I'm not going to say much about it," he said. "It still counts as one point."

Roddick, the defending champion, knows that he will have to serve and return with consistency when he plays the agile baseliner Lleyton Hewitt, of Australia - the 2002 Wimbledon champion and three times a winner at the Stella - for a place in tomorrow's final.

Hewitt, who defeated Igor Andreev, of Russia, in the quarter-finals, 6-3, 7-5, won his three previous matches against Hewitt in 2001, the American's rookie year. In their last meeting, in the quarter-finals of the US Open, Roddick took Hewitt to five sets. "There's no better preparation for Wimbledon than to play someone like Lleyton," Roddick said. Hewitt made the point that Roddick's game has moved on since they last played against each other. "He will have gained a lot of confidence from what he did at the US Open," Hewitt said. "That what I was able to do the year [2002] I won here." Hewitt's form has become more impressive round by round, and he had to be sharp yesterday to defeat Andreev, the 20-year-old from Moscow who eliminated Andre Agassi in the second round.

Having lost his serve twice in the opening set, Andreev gained the initiative in the second set, winning the opening two games and holding two break points for 4-1. He also held two set points as Hewitt served at 5-3.

"I didn't believe I was out of the second set at all," said Hewitt, who broke back for 5-5 and converted his second match point with a backhand return. "It's good that I'm getting a few matches under my belt," Hewitt said. "It's difficult to come here and play well after playing on clay through to the quarter-finals at the French Open." Tim Henman needs no reminding of that.

Apart from serving with customary vigour, Roddick has been sharpening his volleying. "Brad [Gilbert, his coach] and I spent a lot of time after Paris making sure that when I hit a volley I'm really committed to it and not tentative. As Brad says, 'Even if you miss it, make it a physical volley'."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links