The fastest men in SW19

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The Independent Online
The top tennis players are rarely slow in coming forward but none it would seem is prepared to claim they are the fastest server in the game, writes Paul Morgan.

Every year at Wimbledon arguments rage over who's the quickest and the best off the mark and IBM do their level best to settle the rows with their Centre Court speedgun.

This year several men are vying for the title of the fastest gun in SW19 and all reckon one of the others is the master-blaster of Wimbledon.

The fastest Centre Court service so far was by Japan's Shuzo Matsuoka who clocked 133mph, just ahead of Mark Philippoussis and the Dutchman Richard Krajicek.

Philippoussis would seem to take the plaudits because of a second serve only slightly slower but he will have nothing of it.

Philippoussis, or Scud as he is known on the circuit, says the triple champion Pete Sampras is top dog. "When he [Sampras] gets on a roll he feels he can go for any part of the line," said Philippoussis, who served 44 aces at Wimbledon.

Sampras, beaten in the the quarter-finals this year, disagrees and brings the Croat Goran Ivanisevic into the argument. "You've got no chance when Goran gets it in. You just have to guess at certain points," Sampras said of Ivanisevic who shot down 115 aces at the championships, serving once at 127mph.

Ask the 1991 winner, Michael Stich, and he can't tell the two men apart. "Goran and Pete are the most difficult to play on grass," Stich said.