Great Britain’s Andy Murray may have a more serious issue on his hands than the match fixing scandal that caused him to whine about the presence of William Hill ads at the Australian Open.
He risks being on the wrong end of some high velocity tennis balls courtesy of Australian Sam Groth, owner of the fastest serve in the game. Former Australian Davis Cup stalwart Wayne Arthurs, himself the possessor of a powerful serve that he used to support a 17-year career in professional tennis, advises Groth that changing things up a bit from time to time would be a wise strategy to employ against Murray, such as hitting a few at a mere 200 km/h instead of ratcheting it all the way up to the 263km/h of which Groth is capable.
Murray did not get to where he is today by not being able to return pace serves, so it will be necessary for Groth to keep Murray off balance and prevent him from establishing a rhythm that results in returns coming back as fast as they came in.
Groth does not rely entirely upon pace. His low-ball toss automatically provides trouble for returners, making it hard for them to reliably pick the location of the serve.
Playing surfaces have slowed down in tennis’ modern era, somewhat diminishing the advantage of big servers, but Groth’s pace is still difficult to appreciate on television. Spectators will hear a thunderous boom as Groth’s racquet makes contact, followed by the real risk of whiplash when they twist their necks to try to pick up the ball.