Andy Roddick holds the record for the fastest serve ever—a 155-mph bomb during a Davis Cup match in 2004. He routinely serves in the high 130s, and his second serve often matches the speed of his opponent’s first serve. Roddick is, without a doubt, the most powerful server to ever walk the earth.
Roddick uses a unique service motion, unlike those of other pro players. Instead of a big and slow backswing with a smooth follow through, he uses an abbreviated backswing and a forceful explosion up through the ball. Some may wonder how this dramatic motion doesn’t injure his shoulder, but Roddick actually downplays the role of his arm and shoulder in his serve.
In a recent feature on Yahoo! Sports, the former World No. 1-ranked player explains that he’s able to generate a powerful serve by using his legs. He demonstrates using only his arm, and it takes about 40 mph off his speed. Suggesting that anyone looking to increase their speed should focus on their lower body, Roddick says, “[The speed of the serve] comes from the legs. It comes from having a strong trunk, [but] people don’t always think about that first.”
In addition, the force generated via the legs must be efficiently transferred through the body to the racquet. This is accomplished by having a tremendously strong core.
For athletes like Roddick, superior fitness doesn't come overnight. Years of hard work and dedication in the weight room have helped him enhance his already enormous talent and serve away his competition.
To increase your serve speed, improve your lower body explosive strength by using Clint Mathis' Explosive Box Squat. To develop your core, check out Peyton Manning performing Med Ball Rotational Throws.
Look for Roddick to make a splash at the 2010 U.S. Open.
Photo: Phil Gilham/Getty Images Europe