What Is An Ace In Tennis?

what is an ace in tennis

An ace in tennis is a serve that is successfully hit by the server but not touched by the receiver (returner), resulting in a point for the server. This can happen either because the serve is extremely powerful, accurately placed, or a combination of both.

This powerful and strategic move is a key part of a player’s arsenal and can be a game-changing element in a tennis match.

Aces are most commonly seen in professional tennis due to the high level of skill and power required to execute such serves consistently.

Types of Aces

  1. Flat Ace: This is a power-driven serve, usually traveling at high speeds straight through the air without much spin. It is often aimed down the center of the service box for maximum speed.
  2. Slice Ace: Incorporating sidespin, this serve curves away from the opponent, making it hard to reach. It’s often used to target the opponent’s weaker side.
  3. Kick Ace: Utilizing topspin, this serve bounces high off the ground, potentially going over the receiver’s reach or forcing an awkward return.

Impact on the Game

Aces are particularly valuable as they are direct point winners without the need for a rally. They can be especially crucial in tight matches, where breaking an opponent’s serve can be challenging.

Players with a high number of aces often have a significant advantage, as they can hold their service games more easily.

Records and Notable Players

Most Aces In a Match

John Isner with 113 aces in one match at Wimbledon in 2010.

Most Aces In a Season

Goran Ivanisevic with 1,477 aces in the 1996 season.

Most Career Aces

John Isner with over 14,470 aces in his career.

Players With The Best Serves Of All Time

  • Ivo Karlovic: Known as one of the greatest servers of all time, Karlovic is 2nd for the most career aces. Standing at 6’11”, his serve combines massive speed with a high bounce, making it extremely difficult for opponents to return.
  • John Isner: An American with a formidable serve, Isner holds the record for the fastest serve at 157.2 mph.
  • Serena Williams: Dominating the women’s game, Serena’s serve is considered one of the best ever. She consistently serves at high speeds and backs it up with an aggressive playing style.
  • Roger Federer: While not the fastest server, Federer’s serve is highly effective due to its accuracy, placement, and variation. He ranks high in the all-time aces count and is known for his ability to disguise his serves effectively.
  • Goran Ivanisevic: A powerful left-handed server, Ivanisevic was known for his fast serve and attacking game style. His serve-and-volley approach made him one of the best servers in tennis history.
  • Andy Roddick: Once considered the fastest server in tennis history, Roddick’s serve reached 155 mph. He was known for his powerful serve and iconic serve motion.
  • Pete Sampras: Known for his strong and accurate serves, Sampras utilized his serve to gain a significant advantage in matches. His serve was a crucial part of his success, earning him the nickname “Pistol Pete.”

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