Hitting a good serve in tennis takes more than just power. You need precision, placement and, in some cases, spin to pull off a winner serve. Here are the Top 5 best WTA servers based on stats from the 2022 season.
Indeed, the WTA’s best servers are those that can serve with top speeds, pinpoint precision, heavy “kick,” or a combination of these attributes. One of the things former world No.1 Ashleigh Barty was notorious for was an incredibly high win percentage on her serves despite a somewhat average service speed. Keeping this in mind, the following list has been gathered based on information regarding each player’s first and second serve percentages and the number of matches played this year.
5. Iga Swiatek serve
Some may be surprised to see Iga Swiatek make this list despite her being the world number one with an incredible run of success this year. This is because she does not strike us as the type of player to dominate with big serves. The two-time French Open champion’s success has always been a result of her ability to grind out rallies and come out on top by turning defense into offense.
However, to open up these opportunities, Iga Swiatek employs a heavy kick serve that bounces up high and forces her opponents back. It may not be the biggest ace generator on the Hologic WTA Tour, but it sure opens the door for a clean winner on the next shot more often than not. As such, Swiatek currently has one of the most successful service game percentages on Tour, with 64.1% of her first serves going in and 66.7% of those serves translating into a winning point.
4. Ons Jabeur serve
The “second-in-command” on the Hologic WTA Tour, Ons Jabeur has played a staggering 46 matches so far and delivered 149 aces in the process. Unfortunately for the Tunisian, her first serve percentage is quite low, scoring at 56.7% this year with 88 double faults to accompany that. However, you can be sure that when that first serve does go in, you’re in big danger!
The Arab number one has secured a convincing 68% of first serves won, one of the highest percentages out of any WTA player that has played a reasonable number of matches this year. Jabeur has also secured the fifth highest number of aces served this year alongside Aryna Sabalenka. However, the difference in double faults between the two is huge, with Jabeur only having 88 double faults compared with Sabalenka’s 233 double faults this year alone.
3. Maria Sakkari serve
She’ll be glad to have made this list because world No.3 Maria Sakkari’s favorite shot is her serve. Blasting them down the T, the Greek incorporates everything you could ever want in a serve; lightning-fast speed, pinpoint precision, and a whole lot of topspin. It’s no wonder the 27-year-old has the third highest number of aces served in 2022, the perfect feat to go with her third-place ranking on the WTA ladder.
Sakkari has had her fair share of double faults this year which brings her overall first serve percentage down to 57.9%, however, she has won 70.3% of her first serves that do go in. One of the highest first serve win percentages currently on Tour, she has equalled Madison Keys in this regard, though Sakkari has played over ten matches more than the American. There are few that can compete with the powerhouse Greek as far as service games go, having won more than 76% of her service games, second only to the next two players on this list.
2. Caroline Garcia serve
World number 45 Caroline Garcia takes a more straightforward approach to her serve, applying plenty of racquet head speed and a very high ball toss. Her hitting motion starts all the way behind her shoulder as she whips the racquet all the way through the ball and follows through to finish beside her left hip. This enormous serving motion and extra high ball toss give the Frenchwoman time to take a more exaggerated swing at the ball, and her flat service motion provides extra speed that takes more time away from her opponents.
Garcia’s serve is undoubtedly one of the most lethal shots on the Hologic WTA Tour this year.
Despite the high-risk nature of hitting fast and flat serves, the 28-year-old has managed to keep errors to a minimal, with only 108 double faults and a first serve percentage of 60.8%. Of these, Garcia has won almost 70% of her first serve points. This is a clear indicator of the advantage it brings to her game and a testimony to her ability to keep errors low while pouncing on the opportunities that her service game opens up.
1. Elena Rybakina serve
Needing no introduction, the 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina is notorious for her high-power game and most definitely the strong serve that comes with that. At 1.84 meters tall, the Russian-born Kazakhstani plays to her advantages from the serve to the groundstrokes and volleys, applying constant pressure onto her opponents. Currently, Elena Rybakina has served 221 aces in her 38 matches this year, the highest of any WTA player.
To back this up, the 23-year-old also has the highest percentage of service games won of any woman who has played more than 20 matches this year. Oftentimes, a powerful first serve indicates a lackluster second serve, but Rybakina does well to keep her second serve win percentage above 50%, a stat that trumps most players on Tour. Keeping her service percentages high and her double fault count below 100 have been key factors to the Wimbledon champion’s spike in success this year, and we will certainly see more of Elena Rybakina before the season is over.