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John Isner passes Ivo Karlovic for the career aces record in the Wimbledon third round.

John Isner Sets New World Record For Aces Served

American passes Karlovic for record

With his fifth ace on Friday in his Wimbledon third-round match against Jannik Sinner, John Isner broke the world record for aces on the ATP Tour. The 6-foot-10 American now stands alone with 13,748 untouchable serves and counting, passing Ivo Karlovic's previous leading mark of 13,728. Record-keeping began in 1991 with ATP Match Stats, part of the Infosys ATP Scores & Stats Centre.

Isner needed just two service games to break the record Friday on Wimbledon's No. 2 Court, firing the record-breaking ace at 1-1, 15/30. He finished the match with 24 aces in a 4-6, 6-7(4), 3-6 defeat.

"I'm actually very proud of that record," Isner reflected post-match. "I wish I could have broken it in a win, but to have set the all-time aces record at Wimbledon I think is very special. It's a credit to — in my mind — how professional I've been to keep myself healthy for such a long time, to keep myself on the court to give myself the opportunity to hit those aces.

"It is something I'm actually pretty proud of. I don't pat myself on the back too much, but this one I think is pretty cool."

Before he broke the record, Isner discussed the potential longevity of the new mark.

"I'll keep playing, keep adding to my total," he said. "I don't know if it will get broken. I could be up there for a long time."

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The American also leads the 2022 ace race with 653 on the season following Friday's match. The 37-year-old has finished first on the ATP Tour in aces in seven seasons and eclipsed the 1,000-aces mark seven times, including a career-high of 1,260 in 2015. Isner accomplished both feats for the first time in 2010 after turning pro in 2007 following a standout career at the University of Georgia. 

As Isner closed in on the aces record, Andy Roddick helped settle a debate on Twitter about who has the better serve between the two: "Isner's serve is the best ever," he wrote, backing up the opinion of longtime Georgia head coach Manny Diaz. "I'd trade my old one for his immediately without thinking twice."

Behind his booming serve, Isner has won 92 per cent of his service games, including 79 per cent of first-serve points. He's also saved 71 per cent of break points. With an intimidating game built around that standout strength, Isner has won 16 tour-level titles and reached a career-high of No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2018.

Isner Aces  Year ATP Tour Rank
1,260 2015 2
1,213 2018 1
1,159 2016 1
1,123 2017 1
1,048 2010 1
1,032 2019 1
1,005 2012 1
989 2014 3
979 2013 1

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ATPTour.com asked some of his big-serving colleagues what makes the American's serve so special. Reilly Opelka, Milos Raonic and Sam Querrey all pointed to Isner's technique and mechanics — more than his towering height — as the key to his success.  

Opelka: “Obviously he has height, but technically he has a perfect motion. He is easily the best server of all time. Even now I think John has got the majority of his aces later on in the Tour. When Ivo [Karlovic] was first playing, the courts were faster and guys weren’t returning as well. People weren’t as big. For me it is no question John is the greatest server. The past six years the courts have been slower and that is when he has played his best tennis. Against Novak and Delpo and Cilic. These big guys who return well. To have the number and record in this era says it all.

“He has another gear. If you look at his motion on a 30/0 point, the intensity is lower. You see it when you return against him because you are so locked in trying to return and find anything. At 30/0 it will come off seven or eight mph slower, he won’t bend his knees as much. But it is still a natural motion. On a bigger point it comes in nine or 10 mph quicker."

Cilic: “Considering John, even though he has great height, which helps for the serve, he has one of the best techniques on the Tour. It is not easy to create that. He is a big guy. I know myself it is not easy to put everything together. The serve is probably the toughest shot we have in tennis. It is extremely technical and hats off to him for keeping his level of serving for so long and his game so high to play long into tournaments and have such great results. It is incredible to have this kind of a guy on the Tour along with Karlovic and other incredible servers.”

Querrey: “When it comes to John Isner’s serve, I think 95 per cent of players would say that it is the greatest serve of all time. And it is not just because he is tall. His mechanics are great and he does a great job of placement. He can slide it, hit it flat and hit a kick serve. I think the most impressive thing about it is late in matches, I feel he makes a ton of first serves. I don’t know if there is a stat from 5/5 or something in tie-breaks, but it must be so high. He deserves the record. He is not only an incredible server but an incredible player. He has been around the Top 20 for 10 or 11 years. He is not just a server, but to have that record is cool.”

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