SMT/IDS Celebrates 25 years of Measuring Tennis’ Fastest Serves

SMT/IDS (Information and Display Systems), a division of SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology), celebrates 25 years as the leading supplier of serve speed clock systems to the WTA and ATP, the governing bodies of professional women’s and men’s tennis circuits.

In the world of professional sports, tennis has emerged as the most technologically advanced. No other sport has been as successful in integrating real-time data and analytics. This year, SMT/IDS marks 25 years since introducing one of the first major technological advances in tennis: the serve-speed system, developed by SMT/IDS and first used in 1989 at the Key Biscayne tournament. SMT/IDS continues to be the leading technology provider for tennis’ greatest tournaments, providing groundbreaking statistical integration, broadcast graphics and on-site video boards.

SMT/IDS has positioned itself as the only supplier of serve speed systems at tennis Grand Slam tournaments (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open), starting with Wimbledon in 1989. In 1992, the SMT/IDS began supplying the clocks for the US Open. At this year’s US Open, the speed clocks are available on all six TV-ready courts. SMT/IDS’ software guarantees accuracy of plus-or-minus 1 to 2 mph.

This year, Sabine Lisicki broke Venus Williams’ 2007 US Open record of 129.2 mph for the fastest serve in women’s tennis, hitting a 131 mph strike against Ana Ivanovic in the opening round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University on July 29.

While top players don’t necessarily aim for the fastest serve as part of their winning strategy, fans love the speed clock.

“It's a fan-enhancement tool, not an official statistic," said Rallis Pappas, president of SMT/IDS. “The ATP and WTA tours do not consider Serve Speeds official stats, but we’ve been supplying data to both tours as part of our contribution to the sport, and as a way to provide more interest and excitement for tennis fans around the world.”

Click here to see the database for top 10 fastest serves in the SMT/IDS database since 1989.

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