What is an Ace in Tennis?

It’s puzzling and frustrating to play or watch a game you don’t fully understand. Many people lack adequate knowledge about tennis, especially its rules, the court, and some terminologies. Here’s a brief explanation for what is an ace in tennis and a list of commonly-asked questions.

Why Is It Called an Ace in Tennis?

In tennis terminology, an ace is a serve that lands successfully in the service box without touching the net, and the receiver is unable to touch it with their racquet. It doesn’t have to be very swift and powerful. Nevertheless, fast and powerful serves often produce aces as the opposing player has less time to react, much less return the serve. 

A sports journalist first coined this tennis jargon. It has been suggested that there is a link between the term and World War 1. Fighter pilots who were successful at shooting down enemy planes were called “aces.”

tennis ace

How Do You Hit It?

There are techniques to hit an ace in a tennis game, although the skill of your opponent is an impediment to scoring one.

A spin and a powerful and/or fast serve are ways to hit an ace as your opponent may have less time to react and touch the ball. 

Pure deception is another way. Try to disguise the direction where the ball lands on the service box. If the opponent expects a powerful serve, they might be standing near the service line.

Give a drop-shot instead, and the chances are slim for your opponent to hit the ball.

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Can a Player Hit an Ace With a Second Serve?

A second serve happens when the player in a game has already made a fault on the point or misses the first serve. 

A server can hit an ace with a second serve, although attempting this is risky. Most players tend to be extra-cautious because missing the hit means losing the point to the opponent.

They often focus more on hitting the tennis ball that is difficult to attack. Hence, it’s more of a conservative hit to avoid the double fault.

To date, Novak Djokovic holds the most number of second serves aces, followed by Roger Federer and Gael Monfils.


The highest number of aces among all tennis players goes to Ivo Karlovic, a Croatian professional tennis player. He has served more than 13,600 aces in his entire career. He also holds the most aces in the Australian Open match beating Horacio Zeballos.

Yes, an ace is a winner. When the opponent is unable to touch the ball with their tennis racquet, the player earns a point in this sport. Sometimes, a player scores an ace when a ball lands on the side where the opponent is unable to reach or return successfully.

In a tennis match, an ace is equivalent to a single point. No score is given if the ball hits the net or the baseline. If the player makes a let, there will be a chance to score an ace.

Sam Querrey has the most aces in a row while playing against James Blake at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships in 2007.

The fastest ace in tennis history goes to Sam Groth at 263 km/h during a 2012 challenger match. However, this wasn’t officially recognized by the ATP. Therefore, the record went to John Isner instead at 253 km/hr during a 2016 Davis Cup match.

The most aces hit in a US Open match was by Ivo Karlovic during his 2016 competition against Yen-Hsun Lu. He garnered 61. He bested the record of Andy Roddick in 2013.

Goran Ivanisevic holds the record for the most aces in a season. This feat occurred in 1996, wherein he served 1,477 aces in a tennis game.

Understanding the Term "Ace" in Tennis

To know how to play the tennis sport and to enjoy spectating in official games or tournaments, you need to understand not just its rules, the tennis court, and types of matches but also some terminologies (e.g., love, let, server’s side, racket head, ace). 

Ace is the serve that lands on the service box without being returned by the receiver. There’s more than one way to score an ace in a game. The contents of this article provide an overview of some techniques to get an ace and the best players that made history in tennis.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/24748668.2010.11868509https:
  2. //www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/24748668.2018.1466259

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