- Ivo Karlovic – 6ft 11
- Reilly Opelka – 6ft 11
- John Isner – 6ft 10
- Kevin Anderson – 6ft 8
As the years have gone by, tennis players just seem to have become taller and taller.
And I’m not just talking MODERATELY TALLER EITHER.
As you can see from the players mentioned above, these guys are absolute giants, and they wouldn’t even look out of place if they were to take to an NBA court in all honesty!
If you’ve ever seen these guys actually playing a match, they really do look LIKE MAN MOUNTAINS OUT THERE.
And as you probably already know, there is a direct connection between how tall a player is and how big they can serve.
In fact, two of the guys from this list are responsible for some of the biggest serves ever recorded.
John Isner managed to hit a serve at 157.2mph at the 2016 Davis Cup.
And right behind him, you have Ivo Karlovic, who managed to hit a serve at 156mph at the 2011 Davis Cup.
I can only imagine the difficulty that players must have had in returning serves coming down at that kind of speed.
And it’s not just the speed of the serve that causes issues either. It’s also the angle of the serve raining down from such a height.
So what are some other feats that these guys have achieved besides being so tall?
Well, let’s continue to find out.
Man Mountains on the ATP Tour
Each of the four guys mentioned below is taller than 6ft 8 inches, which is pretty STAGGERING, to be honest.
But besides their miraculous height, let’s see what else these guys have been able to gain recognition for in their careers!
1) Ivo Karlovic
Karlovic has managed to gain a nickname as ‘Dr. Ivo’, because of the way that he just slices people apart with his serve – much like a surgeon would do to a patient.
This much-loved Croatian has been on the tour for many years as well.
And at the time of writing, he is still competing at the ripe old age of 42.
What I love about Karlovic is that he’s an old-school serve and volley player as well.
So when he rains down his serve he is immediately charging into the net and looking for his first volley.
I’ve actually had the pleasure of being able to WATCH THIS MAN PLAY LIVE, at the US Open.
And it amazes me how tight he got to the net when volleying.
But then again, I guess that’s what you can do when you have such a huge wingspan!
People often forget that Karlovic has been ranked as high as number 14 in the world too, despite his somewhat ‘outdated’ style of play.
And most impressively, he is the all-time leader for aces, with more than 13,700 to his name!
2) Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka is the joint tallest tennis player to ever play the game, alongside the one and only Ivo Karlovic.
Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, Opelka has one of the biggest serves on tour right now.
I wouldn’t say that he is a fantastic spot server, but the speed and height that his serve comes down from is enough to help him hold serve easily most times.
Opelka has actually been ranked as high as number 19 in the world too, which is FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE.
And in my opinion, he has one of the best kick serves in the game.
I can remember watching him play at the US Open against Fabio Fognini, and poor old Fabio was hitting his returns above shoulder height most of the time.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
And perhaps most amazingly, Opelka has had some good results on the clay courts in his career.
This is most unusual for a taller guy, but I guess it’s a credit to the quality of his serve and how he is able to battle during the rallies too.
3) John Isner
Now we have the huge serving American, John Isner.
Of all the big guys I have been talking about here, John Isner has been the most successful on a CONSISTENT BASIS.
He is actually regarded as one of the best servers to ever play the game.
This is backed up by the fact that he has hit more than 13,200 aces in his career, and that he has the fastest recorded serve (official) of all time at 157.2mph.
Note that there have been faster serves than this, but the ATP hasn’t officially recognized them due to unregulated equipment.
Isner has been ranked as high as number 8 in the world.
And in my opinion, he also has the best groundstrokes out of the guys mentioned here.
He plays a super attacking style of tennis, hitting big forehands and taking his backhand early.
But he is also a decent mover for a guy of his height – 6ft 10 inches.
4) Kevin Anderson
Last but not least, we have Kevin Anderson.
This formidable South African has been ranked as high as number 5 in the world, which is actually the highest of the four guys I’ve talked about here.
Anderson is also one of the only guys to have PERFORMED WELL at the Grand Slam level.
He has reached the finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon – two feats that helped to push his ranking into the top 5. At 6ft 8 inches, Anderson has a SMOKING SERVE TOO.
He seems to hit his spots a little better than guys like Opelka, and he also moves well along the baseline.
Anderson also makes full use of his rather large levers by hitting big on both the backhand and forehand wings.
I love his temperament on the court too, fighting to the very end but remaining calm and positive throughout.
He is also the holder of the second-longest match in Grand Slam history too, sharing the title with John Isner for their 2018 Wimbledon semi-final.
After 6 hours and 36 minutes, Anderson managed to wriggle through to the finals, which must have been demoralizing for big John!
Did you enjoy this piece? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.