TECH

Watch Tennis Serve At 142 Miles Per Hour Turn Balls To Mush

01/07/2015 14:24 BST | Updated 01/07/2015 14:59 BST

As Wimbledon spectators watch this year's games in the sweltering heat and get caught up in the drama of game, set and match, few will take time to think about what actually happens to the ball when it hits the racket at a high speed.

However, if this video is anything to go by, the thought is well worth our attention.

Watching a ball hit a racket at a 142 miles per hour (mph) in slow motion shows some spectacular physics at work.

Recorded at a rate of 6,000 frames per second, the video shows a solid, well defined sphere completely lose form when it hits the mesh of a tightly strung racket.

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To the naked eye, the time that passes between a toss and an ace is barely tangible but a lot has to happen for the ball to gain a respectable speed.

According to Popular Mechanics during a 120 mph serve, the racket comes into contact with the ball for around five milliseconds.

After this contact time, the ball's acceleration rate is astonishingly fast. Dr Simon Foster, an astrophysicist at Imperial College London told The Telegraph that it 'briefly experiences acceleration fifty times that of the sun's gravity.'

The current record for the fastest tennis serve is held by Australian Samuel Groth at 163.7 mph.

While a serve like this is yet to be captured in slow motion, it is worth sparing a thought for the humble yellow balls being subjected to the extraordinary forces of physics as we tuck in to our strawberries and cream.