From familiar faces dominating the men’s list to some emerging new names serving their way to the top of the women’s list, here are the Top 5 ace leaders for both the ATP and WTA tours in 2020:
Top 5 women's ace leaders in 2020
#5: Jennifer Brady (149 aces)
The American had a breakthrough year highlighted by her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, as well as her first two Top 10 wins—including her first win over a No. 1, beating Ashleigh Barty in Brisbane right before the Australian Open. Having started the year at No. 55, she climbed to a career-high of No. 24 by year-end, and 149 aces in 28 matches were definitely a factor in that rise.
#4: Garbine Muguruza (160 aces)
The two-time major champion and former No. 1 is best known for her powerful groundstrokes, but her serve caught fire in 2020, too—she hit 160 aces in 30 matches. She ripped 33 of those aces en route to her fourth major final at the Australian Open, where she fell to Sofia Kenin—that run in Melbourne propelled her from No. 32 to No. 16, though, and she finished 2020 one spot higher at No. 15.
#3: Aryna Sabalenka (165 aces)
The Belarusian is one of the fastest servers on the women’s tour, but in 2020 she started hitting the corners more consistently than ever before, racking up 165 aces in 37 matches. It was arguably the best year of her career—she picked up three titles, including the equal-biggest title of her career at the Premier 5 event in Doha, and finished the year at No. 10, the first Top 10 finish of her career.
#2: Serena Williams (178 aces)
For the first time since 2016, Serena finishes a season as one of the Top 2 women’s ace leaders—that year she finished second to Karolina Pliskova. In 2020 she belted 178 aces in 20 matches, an average of just under nine a match. And 70 of those aces came during her run to the semifinals of the US Open, which tied her own tournament record—from 1999—for most aces hit by a woman at one US Open.
#1: Elena Rybakina (193 aces)
Not many players had a hotter first few months of 2020 than Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, who started the year at No. 37 and surged to No. 17 by mid-March when the rankings were frozen, having won 21 of her first 25 matches of the year—and her serve was a huge part of that rise. By the end of the year she’d hit 193 aces in 39 total matches to finish as the WTA’s ace leader for the first time.
Top 5 men's ace leaders in 2020
#5: Reilly Opelka (374 aces)
The American No. 3 served up 374 aces in 19 matches in 2020—an average of 20 aces a match—and pulled off a number of career-firsts along the way, including reaching his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal at Cincinnati (in New York). He also won his second ATP title at Delray Beach and scored the biggest win of his career against a No. 6-ranked Daniil Medvedev in St. Petersburg in October.
#4: Andrey Rublev (411 aces)
The Russian put together some incredible numbers in 2020, winning five titles (more than anyone else) and 41 matches (tied for most with Novak Djokovic). But he also ripped 411 aces in 51 matches this year, which puts him at fourth on the ATP’s ace leaders list. He’s hitting more and more aces every year, too—he had 181 in 2017, 239 in 2018, 322 in 2019 and now cracks 400 for the first time.
#3: Alexander Zverev (422 aces)
People tend to talk about Zverev’s double faults, but in 2020 he hit almost twice as many aces—he had 422 aces to 220 double faults across 39 matches, an average of 11 aces to six double faults per match. The German had a breakthrough year at the Slams, reaching his first major semifinal at the Australian Open then his first major final at the US Open. Can he serve up his first major title in 2021?
#2: John Isner (425 aces)
Just edging Zverev for second place was Isner, who hit 425 aces in 20 matches—an incredible 21 aces per match. Combine that with just 64 double faults for the year, an average of three double faults a match, and you can see why he’s one of toughest players to break on the tour. With 12,365, the American has the second-most aces in ATP history after Ivo Karlovic, who’s currently at 13,619.
#1: Milos Raonic (529 aces)
Leading the tour with over 100 aces more than second place is Raonic, who belted 529 aces across 32 matches in 2020. It was somewhat of a season of revival for the Canadian, who started the year outside the Top 30 and finished it at No. 14—his highlights included reaching the 10th Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career at the Australian Open and his fourth career Masters 1000 final at Cincinnati (in New York), as well as winning nine of his last 11 matches of the year in the fall indoor season.
Also, Raonic’s 529 aces in 2020 pushed him past Greg Rusedski and Richard Krajicek and into the Top 10 most aces in ATP history at No. 10 (since the ATP started tracking ace leaders in 1991). He now trails only No. 1 Karlovic, No. 2 Isner, No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic, No. 5 Feliciano Lopez, No. 6 Andy Roddick, No. 7 Pete Sampras, No. 8 Sam Querrey and No. 9 Ivan Ljubicic.