I read an article by Rohit Brijnath about the everyday enormity of what sportsmen do. He describes what a Brett Lee ball can do to one of us non-cricketers if we do the foolhardy act of facing it. He also describes how he once faced Ramesh Krishnan and Paes and before his brain had reacted, let alone his body, the ball had passed him!
Krishnan was so 'slow' that McEnroe claimed that he fell asleep waiting for his serve to reach him.
This reminded me of my high school experience. Mysore, August 1969. The Mysore Tennis Club's inauguration and there was a tournament. We schoolboys gate crashed and were standing behind the service line to watch the matches. There were 'big' names of Indian tennis laying there. We were repeatedly requested by the chair umpire to move away so that the players could have more space. We did not budge. The matches continued.
Then came a stylish (read long haired and wearing short shorts) player, not very tall. We did not know him. He was Shashi Menon. Studying in the US and being coached there. If there were rankings in those days he did not figure in the list, perhaps. His serve was so fast that we saw the throw, the swing of the racket and then only heard the thwack behind us on the bamboo matting! We scampered away for dear life.
What the umpire’s repeated pleas could not do, one serve did. Unforgettable. Confirms what Rohit wrote.