Groth spurt follows tough time for Sam

SAM Groth knows better than most it's not how many times you get knocked down in life, but how committed you are to getting back off the canvas and going again.

Tonight, the 27-year-old with the fastest serve in world tennis continues his inspiring fightback on and off the court against another Australian who has his own Hollywood script, Bernard Tomic.

Groth's is a heart-warming story of amazing determination to turn his life around after a shoulder injury and marriage bust-up halted his tennis career and saw him switch to his second love, playing AFL for the Vermont Eagles Football Club in suburban Melbourne.

He admitted splitting with tennis-playing, Slovakian-born wife Jarmila Gajdosova, who now plays under the Australian flag, took a heavy personal toll.

In an interview published shortly after his marriage failed in 2011, Groth said: "Six months ago I was married, I was travelling the world playing tennis. Now I'm 23, I'm single, I'm playing footy, I'm going out on weekends.

"It's a big change, but I'm embracing what's happened, and getting my life on track."

Within 12 months he was back on the tour, making a name for himself in an ATP Challenger match in South Korea where he fired down a serve at 263kmh - the fastest on record.

His world ranking is now moving faster than one of his feared bullet serves, up to No.81 in the world.

But in his second coming his game has so many more strings than just a huge serve.

Under a new fitness regime implemented by his coach, Ben Mathias, Groth's court mobility, shot selection and volleys are starting to come together as young Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis discovered in their second round battle. Tomic will have to deal with the new Groth tonight when they go head-to-head for a berth in the fourth round.

Tomic has also had plenty of off-court issues to deal with, but seems to be back in the headlines for all the right reasons and was highly impressive beating No.22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 6-4 7-6 7-6 in the second round.

"All that other stuff is in the past," Tomic said recently.

"I had a lot of stuff thrown my way - money, girls. It's very easy to get distracted, but now the job is to play tennis and do the job as good as I can."


Third round matches

Bernard Tomic v Sam Groth

Nick Kyrgios v Malek Jaziri

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