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View Full Version : An Underhand Serve. How Underhanded.


Cindysphinx
04-27-2009, 02:55 PM
I was playing practice doubles yesterday, in bright sun and huge heat.

One of my opponents was a woman I know well and practice with frequently. She has a good serve. But I have "solved" her serve. I know where to stand (well behind baseline) and what to do, so she doesn't get the cheap points off of me that she does off of people without my inside knowledge. Similarly, she uses her inside knowledge on me to punish my serve. It's all good.

So yesterday she is serving into the sun. She steps up to serve, announces the score clearly, and then serves underhand (!). I put on the afterburners and barely reach this ball before it bounces twice. I am lucky my back did not snap in two. I push it into the service box and we play out the point. Then she serves to my partner, a normal serve. Then she served to me -- another underhand serve. This time I was ready, and I got it back into play. The next time she served to me, she announced the score and I had my toes on the service line. She tossed in the air for her normal serve, so I backpedaled furiously and managed to be in position well enough to return the serve.

Same thing, again and again for a very long service game. I didn't miss any returns.

But I was kind of irked by this. I mean, I know it is within the rule. But there is something about that sort of thing that made steam come out of my ears. I mean, I'm thinking there was a reason Martina Hingis practically got stoned when she tried it.

My friend explained that the sun was bothering her and she had been double-faulting a lot (we were rotating people among the various doubles pairs and singles players, so this was my first chance to play against her that day), so she figured she'd just serve underhand. She cheerfully said that she had done it with one of the older players who doesn't move well, and she wasn't able to scurry back and forth like I had.

So. If we partner in a match and she starts doing this, should I say something?

JavierLW
04-27-2009, 02:59 PM
I was playing practice doubles yesterday, in bright sun and huge heat.

One of my opponents was a woman I know well and practice with frequently. She has a good serve. But I have "solved" her serve. I know where to stand (well behind baseline) and what to do, so she doesn't get the cheap points off of me that she does off of people without my inside knowledge. Similarly, she uses her inside knowledge on me to punish my serve. It's all good.

So yesterday she is serving into the sun. She steps up to serve, announces the score clearly, and then serves underhand (!). I put on the afterburners and barely reach this ball before it bounces twice. I am lucky my back did not snap in two. I push it into the service box and we play out the point. Then she serves to my partner, a normal serve. Then she served to me -- another underhand serve. This time I was ready, and I got it back into play. The next time she served to me, she announced the score and I had my toes on the service line. She tossed in the air for her normal serve, so I backpedaled furiously and managed to be in position well enough to return the serve.

Same thing, again and again for a very long service game. I didn't miss any returns.

But I was kind of irked by this. I mean, I know it is within the rule. But there is something about that sort of thing that made steam come out of my ears. I mean, I'm thinking there was a reason Martina Hingis practically got stoned when she tried it.

My friend explained that the sun was bothering her and she had been double-faulting a lot (we were rotating people among the various doubles pairs and singles players, so this was my first chance to play against her that day), so she figured she'd just serve underhand. She cheerfully said that she had done it with one of the older players who doesn't move well, and she wasn't able to scurry back and forth like I had.

So. If we partner in a match and she starts doing this, should I say something?

Actually it's a cool tactic to use if you can be sure that their serve is going to make someone run up and barely get to it so they have to pop it up for you.

But if they do it every single time, that's a little much. (because nobody will be all that surprised and you'll get pounded)

Usually if there is sun, I just change positions on the baseline or change my stance. It might seem uncomfortable but it cant be anymore out there then serving underhanded.

deluxe
04-27-2009, 03:07 PM
Serving underhand is fine. One of the women at my club went a whole season serving underhand at a high level. She had problems with her shoulder. She was probably a 5.5 with great volleys - she and her partner lost about two games over a whole season.

wao
04-27-2009, 03:10 PM
I was playing practice doubles yesterday, in bright sun and huge heat.

One of my opponents was a woman I know well and practice with frequently. She has a good serve. But I have "solved" her serve. I know where to stand (well behind baseline) and what to do, so she doesn't get the cheap points off of me that she does off of people without my inside knowledge. Similarly, she uses her inside knowledge on me to punish my serve. It's all good.

So yesterday she is serving into the sun. She steps up to serve, announces the score clearly, and then serves underhand (!). I put on the afterburners and barely reach this ball before it bounces twice. I am lucky my back did not snap in two. I push it into the service box and we play out the point. Then she serves to my partner, a normal serve. Then she served to me -- another underhand serve. This time I was ready, and I got it back into play. The next time she served to me, she announced the score and I had my toes on the service line. She tossed in the air for her normal serve, so I backpedaled furiously and managed to be in position well enough to return the serve.

Same thing, again and again for a very long service game. I didn't miss any returns.

But I was kind of irked by this. I mean, I know it is within the rule. But there is something about that sort of thing that made steam come out of my ears. I mean, I'm thinking there was a reason Martina Hingis practically got stoned when she tried it.

My friend explained that the sun was bothering her and she had been double-faulting a lot (we were rotating people among the various doubles pairs and singles players, so this was my first chance to play against her that day), so she figured she'd just serve underhand. She cheerfully said that she had done it with one of the older players who doesn't move well, and she wasn't able to scurry back and forth like I had.

So. If we partner in a match and she starts doing this, should I say something?I would only say something in a match if the other team starts anticipating the serve and starts pounding the ball. You at the net are in a dangerious position as you could get alot of balls directed at you or to the open angle especially if your partner doesn't move that well. I would IMO if they did that ask if they would prefer if you played back in an effort to cover the court better. Playing in alot of sun in Az, I change my service position/toss to see the ball better.

Venetian
04-27-2009, 09:05 PM
I played in my club's 4.0 league last year and had pretty good success serving underhand every so often. I would use it against some of the older guys with leg/knee problems. Sometimes I felt kind of bad about it, but it won points, so whatever. We were all playing to win anyway.

cak
04-27-2009, 09:12 PM
So. If we partner in a match and she starts doing this, should I say something?

Perhaps, "You go girl!!!"

I don't see how it's any cheaper than spin, lob or dink shots. All of which are part of the game. Now if it's not working it would be the same situation as a partner that keeps lobbing short, or dinking a bit too deep. At which point I might point out that as a strategy, it's not working well today.

imalil2gangsta4u
04-27-2009, 09:20 PM
Perhaps, "You go girl!!!"

I don't see how it's any cheaper than spin, lob or dink shots. All of which are part of the game. Now if it's not working it would be the same situation as a partner that keeps lobbing short, or dinking a bit too deep. At which point I might point out that as a strategy, it's not working well today.

LOL. That as pretty funny cak.

I would never use an underhand serve myself, but its not against the rules and you shouldnt get mad when someone does it. Just always be ready.

Steady Eddy
04-27-2009, 09:46 PM
Tennis is a "zero-sum game". You can't both win. There's only one winning person (or one winning team). If you didn't like it, that means it's a good shot for her to try. Couldn't someone also say that they don't like a serve that has too much power? The point of tennis isn't to hit shots to you that you like, it is to hit shots you don't like. If you want people to hit shots to you that you like, then give up competition and just rally. Some people are happier that way.

Danstevens
04-27-2009, 10:21 PM
But if they do it every single time, that's a little much. (because nobody will be all that surprised and you'll get pounded)


I agree, the point of the underhand serve is deception. When you do it all the time, you lose that important element of it and it generally gets punished.

Cindysphinx
04-28-2009, 03:45 AM
I'm surprised that underhand serves aren't universally viewed as the tools of small children and wusses.

I have only had one other person serve underhand to me. It was a mixed match. This guy was a 4.0, and we were beating him. He was serving fine. So he hits this underhand serve to me. I ran over and pushed it back. And the first thing I thought was, "Man, what a *tool.*" He then tried it later in the match and actually missed it wide, and I thought "Man, what an incompetent *tool.*"

I then played him again this year, so I warned my partner about his Tool-ish tendencies. Again, we were beating him. This time, he never tried serving underhand. I wonder why?

So, has anyone here served underhand when they didn't have a physical reason to do so? Man, I don't care if I am match point down and I know an underhand serve would win the point. I'm not doing it.

Well, I'm off to play this lady in singles. I'll let you know if she serves underhand . . . .

slick
04-28-2009, 04:53 AM
You seem to have a lot of issues regarding any strategy which is out of the ordinary and frequently use the term "noob" and "tool".

An underhand serve is completely legit. I play a #1 single player for a local college who is a 5.0 and he has a huga serve which I stand to return near the fence and can get it back most of the time. To bring me in he either serves and volleys or throws me a suprise underhand serve which is frequently an ace and I'm fast. I don't get mad at all. It's a great shot and very smart. You are obviously playing deep to get her serve back so she is making you play closer, out of your comfort zone. That's good tactics and smart tennis. If you can't handle that you are playing the wrong game.

A good local high school player had shoulder surgery and was not allowed to serve overhead. He hit a wicked side spin underhand serve for his whole season last year and won almost every match. He now serves overhead again but still throws in the underhand serve frequently and usually wins the point.

Finally, ever hear of a guy named Michael Chang. I seem to recall him winning a huge match against another guy named Ivan Lendle on the way to winning the French Open with, a "noob" "tool" underhand serve.

Stop whining all the time and just play.

innoVAShaun
04-28-2009, 05:17 AM
I admit, it does go beyond tennis principles. There's a huge difference between winning, and winning ugly.

I remember doing it at state districts. I have a pretty good serve, but for some reason I could not put my serve in on the ad-court. All day long, DFs on the ad-side. Finally, my partner looked at me in frustration and said "Whatever it takes, just put it in!" I dinked a few serves in we got crushed. So I decided to underhand serve it in. My opponent yelled "Bush League!" and quickly netted the ball. I told him I'd rather hit that than double fault. I was able to hold serves a few times more ever since. Was I wrong? We did end up winning that match in a 3rd set tie-break.

After that, I could hear all the teams around us talking about "He's the one that underhand serves." I didn't give a damn. I'd rather laugh and chuckle it off than get frustrated at myself for all the DFs.

JavierLW
04-28-2009, 06:18 AM
I admit, it does go beyond tennis principles. There's a huge difference between winning, and winning ugly.

I remember doing it at state districts. I have a pretty good serve, but for some reason I could not put my serve in on the ad-court. All day long, DFs on the ad-side. Finally, my partner looked at me in frustration and said "Whatever it takes, just put it in!" I dinked a few serves in we got crushed. So I decided to underhand serve it in. My opponent yelled "Bush League!" and quickly netted the ball. I told him I'd rather hit that than double fault. I was able to hold serves a few times more ever since. Was I wrong? We did end up winning that match in a 3rd set tie-break.

After that, I could hear all the teams around us talking about "He's the one that underhand serves." I didn't give a damn. I'd rather laugh and chuckle it off than get frustrated at myself for all the DFs.

Ya if your opponent gets frustrated about something that is completely legal, then that is his problem, dont worry about it.

It's stupid how sometimes people act like this whenever something comes up that THEY (from their own limited perspective) rarely see.

LuckyR
04-28-2009, 06:41 AM
I'm surprised that underhand serves aren't universally viewed as the tools of small children and wusses.

I have only had one other person serve underhand to me. It was a mixed match. This guy was a 4.0, and we were beating him. He was serving fine. So he hits this underhand serve to me. I ran over and pushed it back. And the first thing I thought was, "Man, what a *tool.*" He then tried it later in the match and actually missed it wide, and I thought "Man, what an incompetent *tool.*"

I then played him again this year, so I warned my partner about his Tool-ish tendencies. Again, we were beating him. This time, he never tried serving underhand. I wonder why?

So, has anyone here served underhand when they didn't have a physical reason to do so? Man, I don't care if I am match point down and I know an underhand serve would win the point. I'm not doing it.

Well, I'm off to play this lady in singles. I'll let you know if she serves underhand . . . .


Your commentary is the essential equivalent of the whining about "pushers" that the noobs complain about all the time. That is you (and they) have a preconceived notion of what "correct" or "superior" play is and anything that falls outside of this boundry is worth complaining about.

As long as a shot or strategy is not illegal it should be judged by it's results only. If it wins points it is a superior shot/strategy, if it doesn't it is a poor one. End of story.

As to not personally using a shot that will win you match point... why are you participating in matchplay again?

Venetian
04-28-2009, 06:46 AM
You seem to have a lot of issues regarding any strategy which is out of the ordinary and frequently use the term "noob" and "tool".

An underhand serve is completely legit. I play a #1 single player for a local college who is a 5.0 and he has a huga serve which I stand to return near the fence and can get it back most of the time. To bring me in he either serves and volleys or throws me a suprise underhand serve which is frequently an ace and I'm fast. I don't get mad at all. It's a great shot and very smart. You are obviously playing deep to get her serve back so she is making you play closer, out of your comfort zone. That's good tactics and smart tennis. If you can't handle that you are playing the wrong game.

A good local high school player had shoulder surgery and was not allowed to serve overhead. He hit a wicked side spin underhand serve for his whole season last year and won almost every match. He now serves overhead again but still throws in the underhand serve frequently and usually wins the point.

Finally, ever hear of a guy named Michael Chang. I seem to recall him winning a huge match against another guy named Ivan Lendle on the way to winning the French Open with, a "noob" "tool" underhand serve.

Stop whining all the time and just play.

Ok, let's keep it civil here. I don't think Cindy is whining, she just views the underhanded serve as some kind of cheap shot.

If it's within the rules though, and wins points; there's no reason not to do it. Other than getting angry with Cindy, I agree with everything you said.

Steady Eddy
04-28-2009, 07:07 AM
Cindy, since I know you're an advocate of The Code maybe you should consider this. I recall a section of The Code where he says that a player shouldn't complain about his opponents shot selection, i.e. "too many lobs", etc. He says, "As long as they are legal shots, it is his opponents choice.

Doesn't the underhand serve fall under this category? It's a legal serve, so if that's what she wants to do, then we have no right to complain.

slick
04-28-2009, 07:17 AM
I've seen many of her posts on this forum. She is pretty free with the insults calling others "noobs", "tools" and the like. She is usually completely off base in these comments and I'm just calling her out on it. I suppose she might think Fabrice Santoro is a tool because he hits unusual shots? There are a lot of winning styles in tennis especially at the club level, playing in an unorthodox manner does not make one a tool.

sureshs
04-28-2009, 07:41 AM
I would be offended if someone served underhanded to me. It kind of implies that I am not good enough to face real serves.

jrod
04-28-2009, 07:48 AM
[quote=LuckyR;3363654]...As long as a shot or strategy is not illegal it should be judged by it's results only. If it wins points it is a superior shot/strategy, if it doesn't it is a poor one. End of story....quote]


Agree completely. The only thing that matters here is the result.

Years ago, as a part of my evaluation for a 4.0 mens team, the Captain served me underhand. I handled it by slicing it back low to him on my way to net, he popped it up and my partner put it away.

magmasilk
04-28-2009, 08:24 AM
I mean, I'm thinking there was a reason Martina Hingis practically got stoned when she tried it.

I think the reason people/pros don't like underhanded serves is that they interprete it as some sort of insult. they are reading between the lines; interpreting intent. and hingis at the time i can see trying to be insulting or annoying. however, there is nothing inherently insulting about a drop shot, underhanded serve, or moonball ... especially if it is consistently effective.

OrangePower
04-28-2009, 08:25 AM
I have no issue with an opponent serving an underhand serve to me. To me, it's no different than an opponent hitting a dinky shot during a rally. In either case, it's not a good shot on their part, but it puts the onus on me to make them pay for it. If I punish them for it, they will stop doing it (or continue to be punished). But if I'm unable to take advantage of it, then it's my bad, not theirs.

Casey10s
04-28-2009, 08:44 AM
Cindy,

One of these reasons she may have serve underhanded is that she knew this would bother you. Part of playing winning tennis is to figure out what the other person does not like and exploit it. Some people I know will drop shot consistently until you cover the shot and hit it back offensively. After that, you may not see another drop shot.

Since you stated that you have figured out how to return her serve, she may have realized that too.

I wouldn't say anything to anybody about their shot selection except to complement them. If it is a legal shot, they have the right to hit it whenever they see fit.

Kostas
04-28-2009, 08:55 AM
One of the biggest serve's in my area was in a 3.5 singles tourney here recently. He has a 4.0+ serve but not very strong on the rest of his game.

He was in the 1st round in a super-tiebreak and was serving 3-6. He underhand served his opp. twice and won the next 7 points for a 10-6 win.

He won the tournament.

RoddickAce
04-28-2009, 09:24 AM
I'm surprised that underhand serves aren't universally viewed as the tools of small children and wusses.

I have only had one other person serve underhand to me. It was a mixed match. This guy was a 4.0, and we were beating him. He was serving fine. So he hits this underhand serve to me. I ran over and pushed it back. And the first thing I thought was, "Man, what a *tool.*" He then tried it later in the match and actually missed it wide, and I thought "Man, what an incompetent *tool.*"

I then played him again this year, so I warned my partner about his Tool-ish tendencies. Again, we were beating him. This time, he never tried serving underhand. I wonder why?

So, has anyone here served underhand when they didn't have a physical reason to do so? Man, I don't care if I am match point down and I know an underhand serve would win the point. I'm not doing it.

Well, I'm off to play this lady in singles. I'll let you know if she serves underhand . . . .

Well a lot of people do think so (it also looks very uncool imo), but if the returner can't handle it, why waste effort serving an overhead serve and not winning the point? This is like pushing with 30 cm long strokes, sure, it doesn't look cool and it's no fun, but they'd rather win matches over developing full strokes...and it works.

JavierLW
04-28-2009, 10:04 AM
I've seen many of her posts on this forum. She is pretty free with the insults calling others "noobs", "tools" and the like. She is usually completely off base in these comments and I'm just calling her out on it. I suppose she might think Fabrice Santoro is a tool because he hits unusual shots? There are a lot of winning styles in tennis especially at the club level, playing in an unorthodox manner does not make one a tool.

Ya your probably right about that.

It's been nice over the past few months to not have to constantly read about posts which mostly seem to just center about whether or not we should stick our noses down at someone for doing something (not whether they played fairly or were a good sport or are good players).

Keep in mind though that any argument you generate to the contrary is going to go unlistened to anyway, so dont take it too personally. There's no real need to call out something that's obvious anyway....

randomname
04-28-2009, 11:21 AM
I've seen many of her posts on this forum. She is pretty free with the insults calling others "noobs", "tools" and the like. She is usually completely off base in these comments and I'm just calling her out on it. I suppose she might think Fabrice Santoro is a tool because he hits unusual shots? There are a lot of winning styles in tennis especially at the club level, playing in an unorthodox manner does not make one a tool.

thats right, dont you dare let anyone on a message board get away with having opinions!

slick
04-28-2009, 11:57 AM
Yup. Opions about how everyone who doesn't play in just the right way is irritating, unsportsmanlike, noobish, a geek, uncool ...etc..etc. Yeah, she's entitled to those opinions. Just glad I don't have to play with her, not that I would anyways.

sureshs
04-28-2009, 12:06 PM
You seem to have a lot of issues regarding any strategy which is out of the ordinary and frequently use the term "noob" and "tool".

An underhand serve is completely legit. I play a #1 single player for a local college who is a 5.0 and he has a huga serve which I stand to return near the fence and can get it back most of the time. To bring me in he either serves and volleys or throws me a suprise underhand serve which is frequently an ace and I'm fast. I don't get mad at all. It's a great shot and very smart. You are obviously playing deep to get her serve back so she is making you play closer, out of your comfort zone. That's good tactics and smart tennis. If you can't handle that you are playing the wrong game.

A good local high school player had shoulder surgery and was not allowed to serve overhead. He hit a wicked side spin underhand serve for his whole season last year and won almost every match. He now serves overhead again but still throws in the underhand serve frequently and usually wins the point.

Finally, ever hear of a guy named Michael Chang. I seem to recall him winning a huge match against another guy named Ivan Lendle on the way to winning the French Open with, a "noob" "tool" underhand serve.

Stop whining all the time and just play.

She calls other people noobs and tools? I haven't come across this.

randomname
04-28-2009, 12:20 PM
I just love the fact that people have called Djokovic one of the biggest cheaters to ever play the game for using something perfectly within the rules (medical timeouts), yet Cindy is some kind of idiot for thinking that an underhand serve is bush league.

sureshs
04-28-2009, 12:26 PM
I just love the fact that people have called Djokovic one of the biggest cheaters to ever play the game for using something perfectly within the rules (medical timeouts), yet Cindy is some kind of idiot for thinking that an underhand serve is bush league.

Seems to be a forced comparison of two very different things said by very different people at very different points in time

randomname
04-28-2009, 12:40 PM
Seems to be a forced comparison of two very different things said by very different people at very different points in time

its a legitimate comparison, and both reactions seem to be almost universal

OrangePower
04-28-2009, 12:41 PM
I just love the fact that people have called Djokovic one of the biggest cheaters to ever play the game for using something perfectly within the rules (medical timeouts), yet Cindy is some kind of idiot for thinking that an underhand serve is bush league.

Well, I agree with you regarding the Cindy-bashing in this thread - there's simply no need for that.

But I disagree with your analogy.

The rules of tennis define a serve in terms of how it is used to start the point, and where it must land. But there is no mention regarding the stroke that must be used to perform the serve, just as there is no mention of the strokes to be used for any other shot. There's nothing implied either.

But with medical timeouts, they are explicitly intended to be used when a player experiences an injury. So if a player uses one when in fact there isn't really a legitimate injury, then I would consider that cheating. As for whether this is the case with Djokovic, I really don't know.

Cindysphinx
04-28-2009, 01:14 PM
Let me see if I can help here.

First, the rules and Code tell us how the game *can* be played.

Beyond that, the rules and Code do not tell us what is cool and uncool.

On this board, opinions on what is cool -- what is gamesmanship, what is unsporting, what is Seriously Lame Behavior -- differ widely.

One one end of the spectrum, there are some who say they will do anything to win a point or a match.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who say there are some things they simply will not do even if the rules allow it. We have had a few recent examples of this in just the past few days. One TT member won't overrule his partner on a line call because politeness to his partner trumps the Code. Someone else won't hit at the woman at net in mixed. Some won't headhunt. Most of us won't nail someone in the back (or even the front) with an overhead. Even though all of these things are obviusly well within the rules and Code. So IMHO "The rules and Code allow it" is not the end of the discussion.

So. Do the rules allow underhand serving? Of course. Am I entitled to think people who serve underhand are being unsporting? Yes. Can I say it right out loud on an internet discussion board? Yup. Can people disagree? Of course. The Code suggests I can't complain to my opponent about an underhand serve. I darn sure can conclude they are a Tool, however, if that's how I feel about it.

That said, I think comparing an underhand serve to a lob/drop shot ignores the fact that that the two things are treated quite differently by most everyone who watches or plays tennis. If Safin executes a winning drop shot or lob against Nadal, this is the stuff of instant replay and we applaud his strategy, courage and touch. If Hingis executes a perfect underhand serve when she is perfectly capable of serving overhand, she gets a round of boos. If Michael Chang executes a perfect underhand serve against Lendal, it is the stuff of legend. And when my 4.0 mixed opponent serves underhand to a 3.5 woman with my lame service return, it draws some derisive snickers from his two opponents.

Serve underhand if you want. Me, I won't join you. I think it is Not Cool unless you are impaired.

And those of you engaging in personal attacks on other TT members? I think I will set a proper example and ignore that nonsense.

shell
04-28-2009, 01:42 PM
I was playing practice doubles yesterday, in bright sun and huge heat.

One of my opponents was a woman I know well and practice with frequently. She has a good serve. But I have "solved" her serve. I know where to stand (well behind baseline) and what to do, so she doesn't get the cheap points off of me that she does off of people without my inside knowledge. Similarly, she uses her inside knowledge on me to punish my serve. It's all good.

So yesterday she is serving into the sun. She steps up to serve, announces the score clearly, and then serves underhand (!). I put on the afterburners and barely reach this ball before it bounces twice. I am lucky my back did not snap in two. I push it into the service box and we play out the point. Then she serves to my partner, a normal serve. Then she served to me -- another underhand serve. This time I was ready, and I got it back into play. The next time she served to me, she announced the score and I had my toes on the service line. She tossed in the air for her normal serve, so I backpedaled furiously and managed to be in position well enough to return the serve.

Same thing, again and again for a very long service game. I didn't miss any returns.

But I was kind of irked by this. I mean, I know it is within the rule. But there is something about that sort of thing that made steam come out of my ears. I mean, I'm thinking there was a reason Martina Hingis practically got stoned when she tried it.

My friend explained that the sun was bothering her and she had been double-faulting a lot (we were rotating people among the various doubles pairs and singles players, so this was my first chance to play against her that day), so she figured she'd just serve underhand. She cheerfully said that she had done it with one of the older players who doesn't move well, and she wasn't able to scurry back and forth like I had.

So. If we partner in a match and she starts doing this, should I say something?

To answer your question, no you should not say anything. I think you summarized the reason in your latest post. It is not against the rules, and each person may decide for themselves in what they think about it (including this lady, who obviously thinks it is fine).

I've done it before for the same reason it sounds like your teammate did - could not get my toss out of the sun on the ad side, no matter how I tried. With all of those difficulties and frustrations, I would NOT want to hear comments from my partner about the "uncoolness" of an underhand serve.

JavierLW
04-28-2009, 01:49 PM
Let me see if I can help here.

First, the rules and Code tell us how the game *can* be played.

Beyond that, the rules and Code do not tell us what is cool and uncool.

On this board, opinions on what is cool -- what is gamesmanship, what is unsporting, what is Seriously Lame Behavior -- differ widely.

One one end of the spectrum, there are some who say they will do anything to win a point or a match.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who say there are some things they simply will not do even if the rules allow it. We have had a few recent examples of this in just the past few days. One TT member won't overrule his partner on a line call because politeness to his partner trumps the Code. Someone else won't hit at the woman at net in mixed. Some won't headhunt. Most of us won't nail someone in the back (or even the front) with an overhead. Even though all of these things are obviusly well within the rules and Code. So IMHO "The rules and Code allow it" is not the end of the discussion.

So. Do the rules allow underhand serving? Of course. Am I entitled to think people who serve underhand are being unsporting? Yes. Can I say it right out loud on an internet discussion board? Yup. Can people disagree? Of course. The Code suggests I can't complain to my opponent about an underhand serve. I darn sure can conclude they are a Tool, however, if that's how I feel about it.

That said, I think comparing an underhand serve to a lob/drop shot ignores the fact that that the two things are treated quite differently by most everyone who watches or plays tennis. If Safin executes a winning drop shot or lob against Nadal, this is the stuff of instant replay and we applaud his strategy, courage and touch. If Hingis executes a perfect underhand serve when she is perfectly capable of serving overhand, she gets a round of boos. If Michael Chang executes a perfect underhand serve against Lendal, it is the stuff of legend. And when my 4.0 mixed opponent serves underhand to a 3.5 woman with my lame service return, it draws some derisive snickers from his two opponents.

Serve underhand if you want. Me, I won't join you. I think it is Not Cool unless you are impaired.

And those of you engaging in personal attacks on other TT members? I think I will set a proper example and ignore that nonsense.

It's one thing to say that YOU wont do something. That's your choice and anyone can respect that.

It's another thing to have a whole discussion about how we should look down on someone else because they dont agree with you. (calling them a noob or a uncool, or nasty, or ewwy, or whatever......)

That's where people get caught up into these little petty arguments.

Which is what they are, just accept that not everyone agrees with everyone, there is no need to sit and discuss it, especially if you are going to use words like 'noob' and 'tool'.

I know a lot of people who feel the same way that you do about serving underhand (they wont do it), and that's fine.

But if they were to go on and disparage someone else for doing it or complain about it, that's another matter entirely because that's disrespectful of someone else's opinion.

sureshs
04-28-2009, 02:00 PM
Well, I do look down on people who serve underhanded and who hit other people on purpose.

shell
04-28-2009, 02:03 PM
Well, I do look down on people who serve underhanded and who hit other people on purpose.

Would you serve underhand if you truely thought you were going to DF match point away, and had DFs in that same game due to sun?

OrangePower
04-28-2009, 02:10 PM
Agreed that there are things that are legal but that we frown upon as "uncool".

Cindy gave some good examples - deliberately nailing your opponent with an overhead, or gunning for the woman at the next in mixed.

The commonality in these two examples is that they at best they are intended to intimidate, and at worst can cause serious injury.

So, they are decidedly uncool.

Underhand serving on the other hand poses no threat to anyone. Actually, the only person who is negatively impacted is the person doing it!

So I proclaim it completely cool, and in fact, hereby invite and encourage all my opponents to attempt it against me :-)

sureshs
04-28-2009, 02:12 PM
Would you serve underhand if you truely thought you were going to DF match point away, and had DFs in that same game due to sun?

No. If I do it once, I will end up doing it often. I play to improve my level. Like I will not hit too many IO FHs, but will use my BH. That is how I improved my BH while the others I play with did everything possible to avoid hitting a BH, and as a result they suck now.

shell
04-28-2009, 02:20 PM
No. If I do it once, I will end up doing it often. I play to improve my level. Like I will not hit too many IO FHs, but will use my BH. That is how I improved my BH while the others I play with did everything possible to avoid hitting a BH, and as a result they suck now.

Yeah, I see your reasoning. I was just trying to find the point, if there was one, where the "I would never do it" folks would consider doing it. Personally, I would do most anything to not hit an underhand serve - because I suck at it. But there does come a point...:)

LuckyR
04-28-2009, 02:26 PM
So let get this straight:

A has a great serve

B knows this so stands well back from the baseline to compensate for it

A notes B standing well back (negating her weapon) and decides to underhand serve to compensate for the compensation

B wonders if she "should say something" next time. Say something like what?

GuyClinch
04-28-2009, 02:27 PM
You guys need to lighten up - drop shots, lobs, underhand serves are all fun shots to hit. There is nothing wrong with throwing a change up out there..

I can't say I hit underhand serves often but I'd consider if I was playing at just the wrong time with regards to the sun.

jrod
04-28-2009, 02:31 PM
Yeah, I see your reasoning. I was just trying to find the point, if there was one, where the "I would never do it" folks would consider doing it. Personally, I would do most anything to not hit an underhand serve - because I suck at it. But there does come a point...:)

Never say never? Everyone has their price...

sureshs
04-28-2009, 02:33 PM
Never say never? Everyone has their price...

I will throw in an underhand serve if the money is right

jrod
04-28-2009, 02:45 PM
I will throw in an underhand serve if the money is right

Q.E.D.......

Venetian
04-28-2009, 04:11 PM
Let me see if I can help here.

First, the rules and Code tell us how the game *can* be played.

Beyond that, the rules and Code do not tell us what is cool and uncool.

On this board, opinions on what is cool -- what is gamesmanship, what is unsporting, what is Seriously Lame Behavior -- differ widely.

One one end of the spectrum, there are some who say they will do anything to win a point or a match.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who say there are some things they simply will not do even if the rules allow it. We have had a few recent examples of this in just the past few days. One TT member won't overrule his partner on a line call because politeness to his partner trumps the Code. Someone else won't hit at the woman at net in mixed. Some won't headhunt. Most of us won't nail someone in the back (or even the front) with an overhead. Even though all of these things are obviusly well within the rules and Code. So IMHO "The rules and Code allow it" is not the end of the discussion.

So. Do the rules allow underhand serving? Of course. Am I entitled to think people who serve underhand are being unsporting? Yes. Can I say it right out loud on an internet discussion board? Yup. Can people disagree? Of course. The Code suggests I can't complain to my opponent about an underhand serve. I darn sure can conclude they are a Tool, however, if that's how I feel about it.

That said, I think comparing an underhand serve to a lob/drop shot ignores the fact that that the two things are treated quite differently by most everyone who watches or plays tennis. If Safin executes a winning drop shot or lob against Nadal, this is the stuff of instant replay and we applaud his strategy, courage and touch. If Hingis executes a perfect underhand serve when she is perfectly capable of serving overhand, she gets a round of boos. If Michael Chang executes a perfect underhand serve against Lendal, it is the stuff of legend. And when my 4.0 mixed opponent serves underhand to a 3.5 woman with my lame service return, it draws some derisive snickers from his two opponents.

Serve underhand if you want. Me, I won't join you. I think it is Not Cool unless you are impaired.

And those of you engaging in personal attacks on other TT members? I think I will set a proper example and ignore that nonsense.

Cindy, when you say it is uncool, do you mean that you are frustrated by it, or that you think someone should not be allowed to serve underhanded?

I don't think many will agree with you in thinking that it's unsportsmanlike. I don't see how it would be considered unsporting. It's simply another, legal way of hitting a certain shot.

Also, it's usually going to be much easier to return than a normal serve. I would love it if someone served an entire match underhand. That would be like getting free points. Though if someone mixes it in every once in awhile to great effect, good on them. It's just like hitting a slice or drop shot. Just a way to change up the pace and keep your opponent guessing.

Venetian
04-28-2009, 04:33 PM
http://tennis.about.com/od/serve/a/serveundsidevid.htm

A quote from this site:

"The underhand sidepsin serve should be used sparingly to prevent your opponent from getting used to it. Some opponents might consider this serve a "trick" and scorn your use of it, but it's a perfectly ethical and legal serve that preserves an element of pure finesse in a serving universe that's dominated by power. The underhand sidespin is as much fun to try to return as it is to hit."

Venetian
04-28-2009, 04:39 PM
http://oddtennis.blogspot.com/2008/06/underhand-serve-out-of-place-illegal.html

Another interesting bit of info from that site...

"Look through old copies of Tennis Magazine from 1977, and you can find an instructional article, with photos, of Tennis Hall of Fame member George Lott demonstrating how to hit an underhand cut serve."

Casey10s
04-28-2009, 05:48 PM
I was watching a Level II National Tournament a few years ago. In the 60 and over division, Jimmy Parker was playing. He has over 20 gold balls (a gold ball is winning a national tournament). About once every other service game, he would hit an under handed serve. Of the times he hit it, he probably got a no return 9 out of 10 times. The one time that the person got it back, it was a floater that he came in and hit a winner. Nobody who was watching thought it was unsportsmanlike. Most of them were amazed how well he could hit it. Here is a nationally ranked player (Top 5 nationally in his age bracket) that uses it as part of his arsenal and it is accepted by his peers. Why should anyone complain when the top players in the country see no problem with it.

tfm1973
04-28-2009, 06:14 PM
cindy -- i've played with and against you more than a few times and i'm kinda surprised at how much you dislike the underhand serve. and i'm more surprised that you categorize some shots as "cool" vs "uncool".

my philosophy might be different than yours but i learned a long time ago that each point in tennis is worth a single point no matter how you win it. doesn't matter if you hit a 120 mph ace or a 12 mph underhand serve. it's only a single point.

plus when it comes to shots in tennis you don't like to face, the best way to make an opponent stop a strategy is to beat it soundly and decisively. so for example if you don't like drop shots -- the very first drop shot you face -- you run your tushy as fast as mother fudging possible and get to that drop shot and put it away. the same goes for underhand serves. you see one and you run up there and crush it. heck crush it at your opponents partner (their right hip technically). ppl tend to stop hitting shots that aren't working. "hmm that didn't work. let me try something different."

i've underhand served you before in practice matches. i stopped because you got to each one. i have also hit a lot of twist serves to you. i didn't stop because you didn't get many of those back. lather rinse repeat. tennis isn't especially complicated.

tennisee
04-28-2009, 07:10 PM
Where I come from (Aust) the situation is quite clear; it is regarded as poor sportsmanship to serve underarm as a tactic to win points. The unwritten law is that you only do it if you have an injury, and you announce it to your opponent first "Sorry, I have a shoulder injury - I 'm going to have to serve underarm." I know it's within the rules but there are no ifs and buts about it here.

It could be stronger here because of the cricket analogy I guess. i.e bowling underarm is legal, but if you do it means the batsman cannot hit a high scoring shot; thus you deprive them of a chance to score in a way that is not within the spirit of the game.

Venetian
04-29-2009, 03:52 AM
Where I come from (Aust) the situation is quite clear; it is regarded as poor sportsmanship to serve underarm as a tactic to win points. The unwritten law is that you only do it if you have an injury, and you announce it to your opponent first "Sorry, I have a shoulder injury - I 'm going to have to serve underarm." I know it's within the rules but there are no ifs and buts about it here.

It could be stronger here because of the cricket analogy I guess. i.e bowling underarm is legal, but if you do it means the batsman cannot hit a high scoring shot; thus you deprive them of a chance to score in a way that is not within the spirit of the game.

I know nothing about cricket, but the goal in tennis IS to deprive the other player of a chance to sore. Would you also hold back on hitting a hard forehand so as to give the other player a more "sporting" chance to retrieve it?

slick
04-29-2009, 04:23 AM
Anyone obsessed with defining what is cool vs uncool is probably suffering from some insecurity issues.

Cindysphinx
04-29-2009, 04:26 AM
cindy -- i've played with and against you more than a few times and i'm kinda surprised at how much you dislike the underhand serve. and i'm more surprised that you categorize some shots as "cool" vs "uncool".

Yes, I have many opinions about many things. I just don't say anything during matches or social play. 'Cause it wouldn't be cool!


i've underhand served you before in practice matches. i stopped because you got to each one. i have also hit a lot of twist serves to you. i didn't stop because you didn't get many of those back. lather rinse repeat. tennis isn't especially complicated.

I don't remember this. And boy, I would like to think I would remember it. 'Cause I would have taken it as a sign that the server thought I was slow, old, fat or infirm and would have felt insulted. I may be all or any of these things, but I would like to think that it is my little secret.

It is possible that you did it and I dismissed it as just fooling around. I do recall one mixed practice where a player served underhand. One guy was totally killing the two opponents. When it came to set point, the guy who was losing looked at the other guy, gave a huge grin, and served a wicked underhand serve. The returner got to it and hit a winner as they both laughed.

In the situation in the OP, my partner had been doing this underhand serve to another lady on the team. Who is about 60. Who doesn't run. Who is heavy. In severe heat. In a practice match. **When the relationship between the two is already QUITE strained and they don't like each other at all.** Totally not cool.

Cindysphinx
04-29-2009, 04:32 AM
Where I come from (Aust) the situation is quite clear; it is regarded as poor sportsmanship to serve underarm as a tactic to win points. The unwritten law is that you only do it if you have an injury, and you announce it to your opponent first "Sorry, I have a shoulder injury - I 'm going to have to serve underarm." I know it's within the rules but there are no ifs and buts about it here.


This is how I understood underhand serving is handled.

I was at a tennis facility finishing a lesson about a year or so ago. An older lady came up and asked if I would be their fourth for their court time because one of the players hadn't been able to make it. I had time, so I agreed to do it.

I get over there, and I find that these ladies are old. Really, really old. They introduced themselves and their injuries. "This is Betty, and she is coming back from a knee replacement. I'm June and I have a bad hip. That's Sarah, and she has a bad shoulder so she serves underhand." It was pretty clear that my job wasn't to "win points." My job was play nicely. So I hit every ball right to their rackets as best I could. I didn't serve especially hard or with sidespin, as I wanted them to reach my ball. And I didn't serve underhand, lob or drop shot them.

'Cause it wouldn't be cool.

Cindysphinx
04-29-2009, 04:42 AM
Cindy, when you say it is uncool, do you mean that you are frustrated by it, or that you think someone should not be allowed to serve underhanded?


When I say it is uncool, I mean that it is unsporting. A cheap trick. Along the lines of quick-serving someone or doing other BS that TT posters complain about from time to time. It is something I frown on. If my son did such things, I would encourage him not to.

Should it be against the rules? I don't think it is possible to come up with a rule that would work. If someone is truly injured and serving underhand is the only way they can serve, then it is better to allow this than to require people to default. You could require that people tell their opponents that this is what they plan to do, otherwise it is a fault, I suppose.

Hey, here's something else I saw recently. I was watching a pro match. I can't remember the players or tournament (Monte Carlo, perhaps). Anyway, one of the guys was at net and the opponent hit a ball that would have been a difficult but makeable volley. Rather than get in position to hit a volley, the guy hit some kind of trick shot (behind the back?). He made the volley but lost the point. Did anyone else see that match?

To my surprise, the crowd immediately whistled and the two Tennis Channel commentators expressed disapproval. The idea seemed to be that he was insulting his opponent to play the shot in this way when he had options. So I guess that would be another example of how the way you choose to hit your shot matters and doing some things is considered uncool . . .

slick
04-29-2009, 04:53 AM
Of course it's not nice to hit drop shot underhand serves to elderly people who can't run. It's called judgement. I don't believe that was the original question of hitting underhand serves in a competitive match where all participants are able bodied.

My wife plays 3.5 ladies. I play 4.5 mens. It's funny how all this squabbling about what is proper arises in 3.5 ladies. In her league someone is always miffed at someone else about some perceived ridulous violation of edicate. This crap just doesn't happen with the 4.5 guys. In fact an underhand srve for a winner would be regarded as a pretty "cool" shot.

As I said before just play.

Topaz
04-29-2009, 04:56 AM
^^^Gosh Slick, thanks for coming in there and putting us 3.5 ladies in our place! Maybe some day we can be as *cool* as you 4.5 cats! Here's to hoping! *crossing fingers*

Cindysphinx
04-29-2009, 05:04 AM
^^^Gosh Slick, thanks for coming in there and putting us 3.5 ladies in our place! Maybe some day we can be as *cool* as you 4.5 cats! Here's to hoping! *crossing fingers*

Lord knows guys don't squabble. Nah. Judging by their posts, they have fights after matches. They shun people. They wring their hands about hitting at women in mixed. They kvetch about headhunting. They object to hooking.

But they don't squabble. That would be undignified! :)

slick
04-29-2009, 05:06 AM
Everybody is cool who plays tennis......as long as they don't look down on others who might do things a little differently as the OP seems too. I play mixed with my wife and many 3.5 ladies who are very nice players who are a lot of fun to play with. There are a minority who are always getting all torked about some perceived "improper" shot. I just won't play with them. It's no fun.

There are plenty of jerky high level male players too. I won't play with them either. I did it for fun and relaxation. If it's tense it takes all that away. Just enjoy the game. If some is unorthodox enjoy the challenge of countering it but don't look down your nose at them.

The OP was considering "saying something" to the underhander. That would be a one way ticket to my do not play list.

Venetian
04-29-2009, 05:26 AM
This is how I understood underhand serving is handled.

I was at a tennis facility finishing a lesson about a year or so ago. An older lady came up and asked if I would be their fourth for their court time because one of the players hadn't been able to make it. I had time, so I agreed to do it.

I get over there, and I find that these ladies are old. Really, really old. They introduced themselves and their injuries. "This is Betty, and she is coming back from a knee replacement. I'm June and I have a bad hip. That's Sarah, and she has a bad shoulder so she serves underhand." It was pretty clear that my job wasn't to "win points." My job was play nicely. So I hit every ball right to their rackets as best I could. I didn't serve especially hard or with sidespin, as I wanted them to reach my ball. And I didn't serve underhand, lob or drop shot them.

'Cause it wouldn't be cool.

There's a big difference between that situation and a competitive league match though. It sounds like you were just being nice to some injured old ladies.

The whole point of tennis is to hit a shot in such a way as to keep your opponent from successfully retrieving it. It just seems to me that you are frustrated that the lady hit you a shot that you were uncomfortable returning, but that's exactly the shot you want to give someone. You don't want them to have a chance of retrieving it. That's why you hit to the corners, or behind them, or drop shot them. And you said yourself that you were able to return the shots.

There's no rule prohibiting an underhand serve, and it's a slower moving serve that often is easier to return. So I just don't understand the argument against it.

The underhand serve is basically a drop shot to start the match. You generally try to disguise it so the opponent doesn't know you're going to hit it (just like a drop shot), then execute it when they are not expecting it and are far back in the court (again, just like a drop shot); and yet, I've never heard anyone try to argue that a drop shot is not sporting.

randomname
04-29-2009, 06:35 AM
Everybody is cool who plays tennis......as long as they don't look down on others who might do things a little differently as the OP seems too. I play mixed with my wife and many 3.5 ladies who are very nice players who are a lot of fun to play with. There are a minority who are always getting all torked about some perceived "improper" shot. I just won't play with them. It's no fun.

There are plenty of jerky high level male players too. I won't play with them either. I did it for fun and relaxation. If it's tense it takes all that away. Just enjoy the game. If some is unorthodox enjoy the challenge of countering it but don't look down your nose at them.

The OP was considering "saying something" to the underhander. That would be a one way ticket to my do not play list.

Good God! you've made your point. There, your getting attention now, someone has adknowledged you, stop posting the same thing over and over again.

slick
04-29-2009, 07:27 AM
Excellent point. I don't know what I'm doing here wasting my time on this inane drivel. Thanks for waking me up. Adios.

Venetian
04-29-2009, 08:38 AM
Good God! you've made your point. There, your getting attention now, someone has adknowledged you, stop posting the same thing over and over again.

Hey, take it easy guy. We should be able to discuss this without trying to cut eachother down.

Danstevens
04-29-2009, 08:46 AM
http://tennis.about.com/od/serve/a/serveundsidevid.htm

A quote from this site:

"The underhand sidepsin serve should be used sparingly to prevent your opponent from getting used to it. Some opponents might consider this serve a "trick" and scorn your use of it, but it's a perfectly ethical and legal serve that preserves an element of pure finesse in a serving universe that's dominated by power. The underhand sidespin is as much fun to try to return as it is to hit."

I love the video of the serve. Look how much it moves!

OrangePower
04-29-2009, 12:43 PM
Where I come from (Aust) the situation is quite clear; it is regarded as poor sportsmanship to serve underarm as a tactic to win points. The unwritten law is that you only do it if you have an injury, and you announce it to your opponent first "Sorry, I have a shoulder injury - I 'm going to have to serve underarm." I know it's within the rules but there are no ifs and buts about it here.

It could be stronger here because of the cricket analogy I guess. i.e bowling underarm is legal, but if you do it means the batsman cannot hit a high scoring shot; thus you deprive them of a chance to score in a way that is not within the spirit of the game.

Sorry, but the cricket analogy fails, because there is a specific rule in place to address underarm bowling. See the latest Laws of Cricket (revised in 2000), Law 24.1.b: "Underarm bowling shall not be permitted except by special agreement before the match". There is no equivalent rule in tennis.

When I say it is uncool, I mean that it is unsporting. A cheap trick. Along the lines of quick-serving someone or doing other BS that TT posters complain about from time to time. It is something I frown on. If my son did such things, I would encourage him not to.

Should it be against the rules? I don't think it is possible to come up with a rule that would work. If someone is truly injured and serving underhand is the only way they can serve, then it is better to allow this than to require people to default. You could require that people tell their opponents that this is what they plan to do, otherwise it is a fault, I suppose.

Of course it's possible to come up with a rule: Either require the server to announce it as you mentioned, or do like cricket and require agreement prior to the match. This would allow injured people this option.

Since there is no such rule, and since underhand has no potential to injur the opponent (unlike headhunting), I disagree that it is unsporting and / or a cheap trick. Personally, I would not do it unless forced to by injury, not out of principle, but because it is just not as effective as serving overhead under any circumstance (at least for me).

Dishiki
04-29-2009, 02:30 PM
This situation is more analogous to a pitcher throwing a change-up, and them being forced to announce it.

This is competitive play. Is it legal? Yes. I don't know how you think "uncool" = poor sportsmanship. Poor sportsmanship would be cracking in overhead in someone's back who has bailed out.
Is it a cheap shot? No cheaper than a drop shot, or a lob, or anything else.

Cindy, maybe you should just come up with a list of how you think people should play, and provide it to them before the match. See how that works out for you.

tennisee
04-29-2009, 09:34 PM
Sorry, but the cricket analogy fails, because there is a specific rule in place to address underarm bowling. See the latest Laws of Cricket (revised in 2000), Law 24.1.b: "Underarm bowling shall not be permitted except by special agreement before the match". There is no equivalent rule in tennis.



Of course it's possible to come up with a rule: Either require the server to announce it as you mentioned, or do like cricket and require agreement prior to the match. This would allow injured people this option.

Since there is no such rule, and since underhand has no potential to injur the opponent (unlike headhunting), I disagree that it is unsporting and / or a cheap trick. Personally, I would not do it unless forced to by injury, not out of principle, but because it is just not as effective as serving overhead under any circumstance (at least for me).


Thanks - I did not know that about the change to cricket rules. I think the point does stand though, as the attitude to what is fair was built up over the century or so before the rule change. i.e. there are some things that are legal, but simply not done.

My point was more about the differences in attitude between the two countries than any absolutes about what is right and wrong.

Irresepective of my personal view, I think that over here in Aust there is a pretty universal view that it is unsporting to serve underarm as a tactic, wheras from reading the responses here it seems that the issue is far more open to debate in the US. I just thought that was intersting as mostly things seem the same across countries - headhunting, stalling, gamesmanship, etc all seem to be viewed in much the same way, but it appears from this small sample that the underarm serve is not.

Foraserve
04-30-2009, 01:20 PM
When I first starting playing and couldn't get a serve into the serve box or sometimes even over the net, my teacher suggested I use an underhand serve in matches. My pride just wouldn't let me do it though. Needless to say, I watched several of waffle balls float into the net last year and wondered if I should have served underhanded to at least give myself a fighting chance.

This year, my first serve is more powerful and consistent - granted it didn't have far to go to improve. In doubles practice, I had a "serve collapse" moment and the team captain actually said, "You know you can always serve underhand." Personally, I don't see anything wrong with doing what you have to do to get the ball in play; as a tactical move...I don't know. However, as the person on the other side of the net, I feel like it's my job to get any correctly played ball back over the net and win the point.

blakesq
04-30-2009, 05:51 PM
In my 4.0 men's doubles league, I served underhand 3 times, and won the point all three times. My shoulder is fine. I also served 3 aces to a guy, I served out wide to him 2 out of 3 times for those aces. I see no difference in serving out wide or serving underhand. I also hit one drop shot that didn't work. Again, I see no difference between hitting a drop shot or serving underhand.


I'm surprised that underhand serves aren't universally viewed as the tools of small children and wusses.

I have only had one other person serve underhand to me. It was a mixed match. This guy was a 4.0, and we were beating him. He was serving fine. So he hits this underhand serve to me. I ran over and pushed it back. And the first thing I thought was, "Man, what a *tool.*" He then tried it later in the match and actually missed it wide, and I thought "Man, what an incompetent *tool.*"

I then played him again this year, so I warned my partner about his Tool-ish tendencies. Again, we were beating him. This time, he never tried serving underhand. I wonder why?

So, has anyone here served underhand when they didn't have a physical reason to do so? Man, I don't care if I am match point down and I know an underhand serve would win the point. I'm not doing it.

Well, I'm off to play this lady in singles. I'll let you know if she serves underhand . . . .

ttbrowne
05-01-2009, 05:58 AM
I equate underhanded serves with going out of your way to tag a guy at the net with an overhead...It's not against the rules but just something I frown on.
But...If ya gotta do it....

Venetian
05-01-2009, 07:35 AM
I equate underhanded serves with going out of your way to tag a guy at the net with an overhead...It's not against the rules but just something I frown on.
But...If ya gotta do it....

But why do you frown on it? Is it because it's effective against you? If it's ineffective against you, why would you have a problem with someone doing it? And if it is effective against you, and within the rules of the game, then it just sounds as though you want to try and vilify this tactic so you have an excuse for not being able to handle it.

I don't understand why some people consider a shot that is easy to return, fits within the rules of the game, and does no harm to another player to be "cheap" or "unsporting".

For the players in question, what in the world is your definition of unsporting (or cheap)?

Unsporting shot: Any legal shot that is effective against an opponent, or one that an opponent has expressed his or her dislike of.

blakesq
05-01-2009, 08:42 AM
Venetian, I think your definition should be modified as follows:

Unsporting shot: An arbitrarily chosen legal shot that is effective against an opponent, or one that an opponent has expressed his or her dislike of.


But why do you frown on it? Is it because it's effective against you? If it's ineffective against you, why would you have a problem with someone doing it? And if it is effective against you, and within the rules of the game, then it just sounds as though you want to try and vilify this tactic so you have an excuse for not being able to handle it.

I don't understand why some people consider a shot that is easy to return, fits within the rules of the game, and does no harm to another player to be "cheap" or "unsporting".

For the players in question, what in the world is your definition of unsporting (or cheap)?

Unsporting shot: Any legal shot that is effective against an opponent, or one that an opponent has expressed his or her dislike of.

Venetian
05-01-2009, 08:58 AM
Venetian, I think your definition should be modified as follows:

Unsporting shot: An arbitrarily chosen legal shot that is effective against an opponent, or one that an opponent has expressed his or her dislike of.

An excellent amendment blakesq.

Foraserve
05-01-2009, 10:55 AM
Coincidentally, there's an article at tennis.com on using the underhand serve, with photos:


http://www.tennis.com/yourgame/instructionarticles/serve/serve.aspx?id=224

sureshs
05-01-2009, 11:47 AM
Last nite a guy served a second serve so slowly to me that I didn't get to the ball before the second bounce. When it happened a second time, I didn't even try. He got upset and said I should move my fat ***. He wasn't happy that he had won the point.

JavierLW
05-01-2009, 11:55 AM
Last nite a guy served a second serve so slowly to me that I didn't get to the ball before the second bounce. When it happened a second time, I didn't even try. He got upset and said I should move my fat ***. He wasn't happy that he had won the point.

ha, that's a new one. :-)

How "uncool" of you not to run up and win that point. :-)

sureshs
05-01-2009, 11:56 AM
ha, that's a new one. :-)

How "uncool" of you not to run up and win that point. :-)

I should also mention that I always stand behind the baseline on all serves to show respect to the server.

OrangePower
05-01-2009, 12:32 PM
I should also mention that I always stand behind the baseline on all serves to show respect to the server.

Ah, I was going to ask how it is that you're not able to get to a short serve, but that explains it. I have a buddy that also likes to return from well behind the baselines a la Andy Murray. Except he does it not out of respect, but because he likes to take full strokes even on a return of serve.

On the other hand, I like to stand about 2 feet in from the baseline on 1st serves, and maybe 5 ft in on second serve. I mean no disrespect, but that is what works best for me, so the responsibility is on the server to make me pay for it if they can.

Steady Eddy
05-01-2009, 01:13 PM
Last nite a guy served a second serve so slowly to me that I didn't get to the ball before the second bounce. When it happened a second time, I didn't even try. He got upset and said I should move my fat ***. He wasn't happy that he had won the point.Tennis players can be funny. He won the point, got mad about it, and blames you for his winning.

I should also mention that I always stand behind the baseline on all serves to show respect to the server.
Okay, but...you're playing a game, so wouldn't you want to stand where you're more effective, instead of trying to "show respect"? It can be a good tactic to stand in even with hard servers. The trick is to watch the ball and play it more like a volley than a groundstroke. Sometimes this is very effective against a serve and volley player, because the ball comes back sooner than they're used to.

About the underhand serve...people sound like Ted Williams. He complained about a Boudreau shift (something like that) where everybody covered the 1st baseline, 'cause that's where he always hit it. He got so frustrated, one time he bunted down the 3rd baseline for a hit. Ty Cobb told him that he should keep doing that until it forces them to play him "honest". I think Cobb was right. This is the point of competitive games. Williams felt that hitting 'ought' to be about being a slugger. But Cobb new that you take what they give you. In tennis if someone stands way back for your power serve, then it makes sense to dink it in for a winner. Keep doing that until they move in, then bring back your power serve. I think tennis and baseball are enhanced by having an intellectual aspect. Why should it be all about macho power?

ttbrowne
05-02-2009, 08:00 AM
But why do you frown on it? Is it because it's effective against you? If it's ineffective against you, why would you have a problem with someone doing it? And if it is effective against you, and within the rules of the game, then it just sounds as though you want to try and vilify this tactic so you have an excuse for not being able to handle it.

I don't understand why some people consider a shot that is easy to return, fits within the rules of the game, and does no harm to another player to be "cheap" or "unsporting".

For the players in question, what in the world is your definition of unsporting (or cheap)?

Unsporting shot: Any legal shot that is effective against an opponent, or one that an opponent has expressed his or her dislike of.

Even though I am not trying to "vilify" the tactic...what if I did try? It's not a problem that should concern you.

I never mentioned "cheap" or "unsporting", did I?
YOU did.

So, We should turn to you to define tennis terms discussed on this board?
You're so kind.

Venetian
05-02-2009, 08:02 AM
Even though I am not trying to "vilify" the tactic...what if I did try? It's not a problem that should concern you.

I never mentioned "cheap" or "unsporting", did I?
YOU did.

So, We should turn to you to define tennis terms discussed on this board?
You're so kind.

You implied it was cheap/unsporting by saying you think of it in the same way as hitting an overhead at someone.

Thank you, you are kind as well.

JavierLW
05-02-2009, 04:52 PM
I equate underhanded serves with going out of your way to tag a guy at the net with an overhead...It's not against the rules but just something I frown on.
But...If ya gotta do it....

I dont think you are saying anything wrong here.

But this is the problem with some of these goofy threads, why should WE care if YOU have a problem with something? It's your opinion, we have to accept you have one and you have to respect that we have our own which may vary from yours.

(and then if you acknowledge that you should know that saying what your opinion is really doesnt amount to much more then just the desire to hear yourself talk)

Most of us (from the sound of it) DONT have a problem with serving underhand and WE dont care.

You can frown all you want, that's your opinion, nobody cares...

But for certain other people to create an entire thread about it or snicker with their friends or try to make them look bad just because of THEIR opinion is wrong.

Or for them to feel that they need to have some sort of intervention with another person over something that is perfectly legal is wrong and unneeded as well. (I dont mean you here)

Cindysphinx
05-02-2009, 05:07 PM
But this is the problem with some of these goofy threads, why should WE care if YOU have a problem with something? It's your opinion, we have to accept you have one and you have to respect that we have our own which may vary from yours.

(and then if you acknowledge that you should know that saying what your opinion is really doesnt amount to much more then just the desire to hear yourself talk)



All right, Javier. Enough already.

Dude. This is a *discussion* board. People come here to *discuss* things. Those things that people want to discuss can be facts, opinions or experiences. If 500 people have one opinion and one person has a different opinion, that doesn't mean the discussion shouldn't happen. If you don't like a discussion, if you think the topic is "goofy," just move on to something more to your tastes. It's OK to say nothing, really.

Or, better yet, try this: Say something, do something *positive* for a change. Start a thread about something interesting or unusual or funny that *you* want to discuss rather than denigrate what others are discussing.

That would be so much more enjoyable than just leaping into conversations to urinate on what others are discussing. In my ever so humble opinion, as someone who has no more say around here than anyone else, I have to tell you that this sort of behavior really doesn't help the atmosphere around here even a little bit.

Sorry to land on you so hard, but I figured it needed to be said.

JavierLW
05-02-2009, 05:34 PM
All right, Javier. Enough already.

Dude. This is a *discussion* board. People come here to *discuss* things. Those things that people want to discuss can be facts, opinions or experiences. If 500 people have one opinion and one person has a different opinion, that doesn't mean the discussion shouldn't happen. If you don't like a discussion, if you think the topic is "goofy," just move on to something more to your tastes. It's OK to say nothing, really.

Or, better yet, try this: Say something, do something *positive* for a change. Start a thread about something interesting or unusual or funny that *you* want to discuss rather than denigrate what others are discussing.

That would be so much more enjoyable than just leaping into conversations to urinate on what others are discussing. In my ever so humble opinion, as someone who has no more say around here than anyone else, I have to tell you that this sort of behavior really doesn't help the atmosphere around here even a little bit.

Sorry to land on you so hard, but I figured it needed to be said.

Well isnt this the pot calling the kettle black?

There is nothing about this thread that is "positive" so you can save that speech for some other time.

The atmosphere around here was much nicer when we werent making threads putting down people who happen to have an opinion that doesnt match your own. You seem to be awfully free with the name calling "tool, etc....", so you really have nothing to say about anything Ive said except that's it's obviously hit home.

(we already know that if some old guy gives you advice on the court he's being "ewwwy", and that you snicker to your friends if your opponents are taking the game a little more seriously then you, you're not exactly the sort of person who has "discussions")

Venetian
05-02-2009, 05:35 PM
So, I guess the underhand serve topic has been officially beaten to death?

JavierLW
05-02-2009, 05:48 PM
So, I guess the underhand serve topic has been officially beaten to death?

Yes there isnt much to it. We all know we can do it, so we're reduced to talking about how someone is a "tool" if they use it.

Some of us dont live in a world where we spend the whole day focusing on new ways to think less of others so it's kind of an annoying topic and an annoying trend.

Im not just popping in either, these topics happen all the time. Plenty of my friends and I enjoy playing the game by the rules. But once in awhile we meet these whiners who seem to like to complain about things just because it doesnt fit their limited experience of what seems normal to them.

They always try to use this lame excuse that "hey, we're just playing for fun" but that doesnt make sense because if we were really playing for fun we could just do what's within the rules, move on, and nobody would feel bad about it or call you names, or feel they needed to "confront you....".

Bud
05-02-2009, 08:29 PM
Last nite a guy served a second serve so slowly to me that I didn't get to the ball before the second bounce. When it happened a second time, I didn't even try. He got upset and said I should move my fat ***. He wasn't happy that he had won the point.

Why not move forward, much closer to the service line, if you know his second serve is a pattycake?

Bud
05-02-2009, 08:30 PM
I should also mention that I always stand behind the baseline on all serves to show respect to the server.

Very unwise, IMO... especially when playing relative beginners.

tudwell
05-03-2009, 05:04 PM
A notice to all underhand servers:

Stop arguing! Don't convert people! If the underhand serve annoys someone, GOOD! Then they can whine about it all match long as I rack up the points.

ttbrowne
05-03-2009, 06:35 PM
All right, Javier. Enough already.

Dude. This is a *discussion* board. People come here to *discuss* things. Those things that people want to discuss can be facts, opinions or experiences. If 500 people have one opinion and one person has a different opinion, that doesn't mean the discussion shouldn't happen. If you don't like a discussion, if you think the topic is "goofy," just move on to something more to your tastes. It's OK to say nothing, really.

Or, better yet, try this: Say something, do something *positive* for a change. Start a thread about something interesting or unusual or funny that *you* want to discuss rather than denigrate what others are discussing.

That would be so much more enjoyable than just leaping into conversations to urinate on what others are discussing. In my ever so humble opinion, as someone who has no more say around here than anyone else, I have to tell you that this sort of behavior really doesn't help the atmosphere around here even a little bit.

Sorry to land on you so hard, but I figured it needed to be said.

IMO, a discussion doesn't have to be positive. Negative along with the positive is what makes this board interesting. I don't want a bunch of goody-two-shoes, butt-kissin', mamsy-pamsy's. Someone wants to flame me..good...I flame back.

MNPlayer
05-04-2009, 06:19 AM
Criticism of underhanded serving seems quite similar to all the denigration "pushers" have endured for their unaggressive, and yet often effective style of play.

This, to me, seems like a much better analogy than tagging someone with an overhead. There is little chance of injuring someone with an underhanded serve.

I personally enjoy playing against both pushers and the occasional underhanded serve for the same reason - I get to practice proper movement and setting up my shots, and I get to practice it a lot more than against someone who just hits either a winner or an error on every shot.

OrangePower
05-04-2009, 11:06 AM
Criticism of underhanded serving seems quite similar to all the denigration "pushers" have endured for their unaggressive, and yet often effective style of play.

This, to me, seems like a much better analogy than tagging someone with an overhead. There is little chance of injuring someone with an underhanded serve.

I personally enjoy playing against both pushers and the occasional underhanded serve for the same reason - I get to practice proper movement and setting up my shots, and I get to practice it a lot more than against someone who just hits either a winner or an error on every shot.

Dude, your post is too well considered and on-topic to be posted in this thread :-)

Needless to say I agree 100%...

serve and Justin
05-04-2009, 03:35 PM
I played 1/2 in high school and hurt my shoulder weight lifting so I ended up using a bit of underhanded serves...It actually won me quite a few service games.

I have no problem with "playing ugly" I am pretty sure Brad Gilbert wrote a whole book about it.

Sakkijarvi
05-05-2009, 02:34 PM
My regular singles buddy/opponent isn't as good at handling the sun as I am, so he throws in the underhanded serve occasionally, especially on a big 2nd serve, to avoid double-faulting. He has a way of hitting it with a lot of spin, short and flat. If it catches you napping it can snare him an easy point, and since he keeps it low, you have to really bend your knees and get under the ball to create offense off of it.