Do you consider this poor sportsmanship?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by AR15, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    My club has a tennis challenge ladder with a wide range of age between the adults participating. We have a few men who play that are 65 to over 70 years old. These guys hit the ball very well, but a couple of them have the disadvantage (that comes with age) of not being able to cover the court like someone 20 years younger than them.

    I had a discussion with fellow club members about the concept of sportsmanship in hitting particular shots against our more senior members. I'd like to throw it out to you:

    If you were a fit player in your 40's, would you hit a drop shot on a 70 year old opponent? Or, an underhand serve?

    Before I give my thoughts, I'd like to read yours.
     
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  2. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Definitely do not drop shot - unless you would like to win the match. In which case you should use whatever shots you have at your disposal.

    In the case of the 65-70-year-old-players, who is the challenger here? If they're challenging the 40-year-old, they certainly know what to expect. It is a challenge ladder, after all. If they expected to be spared from drop shots, hard first serves, or what have you, they would probably not have signed up. It's easy enough to just call someone for a nice session of groundstroke rallies, or to stick to "super senior" leagues (in the case of the older players).

    As for the underhand serve - I would have to be injured or seriously having a problem with my serve to do that. (That said, I was such a nervous wreck during my first match at State this year, I SHOULD have tried it because I couldn't get a serve in the court to save my life.)

    Oh, and one more point about the drop shot: the seniors I have played have better drop shots that anyone! It's not like they're only going to see it from the younger players - a good senior doubles player will pull that shot out of nowhere, at will.

    Okay, I lied - one more point. I played tennis through my ninth month of pregnancy (including two days before I went into labor), and I never expected anyone to avoid the drop shot because I was slower. Or to not make me play the ball at net, for that matter. People are out there to play.

    One last, last, final point: 65 is not necessarily very slow, and 35 is not necessarily that fast.
     
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  3. darkhorse

    darkhorse Rookie

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    Drop shots are fine, as they'll likely hit them against you.

    Underhand serves, however, are bush league at any adult level.
     
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  4. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Seeing as these gentlemen are on the singles challenge ladder, I would play them like I would play anyone else on the ladder. I would play my best and give them the same respect as I would any other player.

    Considering that I don't hit underhand serves, even against some younger but bigger guys who aren't as mobile, I would not hit them in this match simply because they are not as mobile.

    To me, switching up to the drop-shot serve feels like you are being condescending. If you have a good serve, keep serving the way you normally do.

    As for drop shots. I think drop shots in the course of play are fair game. If the situation calls for it, I hit drop shots in a normal match against any opponent. However, I would not change my game to ONLY hit drop shots against these guys.

    I do have one exception - if these guys were former pros and even at 70, were able to clean my clock on the court, and basically just laugh at usual game, I might have to be more flexible in my tactics to make it interesting. In this case they'll probably take it more as despiration instead of an insult. ;)
     
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  5. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If you watch a Senior Age Group Tournament, 70-95's, these guys drop shot and under-hand each other unmercifully. If it were Tom Brown in his 70's, and me in my 20's, he'd kick my butt. Dodo Cheney's drop-shot was recently featured on Destination Tennis San Diego and at 95 she's serving under-handed and has more Gold Balls then God.

    If they're out on the tennis field of battle, competing for a spot on the club's ladder, you may get your butt whupped, don't turn your back on a senior player. Give 'em every thing you've got and mercifully take 'em out of their misery as fast as possible so they can hit the bar or the hot-tub faster. To do anything less would be patronizing. And if they don't like losing and they are bad sports about it, tell them it's maybe time to take up a less physically demanding game like croquette.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
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  6. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Not to mention the fact that we old folks usually have more money to spend and are more likely to treat than not - win or lose. :)
     
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  7. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are really asking three questions, my guess is the last one is the one you care about:

    1- What is legal? Naturally, every shot is within the rules.

    2- What will certain shots on your part, make the other guy think about you? Tough to say without knowing the individuals. Some folks will say "nice touch" and mean it, off of a great dropper. Others will grumble about "whippersnappers".

    3- What will the rest of the club think of your style of play? Again tough to say but my guess is eyerolling and "loser" will be more frequent than compliments on your competitiveness.
     
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  8. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    I play with a bunch of seniors whenever I can get a Monday or Friday morning off. I'm one of the youngest at 52. They have the courts reserved from 8-12 every Monday and Friday and often have more than 24 players. Everyone plays round robin doubles, and nobody sits out more than 15 minutes.

    Some of these guys still complete in the 4.5 - 5.0 USTA leagues. Most are probably still in the 3.0 - 3.5 range. They are bloodthirsty and have no qualms about drop shots, slices, or lobbing your butt to death. They'll also take your head off at the net. The legs might be going, but if they can get to it, they can usually kill you with accuracy. Some still have real good power. They're also some of the nicest guys you could ever meet.... off the court....On the court it's all business. I found out real quick that there's no such thing as taking it easy on them. Not only can they take it, but they dish it out very well too.

    If your seniors are joining the challenge ladder, then they're usually prepared. Pay them respect by playing them a straight up game.
     
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  9. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    If you are competing on a challenge ladder, the goal is to get to the top of the ladder. At the end of the season, you compare your position on the ladder to everyone else, you may be first, top 5, in the middle, or bottom 5, or last. But you are competing. Therefore, any legal shot is sporting. Drop shots, underhand serves are sporting. Guess what, hitting away from your opponent is also sporting, and serving aces to your opponent is sporting.

    If you think drop shots and underhanded serves are unsportsmanlike, then, how can you say hitting the ball away from your 70 year old opponent, is not also unsportsmanlike? Or lobbing? Or hitting passing shots?




     
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  10. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Your point is exactly the same as mine.

    I had a fellow club member say he wouldn't drop shot the older players. I said I would use every tool in my box. Different players have different strengths, and to win they need to use those strengths no matter what type of shot it is.
     
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  11. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Just a freindly match and then I would not dropshot them. But once you start keeping track of wins and losses in a ladder then you are implicitly asking for someone else's best game. At that point its pretty ridiculous to think that your dropshot is such a devastating weapon that it would be unfair to use in a match.
     
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  12. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    :lol: Funny, and true.
     
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  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    If I actually enjoyed hitting lots drop shots against any player, I certainly WOULD hit all drop shots against a 70 year old. It is absurd to go easy on an opponent in a *challenge* ladder match because you pity your opponent. Having said that, I don't hit drop shots very much because I prefer crushing forehands. If I can get the old man running back and forth across the baseline, then even more fun for me.
     
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  14. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    'Going easy' on someone is more insulting than drop shoting them, IMHO.

    OP, you should have warned us before the underhand serve blast. My neighbors almost called the cops! :) If someone in their 40s needs to pull that out to beat someone in their 70s, time to hang it up. What do you use if that doesn't work? Shrieking like Seles? Hooking them on line calls? Telling them they're old and you'll keep score the rest of the match? LOL!
     
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  15. decades

    decades Guest

    if you use the underhand serve you should be banned from the club.
     
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  16. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    This is my opinion. I am 65 yrs old and a single's player. When I ask someone to play singles, whatever their age, I expect them to play as well as they can. And if they don't take advantage of using dropshots, then you better believe as soon as I get a chance, I will use them. As a senior when I see a shot that's impossible to return for one reason or another, I will let it go. We do gain wisdom ya know. :|

    The best thing to do if you HAVE TO use an underhand serve, is to tell your opponent/s well before you start the match. I can remember once when I played in a USTA match and my partner could only serve underhanded due to her recent surgery. She told us as soon as we arrived on the court. Our opponents weren't thrilled. I didn't mind as much because she was my partner. :twisted:
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Count me as another who will not serve underhand unless I am injured. And maybe not even then.

    I will dropshot older players, but I am reluctant to do it against heavy women. I dunno. There but for the grace of God go I (and did go, not too many years ago).
     
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  18. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    A note to anyone on TW who will ever play against me: I am a 70 year old man, but look a lot younger. No droppers for me unless you want some excessive eye-rolling and a grumpy attitude.
     
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  19. TenS_Ace

    TenS_Ace Rookie

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    If you are keeping score..then all is fair in love and war! N'uff said!:twisted:
     
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  20. Ali

    Ali New User

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    Personally I would never use an underarm server. It shows a lack of integrity on your behalf and also a lack of sportsmanship.

    With regards to a drop shot, I have no qualms using it. For me it's a legitimate shot, regardless of age.

    There's also that catch 22 situation. Do you not drop shot out of respect for your opponent?, or do you risk patronising your opponent by thinking they can't get to it?
     
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  21. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I've played against some people with a wicked underhand serve. In one local league match we were playing mixed and one older woman just had this nasty, low bouncing, slicing underhand serve. It was her normal serve. She game me more problems returning than the heat her partner was hitting on his serve.
     
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  22. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Then you're removing one quiver from your arsenal. It's perfectly legal and can be very effective as the previous poster has said.

    I had a doubles match this year on grass, and one of our opponent's, an older chap, used it very effectively against my partner. Our opponent was frustrated because we were winning and pulled out an excellent slice under-handed serve. My parter did not return one of them but
    fortunately I could read it and returned it so it was a wash point wise. But, in no way did I take offense that he used every shot he could muster to win. It's no different then returning any other shot. If you observe your opponent's motion carefully you can read if they are going to employ it. I think when it's used in conjunction with fast-serving is when it get's dicey.

    I have used it but as an insult when my opponent was an a-hole or on occasion as a joke amongst friends. I bet if one's mortgage depended on it and that was the only shot left, (a la Michael Chang) many of us would "stoop" to the under-hander.
     
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  23. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    That is the stupidest thing I have read all day.


     
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  24. ProgressoR

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    I take it you just logged on to TT and have not read any other threads yet.

    I feel like posting that sentence about 8 times every time I visit the forums.
     
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  25. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    LOL - SO true.
     
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  26. bigfoot910

    bigfoot910 Rookie

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    Drop shots would be ok, as long as they were done in moderation, just like playing a regular opponent (like hitting a drop shot volley if there is an opening). I definitely wouldn't be doing it every other ball. It is just unsporting, but like a previous poster said, they are playing on the singles ladder, so obviously they are playing for some competitive spirit.

    The underhanded serve, that's just underhanded. I don't do that to anyone, I feel like it is disrespectful to an opponent. People may disagree, but I feel like if I am going to win, I am going to do it fair and square not trying to trick someone using dirty tactics...
     
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  27. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Confusing. Is it also bad form to hit to someone's backhand because it's weak? Maybe it's best to alternate winning points so that no one's feelings get hurt? Why keep score if one player isn't allowed to hit some legal shots according to other people's very subjective understanding of what's fair?
     
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  28. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I am extremely farsighted, so it would be totally unfair for someone to hit a hard shot at me at net... (Note to self: Make sure everyone in the club knows about this!)
     
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  29. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I don't get the hatred towards an underhand serve. If I hit big topspin groundstrokes and someone moves back so that the ball will drop into their hitting zone then its not a problem to hit a dropshot and make them cover the part of the court they have conceded right? But if I hit big topspin serves and someone moves back so that the ball will drop into their hitting zone then hitting an underhand serve to make them cover the part of the court they have conceded is now showing a lack of integrity?
     
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  30. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    My only problem with the underhand serve is that I think the receiver has a right to know when the ball is coming, and when someone pulls an underhand serve out of nowhere, it's kind of like quick serving them because they're waiting for your racquet to go up to hit the ball. I know that this is absolutely not part of the rules - it's just the way I feel about it. Of course I wouldn't do that for any other kind of shot (Hey, look out for my wicked dropper!), but when I'm starting the point I feel a little different about it. Your opponent should know when the point is starting.

    In the match I referred to earlier, at State, I absolutely should have swallowed my pride and tried to serve underhand. Maybe the reason I didn't do it was that I was so "frozen" with nerves, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get that in, either.
     
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  31. North

    North Professional

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    Yeah, I don't get it either. Underhand serves certainly drive me up the wall - very frustrating. I play this one guy from time to time who will unpredictably hit very hard flat serves that come blasting at me, so I have to back way up to return the serve, alternating with dinky little drop shot serves that land 2 or 3 feet from the net. When I move forward to get to those little dinks he starts blasting again - drives me crazy.

    Also frustrating is lack of pace, frequent changes of pace on groundstrokes, crazy varied spins, moonballs, drop shots..... Yet I have no qualms about either myself or an opponent choosing any of these shots to win most efficiently. What I really don't get is questioning the integrity of people who use underhand serves. If I can't handle a serve like that then it's just one more thing I have to get better at.
     
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  32. Austinthecity

    Austinthecity Rookie

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    Personally, I have been raised and trained to the way of the thinking of a lot of the other posters. I think the underhand serve pushes the limit of sportsmanship and can be a drop in tennis etiquette. Have I used it? Sure. But here are some scenarios:

    -If I am playing around with a buddy on court I might underhand serve to get a laugh. In this case, if I aced him and he asked to replay, I would. This scenario is strictly to pull a laugh.

    -I played dubs a while back and one of the opponents was getting angry to the point of dangerous. He would give us balls back by hitting them as hard as he could and they would usually hit the fence first. I proceeded to underhand ace him.

    -I played 3.5 states in the past and there was a self rated 3.5 who was clearly a ringer. He just graduated high school and was going to UGA to be on the practice squad. I had no chance against him and underhand served him. He won the point and kind of looked at me questioningly and I responded, "that's all I got." He got a laugh out of it. He ended up getting DQ'd and bumped to 5.0

    Personally, I wouldn't use an underhand in a match against someone who's not a close buddy. However, I started playing the devil's advocate and thinking about it and I wonder if things that are now acceptable in other sports were once considered in the same boat as the underhand serve in tennis:

    Was it ever looked down upon in baseball to intentionally walk someone to close the gap if there was a runner on 2nd?

    Was it ever looked down upon in football to just kneel for 4 downs when you basically have the game won with 2 minutes left and the other team doesn't have any timeouts?
     
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  33. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I was a fast-pitch softball pitcher in school, and I HATED intentional walks.

    I hate that, too! To me it isn't sporting. It's similar to when a tennis team will default/retire from remaining lines after they've clinched the match.
     
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  34. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I used an underhand serve on a huge point against a big hitter in doubles. i was just pounding his backhand with topspin serves and he moved back so it would drop into his hitting zone. I was up 40-30 on set point and on a first serve I just underhand dropped it over to his backhand. It wasn't a wicked drop- he got to it but had to reach and lift it up and over the net and but put it at least 5 feet long. After having so much trouble taking high backhands, having to adjust to one he had to move in and scoop was just very difficult for him. It was a demoralizing point and I think we went on to win the second set 6-1.

    He wasn't covering that part of the court so thats where I hit it. I didn't quick serve him- I just hit it to the part of the court he decided not to cover. I can't for the life of me see whats the least bit unethical about it.

    I can understand losing points to an underhanded serve being exeptionally frustrating. I can understand if you feel its unethical to quickserve someone when they aren't expecting it. But I can't understand why people want to act like the underhand serve by itself is illegal and only allowed through some kind of loophole.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
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  35. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    If you're referring to my post, I didn't say it was unethical. I just don't like to/want to/feel good about doing it.
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe you've put your finger on why the idea bugs me also. Serving is fraught with expectations and rituals. Receiver has to get ready. Server has to look that Receiver is ready. Receiver can ask server to wait briefly by holding up a racket. Server will show Receiver new balls. If Receiver isn't ready and doesn't move, it doesn't count. Servers have predictable rituals, like number of ball bounces. Servers often apologize when they catch a toss -- they've thrown off the Receiver's rhythm.

    And despite all of that based on rules and customs, we have the server suddenly being able to surprise the receiver out of nowhere with an underhand serve. Receiver, who was expecting to split on the toss and read the toss, suddenly gets an underhand serve. If it works, it is 50% due to the element of surprise.

    It just doesn't fit with everything else that accompanies serving, you know?

    That said, I do have one teammate who will underhand serve in practice. She does it when the sun is in her eyes. This bugs me to no end, not because of custom or etiquette. It is because she is so focused on winning a point in a practice match that she is wasting the chance to practice serving into the sun.
     
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  37. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Once a receiver is ready to receive a serve, he cannot become unready just because you underhand serve him. I play according to the rules of tennis, if pepole think i am being unfair or unsporting for using an underhand serve, then tennis is probably not the sport for them, they should probably just go back home and play with their dolls.


     
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  38. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Wow, are you just trying to be a jerk? I am well acquainted with the rules concerning the serve, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER. I don't care what you do, or what my opponent does. I'm talking about they way I feel about WHAT I DO.
     
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  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Of course you can serve underhand. Go for it, man!

    In fact, if you do underhand serve, I will never forget you. Why, I remember the one and only guy (a 4.0) I have ever seen underhand serve in 7.0 mixed. Man, he was such a tool! Snotty attitude about announcing the score, took huge cuts at the ball but missed wildly, tried to hit me with overheads. Just not a nice guy. My partner and I were winning, so in the second set this guy hits an underhand serve to my partner. Trouble was, he did it on a second serve and DF, IIRC. Yup, that leaves a good impression: The unmistakable stench of someone who is losing a tennis match.

    Yeah. I remember that guy and his underhand serve . . . .
     
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  40. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Please explain what you mean by: "Snotty attitude about announcing the score"?


     
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  41. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    I don't know about anyone else, but I would love to see video of this! :D
     
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  42. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Thank god, as far as I know none exists! :lol:

    I had such a miserable first pregnancy - I was terribly sick for pretty much the whole time. I couldn't even imagine playing tennis. With the last one, I felt so great in comparison, and I was surprised that once I got over the morning sickness and started playing again, I never felt off-balance, light-headed, tired, or anything like that. I was going to quit the first time it happened, but it never did. (This was doubles only, by the way. Singles would probably have been a different story.)

    Let me tell you - huge pregnant women can also serve huge! Having that cannonball in front really gets you moving into the court. And serving aces when you're nine months pregnant is extremely satisfying! Afterward, it probably took about six months before I felt like I was playing as well as I did when I was pregnant. That part was not so fun...
     
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  43. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    I would and could not ever ever ever ever underhand serve. If someone does it against me, its all fine, I will play it out and try to win the point. I would be a bit puzzled as i have never seen this serve used, but its all good experience. And if opponent resorts to UH serves, then i guess something is going pretty wrong for them to try that. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

    If I indicate I am ready to receive his normal serve, then i think i better be ready if he UH serves it too, if it surprises me, then that is my fault.
     
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  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    He was a Low-Talker. If he was about to serve and I said "Score please?" he would treat my request in a rather derisive fashion. That sort of thing.
     
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  45. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    that is a jerky thing to do, it is his duty under the rules to announce the score so you can hear it. violating the rules of tennis is a jerky thing to do. underhanded serving does not violate the rules, hence it is perfectly acceptable.

     
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  46. a10best

    a10best Semi-Pro

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    underhanded serving means I won't play that person again.
    very simple.
    drop shot an older guy, not just dink them back.
    OTOH, if you're real winner drop shot them and then top-spin lob it.
     
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  47. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    you must not play a lot of people again. :twisted:

     
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  48. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, underhanded serving is legal. That doesn't make it acceptable in the eyes of many people, who view it as bush league. If you don't care what those people think of you, then go for it. I was just saying that you will make yourself "memorable," which might or might not be what you want.
     
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  49. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Connecticut
    Why would I care what cry-babies think of me? Because people who think of underhanded serves as being bush league, are, crybabies.


     
    #49
  50. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    I dunno. Martina Hingis probably thinks they are bush league now, but she found out the hard way. :)
     
    #50

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