Underarm Serve Rules

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by luke_1983uk, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. luke_1983uk

    luke_1983uk Semi-Pro

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    My question is to do with tennis rules.

    Are you allowed to serve underarm in tennis, and if so do you have to give warning to your opponent?

    Thanks for any help
     
    #1
  2. x Southpaw x

    x Southpaw x Semi-Pro

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    Frowned upon if you don't give warning... but I think it is quite legal.
     
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  3. Tennis Ball Hitter

    Tennis Ball Hitter Semi-Pro

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    legal, hingis served underarm to graf [in a wimbledon final if memory is working] and my firend does it to me all the time as a quick surprise 2nd serve.
     
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  4. gully

    gully Professional

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    Yes, completely legal, and generally frowned upon.

    I used to play with a guy who had a good underhanded serve. He had a deep, hard, flat, overhand serve he used through the first set and a half, which he delivered by starting in a deep, low, crouch, with ball in hand on racket face held low to the ground. I suppose he looked kind of like he was picking up a pail with two hands or something.

    You had to stay a few feet back of the line to return that serve. But then late in the match, and rarely more than once, from low in his crouch and without any discernible motion, he'd tap the ball ove rthe net with a bit of backspin. A pretty effective trick shot, mostly because of the disguise and because you had to respect his regular serve.

    It was pretty funny to see, in part because he was a big strong ex-linebacker using this little wussy shot -- but effectively!
     
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  5. x Southpaw x

    x Southpaw x Semi-Pro

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    You serious??? A pro actually pulled off that kind of stunt? Gosh. I won't be surprised if zero people clapped for that service winner.
     
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  6. Prince_of_Tennis

    Prince_of_Tennis Semi-Pro

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    Chang French Open....
     
    #6
  7. CrazyScheiner

    CrazyScheiner Rookie

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    I actually practiced a very strange slice underhand serve. You maybe like 'what the hell...' but when I did use it it was fast as hell.


    I also use Underhand Sidespin serve on Ad side to pull people out of the court.
     
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  8. nViATi

    nViATi Hall of Fame

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    nevermind sorry
     
    #8
  9. donnyz89

    donnyz89 Hall of Fame

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    it was done to me in the tourny last weekend. i was able to get to it but i guess i awsnt ready and hit the shot into the net. if it was during a rally, it woulda been over the net. I wasnt out of position, i got ready but still hit it into the net.
     
    #9
  10. AngeloDS

    AngeloDS Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I had to play a few players during the boys tennis season where they injured their arm and had to go with the underhand serve. I let them, but so many cheap points because of that odd skid and bounce it takes. You have to take it RIGHT as it comes off the ground, it's difficult to control.
     
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  11. littlelleyton

    littlelleyton Semi-Pro

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    the most famous incident of this happening, that i know of or seen was at the french in '89 Lendl V Chang

    Lendl, who was known to be one of the least easily fazed players to grace the court, completely lost his rhythm. He began to swear at the umpire and the crowd, especially after losing a key point in the fifth set when Chang shocked him by delivering an under-arm serve. Chang later explained, "I was trying to break his concentration. I would do anything to stay out there."
     
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  12. krnboijunsung

    krnboijunsung Semi-Pro

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    The only reason people use underarm serve is for a surprise slice. I've seen a guy on varsity do it, and I think it's okay. I don't think it should be frowned upon because it's usually a weaker slice serve, than a slice serve that you hit from above.
     
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  13. USCfan

    USCfan Professional

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    It's despicable...
     
    #13
  14. gully

    gully Professional

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    Does anyone actually call this an "underarm" serve (i.e. posts 1 & 12)? Like it has something to do with your armpit?

    Please -- isn't it correctly called "underhand"?

    Oh, and USCfan: you'd be entirely welcome to tell my ex-linebacker opponent his tactic was "despicable." Me, I just smiled and said "Nice shot. Try it again."
     
    #14
  15. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    Why would underarm serving be frowned upon? It's not a macho shot? It is a perfectly legal tennis stroke and if someone gets a point from you with it then you weren't paying attention. I have played against a fellow who has a very good first serve (when they go in) and he will throw in an underarm serve to change the pace. He usually does it later in a match if his arm is starting to get tired or he is having trouble getting his usual first serve in. If underarm serving is frowned upon should bunting in baseball also be frowned upon?
     
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  16. kicker75

    kicker75 Rookie

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    I saw Chang do it against Lendl in the French. He might have done it to break Lendl's concentration as previously stated, but I think he did it more because he was massively cramping and his regular serves were killing him. (That was a 5-setter I believe...and Chang was only 17)

    The other time, I saw Hingis do it against Graf at the French. She too was cramping, and was also a huge target of the French crowd who were decidely against her for most of the match (this was the match that Graf won and Hingis cried during her runner-up acceptance because the crowd was so brutal to her...in fact I believe they booed her quite a bit when she served underhand.) I think Hingis did it more in a "I give up way" rather than because she was cramping.

    Remember though...when the pros serve underhand, they do it with extreme underspin or slice, so it's still not an easy serve to crush.
     
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  17. littlelleyton

    littlelleyton Semi-Pro

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    my quote was taking from an interview micheal gave so its pretty safe to say that i may well have been cramping but it was more tactical ploy.
     
    #17
  18. ucd_ace

    ucd_ace Semi-Pro

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    luke_1983uk, if you're just serving underhand because you can't serve overhand for some reason, it's not a big deal. It's just the deceptive slice serve that people get so upset about their opponents hitting. Even then, I'm not too sure why; it's just as if your opponent was hitting a drop shot during a rally and nobody thinks of drop shots in that way.
     
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  19. x Southpaw x

    x Southpaw x Semi-Pro

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    Hey, think of the learning curve will you? Imagine all the newbies and new players being taught an underhand drop serve. What the hell would tennis turn into? The newbies can hardly even volley, they run up to the poorly executed drop serve, push the ball over, since they can't use proper stroke for fear of sending it long, and lose the point almost as fast as it started.

    Drop shots on the other hand are perhaps five times the difficulty of a drop serve, where you have full control of depth, spin, pace, direction. At what level do you see coaches teaching the drop shot even? Not till they're at least a decent 4.0 I bet.

    Tennis is a sport, not a video game where you can easily screw around with other players. Sure it's legal to aim easy overheads at your opponent's body or face, you just don't do it. Sure it's legal to play nothing but a-bit-too-high moonballs the entire match, you just don't do it. Sure it's legal to use an underhand drop serve, people-other-than-you just don't do it.
     
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  20. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    I don't see it as a big deal, it is legal. I mean if you can execute it and win the point, do it. Just like poeple frown on pushers or moonballers. Hey, if you got beat by a underhand serves or pushers or moonballers, something is definitely wrong with your game. Hitting someone intentionally with overhead is entirely different thing, you are trying to hurt someone intentionally, which is rude and unnecessary.
     
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  21. SageOfDeath

    SageOfDeath Guest

    not a big deal at all, if you can't deal with a slow paced high spin underhand serve then sucks for you.

    I don't think it should be taught but if for some reason you are injured or cannot preform a normal serve, then an underhand serve is fine.

    However you can't drop and hit the serve if I remember, like any other serve you toss it up and hit it.
     
    #21
  22. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    Um, it depends. I've done that. When I wanted to win the match.

    It was a HS team meet against a team that had beaten us 4-3 last year; I was matched up against a guy with an eastern grip that totally killed the slices that I usually like using. And then I realized that he couldn't handle anything at or above shoulder level.

    Yep, I cranked up the uber-topspin off of my forehand all match long. Frustrated the heck out of him.

    I won the match, and our team won the meet 4-3.

    It's called finding your opponent's weaknesses.

    My stance on stuff like that - it's totally fine.
    With one exception - if it's a practice match AND your opponent really doesn't like it.

    In a real match (league, or team, or anything competitive) - those things are quite fine.

    As for me, I know I'd never mind if people pulled strange tricks on me in practice matches. Though I suppose lots of people wouldn't.
     
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  23. dakels

    dakels Rookie

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    If I am remembering this correct, Hingis did this out of pure desperation and she got booed badly for it and still lost. She was getting her butt handed to her and she started doing anything out of frustration. In fact I thikn I remember her getting booed so badly at her underhand serve and overall poor sportsmanship that she was nealry in tears walking off the court.

    The Chang thing was partly due to injury. I remember watching that match too. He was getting intense doctor/trainer work done on his shoulder as it was givin gout at the 5th set. While I'm sure throwing of lendle was part of it, I know injury was part of it too.

    As for normal court play, I agree it's really bad form to do this unless you are 2 total beginners and just messing around. (I have had to serve underhand a few times due to shoulder (bursa) injury). Didn't turn out too well for me ( I did discuss it with my opponent before serving UH).
     
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  24. dakels

    dakels Rookie

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    Agreed. Well, there is a difference betwen a moonball and a very high topspin looper. Oftentimes I see good player, especially on clay resort to hitting more high kick looping topsin to drive back the opponent. It's just tactics. I do it myself. Topspin shots 5-7' over the net with pace but when they land they will bound over your head.
     
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  25. 156MPHserve

    156MPHserve Professional

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    In competition, anything goes. Pro's don't need to use it because they've practised their overhead serving 20000x more than us. Unless they're injured of course. I remember during a High School match against another school, I just didn't have my second serve. I tried EVERYTHING overhead, I tried using a kick, I tried just hitting a hard flat, then I tried using a spin serve, I even tried to just tap the ball into the box and start a rally. I threw away LOTS of points, and I just wasn't going to lose without even starting some points. I was going to make him beat me. I didn't try to disguise it, I made it very obvious. Maybe he was anxious because he tried to smack a huge winner but it went way out. After that he just hit decent shots but didn't dare go for a winner again. I started to gain confidence and started getting a few first serves in. When my serve broke down, it was 6 - 1, he caught up to 6 - 4 and would've won if I kept throwing away my service games. I won 8 - 4, am I ashamed? NO! I gave him easy serves and he didn't use them to his advantage, he started rallies with them and I beat him in the rallies.
     
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