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-   -   Underhand serving: poor sportsmanship? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=421714)

lendl1986 04-24-2012 07:48 PM

Underhand serving: poor sportsmanship?
 
Shoulder tendonitis prevents me from serving for an entire tournament.

I'm considering underhanding. Would inform my opponent during warmup. No "sneak" underhands like Chang. Might try some side spins and backhands.

It's going to be embarassing, but it's my only option for this 4.0 mens tourney.

Is this poor sportsmanship?

maggmaster 04-24-2012 08:13 PM

No way man. I got beat in a 4.0 tourney by a former racket ball national champ. He served underhand, sidehand and every other way but normal. After beating me he apologized for his unorthodox game. I told him the truth, his unorthodox game was better than my game on that day. I have beat him since but there was nothing unsportsmanlike about how he played, just different.

Scar1358 04-24-2012 08:19 PM

well in my opinion if it is like a serve that you would actually use as your first option then go ahead it isnt bad sportmanship. (tell them first so they dont get offended). But if your going to do it because the other guy is bad and you are trying to show off with not even trying to serve then yes that is very bad sportsmanship. I've seen some games where a guy just starts to serve underhand because he is teasing the other guy. (im in highschool)

floridatennisdude 04-25-2012 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lendl1986 (Post 6486652)
Shoulder tendonitis prevents me from serving for an entire tournament.

I'm considering underhanding. Would inform my opponent during warmup. No "sneak" underhands like Chang. Might try some side spins and backhands.

It's going to be embarassing, but it's my only option for this 4.0 mens tourney.

Is this poor sportsmanship?

I tore my labrum and rotator cuff in a tourney. I was playing singles and mixed. By day 3, I had regressed to under handing it. In my semi final singles match, it cost me the second set and tiebreak...the guy got used to it. In mixed, it didn't seem to affect our results.

It's just really hard to be unpredictable when you only have an underhanded. It takes significant practice to become good at that serve.

As for sportsmanship, there is no issue with it. Even if you just pull this serve out once per match. It's legal and fair. If the opponent complains, it's probably because it's working.

BobFL 04-25-2012 07:22 AM

If you have no other choice but to serve uh then just don't play. Recover first and take care of your injury...

tennismonkey 04-25-2012 07:53 AM

it's part of the game. but i like the idea of telling your opponent why you're doing it and that you're not trying to show them up or be an azz.

precision2b 04-25-2012 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennismonkey (Post 6487298)
it's part of the game. but i like the idea of telling your opponent why you're doing it and that you're not trying to show them up or be an azz.

It’s a legal shot and like tennismonkey said I like that you are going to tell your opponent first…

LuckyR 04-25-2012 08:14 AM

I disagree, I would not tell them ahead of time. Could you imagine any other sport/situation where you would have that kind of conversation? Of course, you probably are going to practice that shot during the warm up.

Orange 04-25-2012 08:34 AM

No, a legal underhand serve is not poor sportsmanship unless it is done deceptively (i.e., after having served the rest of the match in a typical way, a server tries a quick underhand serve for the purpose of tricking his opponent).

While it would be atypical to inform your opponent and would not normally occur in another sport, it would be the gentlemanly thing to do in this sport. It is a particularly classy move to inform him of your injury, because this information also tells him that you probably can't hit overheads, either.

I disagree strongly with the poster who said that you shouldn't play tennis until you can serve overhand. What, you should just let your muscles turn to jelly as you are recovering? Perhaps I am particularly sympathetic because I'm frustrated by being sidelined with an injury for just a few days!

I know a high school player in this situation. He is otherwise the school's best player, so if he doesn't play every other player must play up a spot.

I say, play, have fun, and good luck!

josofo 04-25-2012 08:39 AM

i have a practice partner that serves exclusively underhand. he says he has been doing it for 12+ years and when he did tournament he would tell people he serves underhand before hand because a lot of people would get mad.


but yeah he is pushing 4.5 while serving underhand. he leads me id say about 40 sets to 3.


he holds his serve the majority of the time obviously. i think a lot of 4.5 would beat him because they would be able to consistently punish him on the return of serve. i am not quite good enough to consistently hit winners off his serve in fact i hold my serve vs a lot more than i break his serve.

tennisjon 04-25-2012 08:49 AM

I coach college tennis and our first singles serve underhand about 90% of the time. It started out her freshman year because she had a torn muscle and couldn't life her arm over her head. After just 10 minutes she developed a good sidespin and lob serve. These two serves worked great until she played a really good player and she, on-the-spot came up with a flat forehand serve with a lot of power. Two years later, even though that muscle is healed, she has had other injuries, but she found that most people got so frustrated playing against her style that they mentally crumbled. Over the past two years other players on the team have served underhand due to injuries or to prevent double faulting.

It is legal. It is different. It works.

The only time I would say its poor sportsmanship is if you are healthy and you are playing against a significantly weaker opponent.

On our men's team, we have played against NYU and Amherst, both ranked teams (as were we) and they had players who served exclusively underhand due to injury. They won in both cases. We are so used to returning overhand serves that underhand serves play tricks on the brain.

Personally, I don't understand why more people don't use it, especially at lower levels where people's overhand serves aren't a weapon.

alidisperanza 04-25-2012 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orange (Post 6487362)
No, a legal underhand serve is not poor sportsmanship unless it is done deceptively (i.e., after having served the rest of the match in a typical way, a server tries a quick underhand serve for the purpose of tricking his opponent).

It is a particularly classy move to inform him of your injury, because this information also tells him that you probably can't hit overheads, either.


While I agree that it's noble of you to inform your opponent, how is serving underhand any more "deceptive" than hitting a particularly wicked slice after driving the ball flat all match? Provided you are not doing anything in your motion to distract your opponent, I see this as a perfectly valid method of serving. Similarly to some of the above posts, I had to serve underhanded for a period in High School becuase I dislocated my left shoulder and couldn't extend it up to toss the ball. In turn, I developed a one hand backhand, and a particularly wicked "Chang" serve.

I propose to you this; is hitting the "American" or "Jamaican" twist serve any different? A righty serve with lefty spin on it.

Delano 04-25-2012 09:06 AM

I saw an underhand serve used routinely at a DI match. Watching the match, I got the impression that the UH serving player had trouble with second serve consistency, and had been advised by her coach to just go ahead and serve underhand rather than double faulting.

It worked alright. Not as good as a consistent second serve kicker, but her opponent was a heavy-topspin player (probably from growing up on the european clay courts) and had trouble getting under the backspin underhand serve. It also put the returner in the middle of the court where she had to either retreat awkwardly to the baseline or hit a good approach and take the net, where she clearly wasn't comfortable.

All in all, it wasn't ideal, but it wasn't a disaster either. I'd be willing to try it, because I have a generally ok serve that occasionally just goes off the rails. Serving underhand would not only help me avoid those double faults - it would probably reduce the fear of the double fault (which might actually end up reducing the odds that I'd get the yips).

Unfortunately, under handed serving is a little socially awkward... while I kind of agree that there's no obligation to broadcast the fact that you're serving underhanded, I personally would avoid an underhand "quickserve".


Quote:

Originally Posted by tennisjon (Post 6487397)
I coach college tennis and our first singles serve underhand about 90% of the time. It started out her freshman year because she had a torn muscle and couldn't life her arm over her head. After just 10 minutes she developed a good sidespin and lob serve. These two serves worked great until she played a really good player and she, on-the-spot came up with a flat forehand serve with a lot of power. Two years later, even though that muscle is healed, she has had other injuries, but she found that most people got so frustrated playing against her style that they mentally crumbled. Over the past two years other players on the team have served underhand due to injuries or to prevent double faulting.

It is legal. It is different. It works.

The only time I would say its poor sportsmanship is if you are healthy and you are playing against a significantly weaker opponent.

On our men's team, we have played against NYU and Amherst, both ranked teams (as were we) and they had players who served exclusively underhand due to injury. They won in both cases. We are so used to returning overhand serves that underhand serves play tricks on the brain.

Personally, I don't understand why more people don't use it, especially at lower levels where people's overhand serves aren't a weapon.


Larrysümmers 04-25-2012 09:15 AM

yesterday i underhanded/sliced the serve on match point. wasnt an ace but it was an unreturnable serve.

Orange 04-25-2012 10:42 AM

Quote:

While I agree that it's noble of you to inform your opponent, how is serving underhand any more "deceptive" than hitting a particularly wicked slice after driving the ball flat all match?
Serving underhand is deceptive when, having missed one's normal first serve, one very quickly pulls a ball out of his pocket and serves it underhand for the first time in a match without going through the normal ball-bouncing and wind-up that accompanied all the previous serves and with the intention of tricking the opponent.

Such a serve is legal but unsportsmanlike.

leech 04-25-2012 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orange (Post 6487619)
Such a serve is legal but unsportsmanlike.

Agreed. Very different from what the OP described as having to serve underhanded due to a medical condition; no element of surprise there.

tennisjon 04-25-2012 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orange (Post 6487619)
Serving underhand is deceptive when, having missed one's normal first serve, one very quickly pulls a ball out of his pocket and serves it underhand for the first time in a match without going through the normal ball-bouncing and wind-up that accompanied all the previous serves and with the intention of tricking the opponent.

Such a serve is legal but unsportsmanlike.

Agreed. Of course then you don't return it and say you weren't ready. lol

alidisperanza 04-25-2012 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orange (Post 6487619)
Serving underhand is deceptive when, having missed one's normal first serve, one very quickly pulls a ball out of his pocket and serves it underhand for the first time in a match without going through the normal ball-bouncing and wind-up that accompanied all the previous serves and with the intention of tricking the opponent.

Such a serve is legal but unsportsmanlike.

Hence I qualified my statement right after the quoted sentence. The above poster brings up a valid point: if you're not ready, you're not ready.

cknobman 04-25-2012 12:09 PM

There is nothing wrong with it at all. If your opponent cant deal with it then it is their problem.

While on topic I hit this exact shot in a doubles match during a team practice last week. We were getting our butts kicked and I figured what the heck. Surprisingly I actually hit a pretty darn good underhanded serve out of the blue and caught the opponent of guard. My serve was unreturned and everyone was pretty shocked to see me do it. Everyone on court had a pretty good laugh about it.

Orange 04-25-2012 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orange
Serving underhand is deceptive when, having missed one's normal first serve, one very quickly pulls a ball out of his pocket and serves it underhand for the first time in a match without going through the normal ball-bouncing and wind-up that accompanied all the previous serves and with the intention of tricking the opponent.

Such a serve is legal but unsportsmanlike.
Quote:

Agreed. Of course then you don't return it and say you weren't ready. lol
No, a player is not allowed to claim he was unready for the second serve after the fault on the first serve unless there was outside interference. Also, not being ready for the second serve after appearing to be ready is not excused by not liking the type of serve.

Quote:

USTA Comment 21.2: Once ready, can the receiver become unready? The receiver cannot become unready unless outside interference occurs.
Quote:

USTA Comment 21.7: What happens when the server observes that the receiver appears to be ready and hits the second serve in, but the receiver makes no attempt to return it? The server wins the point if the receiver had no reason for not being ready; if the receiver was not ready because of something within the receiver’s control (broken string or contact lens problem), then the server gets two serves; and if the receiver was not ready because of some reasonable factor such as clearing the errant first serve or a ball from an adjacent court, then the server gets one serve. If the time to clear the ball from the adjacent court is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption, the receiver should offer the server two serves.


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