Andy Murray booed after underarm service...

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
An underarm serve is much harder than people make it out to be. Not to mention it’s a legitimate tactic against people who stand so far back on returns. The first time I saw it used in such an effective manner was a Karlovic-Haas match a long time ago. Haas was struggling to get serves back and stood right where the back wall was, even moving a chair to make more space for him. Dr. Ivo noticed this and decided to throw in an underarm serve for an ace. It wasn’t popular back then but with guys Kyrgios and Bublik it’s been popularized as a genuine tactic.
Karlovic did it as a joke basically and Haas was also laughing IIRC.
 

Fairhit

Professional
You have to tell your opponent where your serve is going...
Apparently for some here it is cheating to disguise your shot, you have to be totally clear to your opponent about your intentions, "I'M GONNA SERVE WIDE TO YOUR BACKHAND EXPECTING A MIDDLE COURT RETURN TO MY FOREHAND, THEN I'LL HIT A CROSS COURT ANGLE, PLEASE BE READY!!!"

And as some have said, hitting an underarm serve is easy, hitting a GOOD underarm serve is hard, it depends on your opponent being far behind the baseline and on your ability to hit it short and low bouncing, it also depends on your opponent being caught off guard, if he is expecting it it is too easy just approach the ball and pound it for a winner.

Alcaraz was ready to receive and Andy saw him getting too far behind the baseline, it was the perfect situation to do it and it was perfectly timed, there's nothing to complain about it, Alcaraz was ready and he ws expecting the whole ritual from Andy, he became unready by his own volition, once your are ready to receive you have to keep your attention the whole time on the server, if he would have done that, with his speed he would surely have gone for the ball but one thing is clear, he would alway be ready and stay ready from now on.

And comparing a legitimate tactic that puts the ball in play with a gamesmanship tactic is too childish to be taken seriously.
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
It's a tough shot to pull off. One needs to have practiced it.

Hit it too hard, and it's out or you give your opponent a sitter to crush.
Hit it too soft, and it's into the net.
Apparently that's the first thing players learn to do on a practice court i.e. feed the ball underarm. That's how you start your practice session. I'm just a lowly rec player and so are my compatriots at my club. We can all do underarm - you just put slice and underspin on it. It is only used when the opponent is standing far behind the baseline.

The only thing they would need to practice is the surprise element.
 

optic yellow

New User
Just watched the video in op and surprised that no one has brought up his comments on the speed of the surface at IW.

Stop cherry picking. Read about the incident. Anyone can google. Nadal was furious after the incident.

If it is great play, why haven't Fed, Nadal, Djoko, Waw, Delpo etc. used it? Because it is a cheap dirty trick beneath the level of elites.
It sounds like he would have been furious because he thought it was meant to personally disrespect him. Maybe those players have not used it because they haven't needed to, but they wouldn't say things like what Nadal said unless they didn't have much of a problem with it being used as a gameplay tactic.
 

Ad107

New User
Apparently for some here it is cheating to disguise your shot, you have to be totally clear to your opponent about your intentions, "I'M GONNA SERVE WIDE TO YOUR BACKHAND EXPECTING A MIDDLE COURT RETURN TO MY FOREHAND, THEN I'LL HIT A CROSS COURT ANGLE, PLEASE BE READY!!!"

And as some have said, hitting an underarm serve is easy, hitting a GOOD underarm serve is hard, it depends on your opponent being far behind the baseline and on your ability to hit it short and low bouncing, it also depends on your opponent being caught off guard, if he is expecting it it is too easy just approach the ball and pound it for a winner.

Alcaraz was ready to receive and Andy saw him getting too far behind the baseline, it was the perfect situation to do it and it was perfectly timed, there's nothing to complain about it, Alcaraz was ready and he ws expecting the whole ritual from Andy, he became unready by his own volition, once your are ready to receive you have to keep your attention the whole time on the server, if he would have done that, with his speed he would surely have gone for the ball but one thing is clear, he would alway be ready and stay ready from now on.

And comparing a legitimate tactic that puts the ball in play with a gamesmanship tactic is too childish to be taken seriously.
Agreed. Alcaraz was ready IMO, two feet widely stood, knee bent, but he was waiting for the usual pattern. I wouldn't take this Andy's underarm serve as something tricky or so. This is a pure tactic but I admit it's gutted for Alcaraz. What I don't agree is the underarm serve in some junior matches that clearly receiver is still moving into position which is clearly not ready. Otherwise, players can always put hands up like Nadal indicating he is not ready. And Andy walked to the bench quietly after the point without any emotion. I found that point quite fair.
 

Tranqville

Rookie
Do you guys remember how Martina HIngis was booed for serving underhanded defending a match point vs Steffi Graf in '99 RG final? So unfair.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
I mean, it's legal, but it's borderline.
It's a bit like a quick-serve, like a quick-pitch in baseball. The quick-pitch is fine if the batter is in the batter's box, and nobody has called time out.
It's not a tactic I'm too enamored of. Taking the returner by surprise as to speed and placement is absolutely part of the game, but sneaking it in when the receiver isn't really ready is borderline to me.
...
Other points raised:

No comparison to a dropshot whatsoever - which shouldn't have to be explained.

As to booing Andy, I don't know. I didn't watch the match. I respect Andy as a player, and for playing through tough injuries and competing hard, but I lost just a little respect for him when he complained ad nauseum abut Tsitsipas's bathroom break. Now, the underarm serve is not the same, but both are borderline - yet fully permissible - tactics.
 
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Beacon Hill

Hall of Fame
What do you think here, Alcaraz is clearly looking down when the ball is struck. Is that his fault or should the server make sure the opponent is looking first?
It's understandable that Alcaraz was not expecting it, but as soon as the server's feet are "at rest", the serve can come at any time. Returners will adjust as the serve becomes more common, and servers will have to hone their underhand serve skills to make them less obvious.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
I think the rule has to be changed to a high above the head toss. The server can still hit an underarm serve, by waiting for the ball to drop, but this will take away the element of sneakiness that in my opinion is the reason why this serve is frowned upon. The way it is now, it’s really a legal cheap shot, and while the rules allow the server to do it, they can‘t forbid the player from being booed and stigmatised in the future. Do it at your own risk, to paraphrase Federer. If you have self respect, don’t do it.
 

srimes

Rookie
No comparison to a dropshot whatsoever - which shouldn't have to be explained.
It is exactly comparable to a dropshot because that's what it literally is.

If the receiver is standing too far to the middle, serve wide.
If the receiver is standing too wide, serve up the T.
If the receiver is standing too close in, serve hard to the body.
If the receiver is standing too far back, serve a drop shot.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
It is exactly comparable to a dropshot because that's what it literally is.

If the receiver is standing too far to the middle, serve wide.
If the receiver is standing too wide, serve up the T.
If the receiver is standing too close in, serve hard to the body.
If the receiver is standing too far back, serve a drop shot.
If the receiver is waiting for the ball toss, serve underarm ;)
 

FlamingCheeto

Hall of Fame
Legal but still kind of a dick move no matter how you look at it. Had it been reversed with metal hip "old man" Andy getting underarmed, Alcaraz would be even more crucified.
 

EllieK

Hall of Fame
It would be interesting if the sport is struggling to get younger viewers. Maybe the sport is dying? I wonder what it will be like when the big 3 retire.
It will be much more competitive. Much like the WTA is right now. No one will dominate Grand Slams or Masters. I actually think that ATP tennis needs this to maintain interest in the game.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
IT walks the fine line of serving when your opponent IS NOT READY versus not expecting it. In almost all cases it's done quickly when the opponent is NOT ready or settled. Which is why it's so effective.
At the end of the day, there is something that is universally celebrated called sportsmanship. A sneak serve isn’t that. One can do all sorts of tricks when the ball is in play, but not before.
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
It is exactly comparable to a dropshot because that's what it literally is.

If the receiver is standing too far to the middle, serve wide.
If the receiver is standing too wide, serve up the T.
If the receiver is standing too close in, serve hard to the body.
If the receiver is standing too far back, serve a drop shot.
When a dropshot is executed, the ball is in play. It is coming at you like 80-90 miles an hour. When you are serving underhand, you are starting the play with a yellow ball in your hand. Do I really need to explain this?
 
Think most of you are missing Murray’s actual point, and the reasoning behind the underarm serve.
He said that Carlos was receiving from way back in the court, that the balls were heavy the court was slow.
He wanted Carlos to think twice about standing so far back, did it once.
 

Fairhit

Professional
lol not at all what i said, but it's kind of like a 5.0 double bageling a 3.5 70 year old man by DROP shotting them lol.
That would certainly be legal but not at all well seen and corroborates the point here, Andy did his serve to a fully functional pro player, he didn't took advantage of anything, the only advantage was on Alcaraz who lost his focus for a second there, how is the opponent's focus something not to be exploited?
 

srimes

Rookie
When a dropshot is executed, the ball is in play. It is coming at you like 80-90 miles an hour. When you are serving underhand, you are starting the play with a yellow ball in your hand. Do I really need to explain this?
Yes. Explain all of it.
I've never seen an 80 mph drop shot.
Play starts when the server hits the ball. As long as the receiver is ready to receive when the server starts play, what is the problem exactly?
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
Yes. Explain all of it.
I've never seen an 80 mph drop shot.
Play starts when the server hits the ball. As long as the receiver is ready to receive when the server starts play, what is the problem exactly?
With the underarm serve, the problem is what happens before the server hits the ball.
 

USMC-615

Semi-Pro
All I know is one thing...good, bad, right, wrong, different, indifferent...if you can't underarm serve a fit, move like lightning 18 yr old and get away with it, who the hell can ya underarm serve? :laughing:
 

TripleATeam

G.O.A.T.
Tennis is a sport. In sport, there are tactical decisions. If you're up against a particularly strong server, you will naturally take a larger advantage by standing further back (neutralizing the shot more). Legitimate tactic. As such, the solution isn't a weak overhead serve (since that will have high bounce and just be easy), the solution is an underhand serve to get a low-bounce short ball.

If the receiver wasn't ready for any serve, that's different. But if they were ready for a blazing hot serve and were given this, it's just like complaining about a serve down the T when you're out wide.

Let alone the fact that this can give you an easy point if your opponent is playing so far back, it's useful because it shows your opponent you're willing to punish them for it. They'll think twice about standing so far back, making the rest of your serves easier too.

Sure, complain if the receiver wasn't ready, but Carlos was. Just wasn't ready for an underhand, which is the point. If someone's ready for it, it's not the right shot to use. Just like any other stroke.
 

EllieK

Hall of Fame
But very few people care about WTA?
I watch the occasional match. I watched Fernandez and Pavyluchenkova two nights ago and it was very entertaining. I do watch mostly ATP though I personally believe it would be good for the sport to have more guys winning the big ones. I loved it when Andy broke through and Stan won his titles.
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
Yes. Explain all of it.
I've never seen an 80 mph drop shot.
Play starts when the server hits the ball. As long as the receiver is ready to receive when the server starts play, what is the problem exactly?
Did you even read the post? A drop shot is executed when the ball is in play. You have to absorb 80mph balls coming at you to execute a drop shot.
Server is starting play with a dead ball and a cheap trick.
 

FlamingCheeto

Hall of Fame
That would certainly be legal but not at all well seen and corroborates the point here, Andy did his serve to a fully functional pro player, he didn't took advantage of anything, the only advantage was on Alcaraz who lost his focus for a second there, how is the opponent's focus something not to be exploited?
some would call lost his focus = he wasn't ready, so which is it? big difference
 

Fairhit

Professional
some would call lost his focus = he wasn't ready, so which is it? big difference
He was ready to receive and became unready by his own volition, once you are ready to receive everything is game, you can't complain if you lose focus, is entirely on you if you start to focus late or when you see the ball toss.
 
STOP, just stop.. underhand is not illegal, we've established that right? so it comes down to being downright dirty because Carlos wasn’t ready.
Will those moaning about it please acknowledge that if you are not ready to receive your opponents serve 4 seconds before he HAS to serve ( failure to do so incurring a penalty ) then the onus is on the receiver if he’s made to look a bit of a mug, which incidentally would have been Murray’s fate if he’d dumped it into the net.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Underarm serves have been around at least since 1989, so even traditionalists shouldn't have a problem with them. I am not a huge fan, but you have to admit it changes things up a bit.

Personally, I think allowing underarm serves (an actual strategy) is 10x better than playing lets (a stroke of luck).
Way longer than that. Some players in the wool pants era exclusively served underhand
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Both can be classed as cheating and both can be classed as a legitimate tactic - depends on your interpretation. Plenty of players have used "over extended" toilet breaks in the past including Djokovic.
How can an underarm serve be classed as "cheating" when absolutely nothing in the rulebook says the serve must be hit overhead?
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I mean, it's legal, but it's borderline.
It's a bit of a quick-serve, like a quick-pitch in baseball. The quick-pitch is fine if the batter is in the batter's box, and nobody has called time out.
It's not a tactic I'm too enamored of. Taking the returner by surprise as to speed and placement is absolutely part of the game, but sneaking it in when the receiver isn't really ready is borderline to me.
...
But that has nothing to do with the serve being underarm. You can hit a normal serve when the returner isn't ready. This is a different issue entirely.
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
How can an underarm serve be classed as "cheating" when absolutely nothing in the rulebook says the serve must be hit overhead?
How can a 8min toilet break be classed as cheating when there is absolutely nothing in the rule book that defines the length of the break?
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
STOP, just stop.. underhand is not illegal, we've established that right? so it comes down to being downright dirty because Carlos wasn’t ready.
Will those moaning about it please acknowledge that if you are not ready to receive your opponents serve 4 seconds before he HAS to serve ( failure to do so incurring a penalty ) then the onus is on the receiver if he’s made to look a bit of a mug, which incidentally would have been Murray’s fate if he’d dumped it into the net.
Stop please stop. Toilet break is not illegal. The rule book says so. Will the moaning and double standards stop ?
 

optic yellow

New User
Toilet breaks are an interruption of gameplay whereas the underhand serve is a part of gameplay so they are not intrinsically equivalent things. The rulebook says nothing about toilet breaks because if someone needs to go to the bathroom they need to go; it is not reasonable to ban players from going to the bathroom during their match, but it also is impossible for the rules to define what "fair" usage of this privilege looks like as there is a lot of variability in human biology to account for (you can't just say "no breaks longer than 5 minutes" as sometimes someone does legitimately need this long to, pardon my pun, get their **** together). Contrast with a serve, which is entirely a tennis act and therefore entirely governable by what defines the game.
 
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