Practiced the underhanded slice serve today. HOLY #$%# !!!

February 2018.

This is a CRITICAL weapon!

You can practice a big serve till kingdom come.
All the opponent has to do is stand back.
Boom. Serve neutralized.

When I see players standing 5 feet behind the baseline,
I start serving 2nd topDinks until they stand at the baseline again.
Then I go back to my real 1st serve.

Today, I practiced the underhand slice serve.
This serve takes practice.
When you get it, you will god damn laugh at how lethal it is.

The trick is to let it drop LOW.
You make contact like at your ankles.
The ball drops right over the net.
It's freaking beautiful.
I am going to practice it a few more times before I unleash it in matches.

I am going to use this next time I need to pull a returner back in.
This gives your 1st serve all the leverage it needs from being neutralized.

It shocks me that pros don't do this more often.
They are just trained robots with no mind.

This kid does it just like I figured out.
If you hit it at a natural comfortable height (waist or knees), the ball will float higher.
See how low he lets it drop to his ankles.
It's interesting to note how hard this serve is, even for a Challenger kid.
He misses way too many of these.
 
Last edited:
Sorry, but you won't even get a racket on the ball.
And when you stand close for the next one, you get a flat serve into the chest.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
Sorry, but you won't even get a racket on the ball.
And when you stand close for the next one, you get a flat serve into the chest.
Haha. Challenge accepted. You are not capable of disguising a flat serve as an underhand serve, or vice versa. I have played computer rated 5.0's with better underhand slice serves than you could ever imagine.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
This is a CRITICAL weapon!

You can practice a big serve till kingdom come.
All the opponent has to do is stand back.
Boom. Serve neutralized.

When I see players standing 5 feet behind the baseline,
I start serving 2nd topDinks until they stand at the baseline again.
Then I go back to my real 1st serve.

Today, I practiced the underhand slice serve.
This serve takes practice.
When you get it, you will god damn laugh at how lethal it is.

The trick is to let it drop LOW.
You make contact like at your ankles.
The ball drops right over the net.
It's freaking beautiful.
I am going to practice it a few more times before I unleash it in matches.

I am going to use this next time I need to pull a returner back in.
This gives your 1st serve all the leverage it needs from being neutralized.

It shocks me that pros don't do this more often.
They are just trained robots with no mind.

This kid does it just like I figured out.
If you hit it at a natural comfortable height (waist or knees), the ball will float higher.
See how low he lets it drop to his ankles.
It's interesting to note how hard this serve is, even for a Challenger kid.
He misses way too many of these.
for once i really enjoyed the commentary
 
C

Chadillac

Guest
Just be aware that some people get very bent out of shape when you serve UH. They think it's bush league and a violation of common protocol.

Pros don't do it because their regular serve is so much better.
You wanna play again tomorrow? How about the next day? Got anytime next week? Give me a call...
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
Just be aware that some people get very bent out of shape when you serve UH. They think it's bush league and a violation of common protocol.

Pros don't do it because their regular serve is so much better.
Tennis is interesting, isn't it. The same person who gets bent out of shape about an underhand serve will have no problem foot-faulting on every serve by a foot as they make their way into the net. And of course, if you point out the foot-faulting, they'll get bent out of shape.

And I actually agree with the OP. Tennis would be better if more pros underhand served out of strategy (Kevin Anderson at the US Open against Nadal). Maybe things will change: I definitely see more slow curveballs in baseball (Darvish, for example). I think that was thought of as bush league in the past.
 

treo

Semi-Pro
The OP has another thread about his no good second serve. If he had a good second serve, the underhand serve wouldn't be so appealing.

The underhand extreme sidespin serve is something I want to master, just as a joke serve for laughs. It's funny to see them confused by the spin and can't even swing at it. But if the sun was directly in my eyes or it was very windy, I would rather serve underhand than double fault.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Maybe things will change: I definitely see more slow curveballs in baseball (Darvish, for example). I think that was thought of as bush league in the past.
Knuckleball pitch is another example. Phil Niekro isn't generally given the same respect as other 300-win pitchers...
 

esgee48

Legend
If you pay attention to the server's service motion and how he starts, you can be tipped off that an UH serve is coming. Then you come in the 4-6 feet to hit it. For a surprise serve the first few times or randomly, it keeps returners on their toes. But it is better to hit serves regularly down the T or out wide for servers that stand way behind the BL.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I have a friend that is lethal with a low toss serve that spins like crazy and dies almost like a dropshot. He got two aces off of it Wed doubles ... one against me. For most servers, you would see it coming. But he is a big strong guy (ex college running back) that can hit a screaming flat low toss frying pan serve. For every rule about what is not possible in tennis ... there is someone breaking it.

TTPS ... that underhand stuff works better in geezer doubles on a windy day. 30 mph into you ... lethal.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Sorry you are 100% wrong, your advice is a very good way to lose. Yes it will work against rubbish players, but anyone half decent will quickly read what you are doing.

The problem is your weak serve will give your opponent a load of different return options if they read it and get to it. I play someone who can hit that serve overhand, a drop serve. That has far better disguise than your serve will ever have and it doesn't work.

It doesn't work, because eventually you can read what the server is doing and the returner also has the option of moving forward in the middle of the service action to counter your trick. If they do get to you dink you are in serious bother.

If you have to resort to such tricks to make your first serve effective, you have a rubbish first serve, it is that simple.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Tennis is interesting, isn't it. The same person who gets bent out of shape about an underhand serve will have no problem foot-faulting on every serve by a foot as they make their way into the net. And of course, if you point out the foot-faulting, they'll get bent out of shape.

And I actually agree with the OP. Tennis would be better if more pros underhand served out of strategy (Kevin Anderson at the US Open against Nadal). Maybe things will change: I definitely see more slow curveballs in baseball (Darvish, for example). I think that was thought of as bush league in the past.
Nadal would have read that serve from a mile off and he is bloody quick.

A drop serve is fine, but using an underhand serve without warning your opponent you're going to do it before the match is unsporting. They will assume you missed the toss and are simply not ready to hit it. Once your opponent gets use to it you would be in trouble. I play plenty of people with weird service actions, from massive slice, drop serves and even reserve slice serves. Eventually they don't work, because you get use to the way the ball behaves and they become easy to return. There is a reason conventional technique has become conventional technique. It is more effective.

I would agree about foot faults, some people take the ****. Some of the players at more club foot fault massively, it gives them a huge advantage.
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
Nadal would have read that serve from a mile off and he is bloody quick.

A drop serve is fine, but using an underhand serve without warning your opponent you're going to do it before the match is unsporting. They will assume you missed the toss and are simply not ready to hit it. Once your opponent gets use to it you would be in trouble. I play plenty of people with weird service actions, from massive slice, drop serves and even reserve slice serves. Eventually they don't work, because you get use to the way the ball behaves and they become easy to return. There is a reason conventional technique has become conventional technique. It is more effective.

I would agree about foot faults, some people take the ****. Some of the players at more club foot fault massively, it gives them a huge advantage.
Everyone says that the opponent would be able to pick it up. Sure, it might be the case, but the same goes for a bad drop shot, but pros have no issues playing a bad drop shot. I just want to see stats like "65% normal serve points won, 45% underhand serve points won." Players do plenty of things that don't work. Why can't this be one of the things that they do and not work? Again, "unsporting" is the reason used, but I don't buy it. Yes, it is customary to call it "unsporting" but logically speaking this claim doesn't make sense.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Where young really fast guys who are very skilled it probably is Ok for once in a while like you see on the ATP tour - occasionally. As you go down in foot speed and skill level it probably is very effective especially in the seniors. I am 63 and do it once in a blue moon, especially in the ad court hitting short going out wide. I watched an NCAA women's match where an injured player played the whole match underhanded and won. I'm not sure if this was the woman but here is a clear example of it being used successfully all the time.

Vladulescu serves underhand after injuring her shoulder two years ago. She has a record of 23-2 this spring.
http://www.uabsports.com/news/2001/5/23/Women_s_Tennis_Vladulescu_advances_to_final_16_at_NCAA_s_.aspx?path=wten

I used it against a youngster who was only 52 yrs old a couple of weeks ago and he lost his mind, mission accomplished.
 
Last edited:

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
lol wtf, mackenzie mcdonald can serve like that and win a set off polansky because of his superior movement and ground strokes. You can't even hit a proper backhand.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Everyone says that the opponent would be able to pick it up. Sure, it might be the case, but the same goes for a bad drop shot, but pros have no issues playing a bad drop shot. I just want to see stats like "65% normal serve points won, 45% underhand serve points won." Players do plenty of things that don't work. Why can't this be one of the things that they do and not work? Again, "unsporting" is the reason used, but I don't buy it. Yes, it is customary to call it "unsporting" but logically speaking this claim doesn't make sense.
It is unsporting, because your trying to trick your opponent into thinking you're not going to serve. For example, by tossing high, and tend hitting it underhand.

If you want to use an underhand serve, fine, but you should tell your opponent that sometime you will hit underhand before the match.

If it doesn't work against them when they know it might come, then it doesn't work.

Also I wouldn't use drop shots and drop serves against older players with mobility issues in a social setting. Frankly that is just being disrespectful and any player who does that is a *****.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
It is unsporting, because your trying to trick your opponent into thinking you're not going to serve. For example, by tossing high, and tend hitting it underhand.

If you want to use an underhand serve, fine, but you should tell your opponent that sometime you will hit underhand before the match.

If it doesn't work against them when they know it might come, then it doesn't work.

Also I wouldn't use drop shots and drop serves against older players with mobility issues in a social setting. Frankly that is just being disrespectful and any player who does that is a *****.
Its a legal shot so its part of the game.
 

Tight Lines

Professional
I do this couple times a match (mens doubles 4.0) if I have a guy standing couple of feet behind the baseline. For those who think they can get the ball back with any kind of pace or drop shot it for winner, think again. It's a lethal serve when done right. Against slow movers at the 4.0 level, it's an ace every time.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
That's because it took him a quarter of a century to do it!
Knuckleball = longevity. Kind of like Fed's play style = more longevity than Nadal/Joker :)

Braves weren't exactly a stacked team back in his peak years (often sub .500 win rate), otherwise prob would have won 400+ games...

#11 on all-time strikeout list as well, but isn't usually mentioned in same breath as other pitchers with similar stats.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I see a pattern here:

OP has a an impulsive thought,assumes no one else know this but him and makes a long winded post about it.

Gets challenged on his posts because they are noobish/green and gets defensive and angry.

Continues to make posts over and over even though some overlap and go directly against posts that he had made weeks or months prior.

Still doesn't see that obvious pattern (even though it is documented in written word) and continues to make a fool of himself due to complete unawareness.
 

Bobs tennis

Semi-Pro
Played someone today who has great hand eye coordination and drop shots really well. He used the drop shot at least 20 times in beating me 3 and 4. I have no complaints about him doing it and if I don't watch him better it's my fault. I feel the same about the underhand serve. If you watch his service motion, you should spot it coming, and move in. Playing someone who hits hard serves or lots of pace is ,i believe, easier then someone who is thinking and frankly puts the ball where your not. It may not work at the pro level but it sure works every where else
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Just be aware that some people get very bent out of shape when you serve UH. They think it's bush league and a violation of common protocol.

Pros don't do it because their regular serve is so much better.
lol, a 4.5 buddy of mine absolutely goes ballistic when i do this to him... even though i typically have a >50% history of winning the point (when it goes in)
probably makes him madder when i accuse him of having 3.5 excuses for why he lost the (underhand serve) point.

regarding "pros don't do it" (well, not regularly anyway)... :p
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
It is unsporting, because your trying to trick your opponent into thinking you're not going to serve. For example, by tossing high, and tend hitting it underhand.

If you want to use an underhand serve, fine, but you should tell your opponent that sometime you will hit underhand before the match.

If it doesn't work against them when they know it might come, then it doesn't work.

Also I wouldn't use drop shots and drop serves against older players with mobility issues in a social setting. Frankly that is just being disrespectful and any player who does that is a *****.
should i give my opponent a list before the match of all the shots i might hit? should we categorize framed shots too, or can we bucket them all together? what about net cords? (clearly i was trying to trick them into thinking i wasn't going to hit the net, before intentionally clipping the top of the net for a winner... i try to limit doing this, because how angry i know it will make people)
 
should i give my opponent a list before the match of all the shots i might hit? should we categorize framed shots too, or can we bucket them all together? what about net cords? (clearly i was trying to trick them into thinking i wasn't going to hit the net, before intentionally clipping the top of the net for a winner... i try to limit doing this, because how angry i know it will make people)
What a great idea. I'd better start working on that list now before Saturday's match.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
lol, a 4.5 buddy of mine absolutely goes ballistic when i do this to him... even though i typically have a >50% history of winning the point (when it goes in)
probably makes him madder when i accuse him of having 3.5 excuses for why he lost the (underhand serve) point.

regarding "pros don't do it" (well, not regularly anyway)... :p
Why did the ref disallow the Berdych serve?
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
This is a CRITICAL weapon!

You can practice a big serve till kingdom come.
All the opponent has to do is stand back.
Boom. Serve neutralized.

When I see players standing 5 feet behind the baseline,
I start serving 2nd topDinks until they stand at the baseline again.
Then I go back to my real 1st serve.

Today, I practiced the underhand slice serve.
This serve takes practice.
When you get it, you will god damn laugh at how lethal it is.

The trick is to let it drop LOW.
You make contact like at your ankles.
The ball drops right over the net.
It's freaking beautiful.
I am going to practice it a few more times before I unleash it in matches.

I am going to use this next time I need to pull a returner back in.
This gives your 1st serve all the leverage it needs from being neutralized.

It shocks me that pros don't do this more often.
They are just trained robots with no mind.

This kid does it just like I figured out.
If you hit it at a natural comfortable height (waist or knees), the ball will float higher.
See how low he lets it drop to his ankles.
It's interesting to note how hard this serve is, even for a Challenger kid.
He misses way too many of these.
I'll raise your underhand, dink serve a deadly dropshot return that spins off the court and back toward the net. Bring it, son.
Sorry, but you won't even get a racket on the ball.
And when you stand close for the next one, you get a flat serve into the chest.
Haha. Challenge accepted. You are not capable of disguising a flat serve as an underhand serve, or vice versa. I have played computer rated 5.0's with better underhand slice serves than you could ever imagine.
This stuff reads somewhere in between Prince Of Tennis and sh*tpost on the ridiculous verbal exchange scale.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
I think it is a completely legitimate tactic against someone standing 15 feet behind the baseline. In general it definitely isn't less legitimate than hitting 20 foot moonballs to the center of the court with no intention of winning a point other than through your opponents errors. It's not good tennis and it makes people wonder why they bother to come out for a USTA match, but it's not illegal.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Kyrgios proved me correct with his recent underhanded aces.
UH serve is now the hottest topic in tennis tactics in 2019.

Tennis media going haywire over standard TTPS common sense.
You can be sure some pros are practicing UH serves now that Kyrgios has paved the way with this tactical brilliance.

Even pros in the prime of their career can't return underhanded serves.
Case closed.
Well, it failed against Rafa, no? He faulted. It's a nice surprise tactic but a quick player will adjust.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Kyrgios proved me correct with his recent underhanded aces.
UH serve is now the hottest topic in tennis tactics in 2019.
It should have become long years ago. Especially against Nadal.
Theres no way how can Nadal catch the underhand serve from the first seat row where he receives. You don't even need to disguise it much.

Well, it failed against Rafa, no? He faulted. It's a nice surprise tactic but a quick player will adjust.
Can't if underhand is well executed, distance from his receiving position is too much.
From normal receiving position you need a great disguise.
But it has to be practiced, right? Kyrgios have not likely practiced it. He's a kind of a player who is highly skilled but improvises on court.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
It should have become long years ago. Especially against Nadal.
Theres no way how can Nadal catch the underhand serve from the first seat row where he receives. You don't even need to disguise it much.



Can't if underhand is well executed, distance from his receiving position is too much.
From normal receiving position you need a great disguise.
But it has to be practiced, right? Kyrgios have not likely practiced it. He's a kind of a player who is highly skilled but improvises on court.
BS. Once read and adjusted a quick player can run it down. Like I said, a nice surprise tactic.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
BS. Once read and adjusted a quick player can run it down. Like I said, a nice surprise tactic.
No way. Execution is the key. Just like with drop shots. If the ball sits up it bounces high and 'everybody' can run it down. But if you slice it low and short and the basliner is a meter or more behind the baseline, it's a winner. There are guys at the ATP level who rarely miss such drop shots.
It's actually easier with the serve, it's the first shot. You don't even have to slice it, it can be flat, it can be slight topspin, it just has to stay low.
Not to mention, if you miss the first serve like this, it's not huge, it happens anyway. So if you have this practiced with, say, 80% serve in, it's actually great.

Look where Nadal stands when he recieves against big servers.
A player who practiced this well would 100% force Nadal to return to the usual receiving position (for the ATP level).
 
Last edited:

zalive

Hall of Fame
The problem I see is in this: rare players practice subtlety, feel in tennis. You can see this with Kyrgios, Tsonga, Tiafoe, players who probably nourished various trick shots which include feel and placement. Majority of tennis players don't have anything similar in their arsenal, and it's probably not in their DNA to suddenly start to use a gentle trick like this. Even drop shots, majority of ATP players learn it mechanically, not using their natural feel. Look how much feel Tsonga has when he drop shots, this is a different approach to tennis.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Look where Nadal stands when he recieves against big servers.
A player who practiced this well would 100% force Nadal to return to the usual receiving position (for the ATP level).
99.9% of all players would still lose to Nadal though even with the mind blowing underarm serves.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
99.9% of all players would still lose to Nadal though even with the mind blowing underarm serves.
All players or all ATP players?
Yeah, Nadal can take a conventional receiving position and you will lose. However there's a reason why he receives from far behind. He's not Novak (nobody reads serves like Novak) and this is the position from which he can do a lot of damage using his specific weapons, strength, skill and natural speed. To be able to force him to receive in front would mean a lot to his competitors or anyone good enough to beat him.
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
i foresee a major change in tennis if underhand serve becomes more common, namely, if the ball leaves the hand after you get set, then that is a serve attempt. otherwise, one can use toss catching as a form of disguise for the underhand serve.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
Definitely agree with the OP. I get upset when someone hits a drop shot return. Sometimes they even disguise it so I think they're going to chip and charge but they hit a drop shot instead. Should I ask my opponent before the match to warn me that he may hit drop shot returns? The drop shot serve is no different. You should be watching your opponent to see what kind of serve he's going to hit. So many players just blast a 1st serve and if your opponent stands way back to counter it seems logical that you'd hit an underhand serve. It's not bad sportsmanship like squeaking your shoes or trying to distract your opponent from hitting their shot. Plus it's just an effective serve when done properly. This is my favorite video on it.

 

TennisCJC

Legend
I often wonder why people don't use this on Nadal and Del Potro on occasion. A couple of years ago Nadal and Del Potro were so far behind the baseline at Indian Wells, they were barely in the TV shot. I saw Nick K use it against Nadal recently but I wonder why it isn't use a bit more. I would think if anyone starts backing way up at Wimbledon an underhanded slice serve could be effective as slice stays really low on grass. Also, I don't think it is bush league or inappropriate. If a player moves way back to return a first serve, I think countering with a low slice serve is acceptable.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Outcome based thinking is wrong

Basic principles of tennis strategy go beyond a specific point.

It's not about hitting a winner with the UH serve. (Though Nick unequivocally proved UH serves indeed generate ACES against ATP pros)

That's not the point. Note what I just quoted.
It's about pulling the returner closer to the baseline for the entire match. It's so you can win the other 99 points with your real first serve. If you happen to win the UH point, that's just gravy. I'd keep serving UH to Nadal until he stood closer.

UH serves are very difficult to execute. They required serious practice. I bet the pros will now be practicing them. Are you?
What might be dificult when developing this as a game.
It's a hit hard-hit subtly constant change. It's definitely not just like that. It might affect the % of your flat first serve. It might even cause you to make more UE's on your second serve, should you fail the drop shot serve.
Keeping the returner guess for each serve what you're gonna do is what might make this a weapon. He can't get too close. Instead he must be alert to run the drop shot serve down fast.

What might be additional problem to the server: returner can adapt. Receiver will get better after few x server, adjusting his initial return, expecting such serve and reacting quicker, and improving in both return choice and execution. If he learns how to get faster to the ball (if he's naturally quick he will) he may choose to hit some precise DTL or angled returns which might give you a hard time to chase those down. He doesn't need much pace if the ball is precise, he'll make you run too. Or he can play a drop shot too. He has a choice of long ball or a short ball and a variety of direction choices since he's close to the net. So the effectiveness of tactics drops as returner adjusts to the situation.

Besides, a perfect drop shot serve, one with which returner cannot do much because he either won't be able to return or he will hardly do anything with, such is hard to execute with good %, so such is demanding to practice. What's more likely is that you'll end up with a returnable underhand serve if you look for a good % of getting it in.
 
Top