Underhand serving, so hot right now, just don't

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Because that seems like nonsense. It sounds like "Don't hit winners! You might annoy the other guy into playing better!"
I guess, it will be 10-15 years until I will be slow enough to ever hit a winner on me using an underhand serve, just not going to happen. Even then, like I mentioned, I for one won't be standing that far away from the service box like the pros do, couldn't even do that if I wanted, the courts aren't big enough. I think the category of "winners" is a lot larger than underhand serves, probably 100 times more broad.
 

Max G.

Legend
I'd say the right tip is "Don't hit underhand serves when your opponent isn't standing far back". Just like the reasonable dropshot tip is "Don't hit dropshots when your opponent is inside the baseline" instead of saying "Don't hit dropshots because it'll **** your opponent off and who knows, maybe they'll suddenly start playing way better if you dropshot them."

Other competent ways to phrase this tip - "Don't hit underhand serves if you haven't already shown your opponent that you can push them back with a big first serve." But a blanket ban on underhand serves is as silly as saying "Don't hit dropshots".

Or, "Don't hit an underhand serve (or any other shot) if you haven't practiced it". That's reasonable too.
 

atatu

Legend
Because that seems like nonsense. It sounds like "Don't hit winners! You might annoy the other guy into playing better!"
Not really, I think most players think it's disrespectful, whether it's legal or not and for some of us it's going to get us really motivated, so why do it, especially if there is a minimal benefit ? Obviously Nadal is in the camp of players who think it's a punk move, so it's not just rec players.
 

Max G.

Legend
I'll be honest, "It'll get people to change the way they play" is on average gonna be a net benefit. Usually it's a heck of a lot of work to get an opponent out of their comfort zone, and you're saying it just takes one underhand serve and suddenly they'll start trying to blast winners randomly? Sign me up...
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Not really, I think most players think it's disrespectful, whether it's legal or not and for some of us it's going to get us really motivated, so why do it, especially if there is a minimal benefit ? Obviously Nadal is in the camp of players who think it's a punk move, so it's not just rec players.
Perfectly said, better than my attempts. As you already know atatu, but I want this connected to what you said, in rec tennis, you CAN NOT stand far enough back to not get to an underhand serve, within reason, I mean I could touch the back fence, but otherwise the court isn't large enough, I, and most all 4.5 level players will easily get to an underhand serve.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I'll be honest, "It'll get people to change the way they play" is on average gonna be a net benefit. Usually it's a heck of a lot of work to get an opponent out of their comfort zone, and you're saying it just takes one underhand serve and suddenly they'll start trying to blast winners randomly? Sign me up...
Not quite, we aren't saying we will instantly start trying to blast winners, we are saying we will and in our cases we did start winning easily. It put us in our comfort zone, not out of it. For me personally, you are better off doing normal serves, I might get bored and stop trying hard, because as I mentioned, I can't take rec tennis as seriously as my college tennis days. Do an underhand serve, and every ounce of tennis ability I have will be activated.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I have never had a woman serve to me underhand.

I have had about three guys do it in mixed Over the last decade. It works exactly once per match. It’s a legal shot.

However . . . It’s not a good look, fellas. Stepping up and hitting a big ol’ heavy, solid serve makes you look *Hot*.

Serving underhand makes you Borderline Undatable. Do you really want to win that one point that badly?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I have never had a woman serve to me underhand.

I have had about three guys do it in mixed Over the last decade. It works exactly once per match. It’s a legal shot.

However . . . It’s not a good look, fellas. Stepping up and hitting a big ol’ heavy, solid serve makes you look *Hot*.

Serving underhand makes you Borderline Undatable. Do you really want to win that one point that badly?
never had a guy serve underhand to a woman. Agree that means you are never again to be considered sponge worthy.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Not sure why you'd underhand serve the woman in mixed. I want them standing as far back as possible so my kick serve can jump as high as possible on them. The last thing I want them to do is what they should do; step in and take it on the rise. If they're having to watch out for an underhand serve, they're more likely to do that.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
Okay, so now we're throwing gender into the mix (pun intended). Depending on the skill level of the receiver the underhand serve will work and won't work. I have a triple digit serve and most of the 3.5-4.0 guys I play are on the curtain (indoor courts) so YES, I will occasionally throw an underhand serve in the win a quick point. It's either an ace or a return that is so poor that I can lob or pass on the next shot. The 4.5 and up guys aren't standing so far back though, they generally handle big serves with no issues. Oh btw, would I underhand serve a female opponent? Absolutely, if they are on the court, then it's game on.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I hit an underhand serve ace yesterday in social doubles. I had been getting in my first serves so the returner backed up. Low bouncing, fast court. Sudden death deuce point. I let the ball drop until it is close to the ground and hit as much side spin as I can. Ad side only.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
I can’t wait until underhand serves keep getting used to the point where they’re no longer considered disrespectful. I get that people do get offended by it but IMO that’s just so ridiculous. Like why? If they’re legitimately trying to use it in a tactical way why tf is it disrespectful?

I had a guy at 4.5 underhand serve half a set against me because it was his first match in years since playing college tennis and he couldn’t figure out his serve. He was either double faulting or serving up puff balls for me to smack winners against. His underhand serve was at least starting the point so he stuck with it.
 

nyta2

Professional
Andy Murray, cheeky boy, he did an awesome one, hey, I'm Joe Suburbia with my bright yellow shirt and oakley sunglasses, I'm gonna try that in my match!

I'm playing a regular season boring doubles match, although line 1, so maybe that made it worse that it wasn't a high level match like I was hoping for. My partner and I are kind of cruising, up a break, and the better server of our two opponents is serving, having gotten out to an impressive 40-0 lead on his serve. He decides now is a great time to underhand serve, nets it, then double faults. I didn't care about the match that much until he did that, I become "re-engaged" and he loses his service game and they win 2 more games the rest of the match because that motivated me. Yes, I have poor mental strength, I play up when I care or the opponent is good, I cruise control to closer wins when I think the opponent isn't good enough to give me the match that I want, especially regular season.

So, just don't do the underhand serve. First, I'm never going to be standing as far back as the pros on serve and I am 6'4" so my reach is plenty long enough to get to the serve, so you aren't going to ace me, probably won't ace anyone else unless they are 3.5 and in double knee braces. If that is the case, then it is just shameful to do it, and I'm sure someone may come on and say they did it once, that's wonderful. Save it for a social game if you are playing with friends, but don't do it against strangers, the pros do it because of the new phenomenon of standing 6 feet behind the baseline to return serve, that's not your world.
my takeaway from your story is that your partner needs to *practice* his underhand serve more.
regardless of the serve you use... double faulting is no bueno.
40-love or 40-15, is a great low risk time to do something riskier (underhand or flat serve, or smaller target spot serve)
when underhand serving my goal, like any other shot, is not to hit a winner/ace, it's to elicit a short ball, ... as well as bring them closer to the baseline (leaving them more vulnerable to a flat fast body serve).
also still works against rec folks even when they are not standing 6ft back... because none of us in rec land move/react/anticipate like the pros
 

Moon Shooter

Semi-Pro
It did draw the player in so you can start hitting harder serves. On the ad side I have a hard time hitting the ball out wide. And this seems like a good way to make sure you are starting out with a backhand return.

My slice on the deuce side can be short slow and bounce out like that. But it is to the forehand side. Generally the problem is the returner is very far forward and can hit the ball just about anywhere in the court. They can hit crosss court angles or down the line and it can be very hard to cover all the angles. In Polansky's case it seemed when he tried to do that McDonald was fast enough and then would hit great shots after the angles opened up so he started just hitting back to McDonald. The announcer was unbelievably annoying. He just kept saying "Polansky has no clue how to deal with this" without giving anyone a clue how Polansky was supposed to deal with it. I think McDonald stayed far enough back that I would think Polansky might want to try a few drop shot returns.
 

nyta2

Professional
This isn't me picking on you in particular FiddlerDog but it will come out that way, but you know I've praised your posts before, so just think of my praise.

BUT, How is it that so many people can be so bad at reading comprehension that they read my original post and think I am suggesting that underhand serves should be banned, illegal, forbidden?
I specifically said don't do them because they activate the will to win in me and like the other poster said in them, so there is no benefit to it. There is no way that is even close to suggesting it be banned or illegal. I am counting on you, my fellow tennis fanatics to have a basic reading comprehension, to be able to read and understand distinctions, but maybe the distinction is somehow lost because I am a bad writer, I'm not sure.

I'm not suggesting a rule change, but I am giving a tennis tip. Maybe you don't like my tip, no big deal, but ahhhh, don't think I am suggesting a ban.
arguably you can summarize it all under "don't change a winning plan..."... which really has nothing specific to do with underhand serves.
 

Creighton

Semi-Pro
I can’t wait until underhand serves keep getting used to the point where they’re no longer considered disrespectful. I get that people do get offended by it but IMO that’s just so ridiculous. Like why? If they’re legitimately trying to use it in a tactical way why tf is it disrespectful?

I had a guy at 4.5 underhand serve half a set against me because it was his first match in years since playing college tennis and he couldn’t figure out his serve. He was either double faulting or serving up puff balls for me to smack winners against. His underhand serve was at least starting the point so he stuck with it.
I don't think anyone actually complains about it in that scenario.

What people complain about are someone has been serving in one pattern the whole match, then they try to quick serve you with an underhand serve when you're not ready.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I have never had a woman serve to me underhand.

I have had about three guys do it in mixed Over the last decade. It works exactly once per match. It’s a legal shot.

However . . . It’s not a good look, fellas. Stepping up and hitting a big ol’ heavy, solid serve makes you look *Hot*.

Serving underhand makes you Borderline Undatable. Do you really want to win that one point that badly?
Good points, but mixed doubles, not exactly the best place to find date-able girls unless I somehow, which I have every once and awhile get into a 9.0 or open mixed team, then the just out of college college players are there and some of them are very date-able, single, etc.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Okay, so now we're throwing gender into the mix (pun intended). Depending on the skill level of the receiver the underhand serve will work and won't work. I have a triple digit serve and most of the 3.5-4.0 guys I play are on the curtain (indoor courts) so YES, I will occasionally throw an underhand serve in the win a quick point. It's either an ace or a return that is so poor that I can lob or pass on the next shot. The 4.5 and up guys aren't standing so far back though, they generally handle big serves with no issues. Oh btw, would I underhand serve a female opponent? Absolutely, if they are on the court, then it's game on.
With a tripple digit serve though, against a 3.5, do you need to win a point with underhand, really need to?
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I can’t wait until underhand serves keep getting used to the point where they’re no longer considered disrespectful. I get that people do get offended by it but IMO that’s just so ridiculous. Like why? If they’re legitimately trying to use it in a tactical way why tf is it disrespectful?

I had a guy at 4.5 underhand serve half a set against me because it was his first match in years since playing college tennis and he couldn’t figure out his serve. He was either double faulting or serving up puff balls for me to smack winners against. His underhand serve was at least starting the point so he stuck with it.
Back to my reading comprehension rant. As the OP I have to assume you are addressing my OP or maybe just randomly expressing random thoughts on underhand serves.

I did not say I was offended. I did not say it was or should be illegal (for the others who assumed that), I was doing a public service announcement that if you do it, your benefit is maybe, if you are incredibly lucky, maybe 1 point. 1 point out of the around 280 you need for a 3 setter allowing for deuce battles. What is the cost? You're going to focus a handful of us into trying to play our best, especially those of us who are at the top of the level you are playing, the ones who kind of relax and chill, but still win, we will stop relaxing, and put on the beat down. But, if you are looking forward to the post-match cocktail, I guess another benefit is, that comes more quickly.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
my takeaway from your story is that your partner needs to *practice* his underhand serve more.
regardless of the serve you use... double faulting is no bueno.
40-love or 40-15, is a great low risk time to do something riskier (underhand or flat serve, or smaller target spot serve)
when underhand serving my goal, like any other shot, is not to hit a winner/ace, it's to elicit a short ball, ... as well as bring them closer to the baseline (leaving them more vulnerable to a flat fast body serve).
also still works against rec folks even when they are not standing 6ft back... because none of us in rec land move/react/anticipate like the pros
Sorry, reading comprehension again, where in my OP is my partner serving an underhand serve. I anticipate and play against players that 90% can easily anticipate "unique" serves, rec land includes those of us that are ex-college players and still moving around pretty well with great anticipation.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
arguably you can summarize it all under "don't change a winning plan..."... which really has nothing specific to do with underhand serves.
I don't understand this unless you were assuming my partner and I were winning and my partner did the underhand serve?
 

nyta2

Professional
Sorry, reading comprehension again, where in my OP is my partner serving an underhand serve. I anticipate and play against players that 90% can easily anticipate "unique" serves, rec land includes those of us that are ex-college players and still moving around pretty well with great anticipation.
ah yup, skimmed that...
guessing your opponents were following the second half of the quote, "...but always change a losing strategy"... maybe he felt you guys had a bead on his serve. either way 40-0 is a good time to attempt it out.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
What people complain about are someone has been serving in one pattern the whole match, then they try to quick serve you with an underhand serve when you're not ready.
This is the only issue I have. If I'm ready, an underhand serve has never fooled me or been an issue.

But there are guys that will hit it just as you turn around to get set. I used to try to rush and hit them but now I just let it bounce past me, raise my hand and say, "I wasn't ready, take two"
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
ah yup, skimmed that...
guessing your opponents were following the second half of the quote, "...but always change a losing strategy"... maybe he felt you guys had a bead on his serve. either way 40-0 is a good time to attempt it out.
Sure, I get what you are saying. Just some random info for context, the underhand server had a pretty good serve, that's how he got up 40-0, it was in no way necessary to underhand, not that it ever really is without the injury situations mentioned. It's easier for me to recall all the boring details of the match than to read it here so I'm going to say this guy's service games were pretty much on cruise control up to that point, he was winning his serve, no reason to change. But, since he did underhand serve, then double fault, we came back and broke his serve in that game and the match unraveled for him.
 

nyta2

Professional
Sure, I get what you are saying. Just some random info for context, the underhand server had a pretty good serve, that's how he got up 40-0, it was in no way necessary to underhand, not that it ever really is without the injury situations mentioned. It's easier for me to recall all the boring details of the match than to read it here so I'm going to say this guy's service games were pretty much on cruise control up to that point, he was winning his serve, no reason to change. But, since he did underhand serve, then double fault, we came back and broke his serve in that game and the match unraveled for him.
yeah, have to agree, if he did get to 40-0 on the merits of a good serve, probably no need to UH
main reasons in might at that point, is if i am struggling to start dictating off my serve (ie. won 3 points through hard fought rallies)
or if i noticed you're standing further back that usual, or noticed you struggle to move up (or maybe don't even likethe net)...
otherwise, guessing the UH was a ego boost thing (eg. you might beat me, but at least i got you with an UH serve ("win the battle, but lose the war"))
 

jhick

Hall of Fame
I once had a 4.0 that I was beating pretty badly attempt an underhand quick serve against me. He hit it off the frame of his racquet and it went sideways past the adjacent court and into the fence. I think that was embarrassing for him so he didn't repeat it for the rest of the match.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
Back to my reading comprehension rant. As the OP I have to assume you are addressing my OP or maybe just randomly expressing random thoughts on underhand serves.

I did not say I was offended. I did not say it was or should be illegal (for the others who assumed that), I was doing a public service announcement that if you do it, your benefit is maybe, if you are incredibly lucky, maybe 1 point. 1 point out of the around 280 you need for a 3 setter allowing for deuce battles. What is the cost? You're going to focus a handful of us into trying to play our best, especially those of us who are at the top of the level you are playing, the ones who kind of relax and chill, but still win, we will stop relaxing, and put on the beat down. But, if you are looking forward to the post-match cocktail, I guess another benefit is, that comes more quickly.
Was referring to this hence my use of disrespectful. No reference to when it’s used here. I forgot to quote it though, sorry.

Not really, I think most players think it's disrespectful, whether it's legal or not and for some of us it's going to get us really motivated, so why do it, especially if there is a minimal benefit ? Obviously Nadal is in the camp of players who think it's a punk move, so it's not just rec players.
 
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atatu

Legend
I can’t wait until underhand serves keep getting used to the point where they’re no longer considered disrespectful. I get that people do get offended by it but IMO that’s just so ridiculous. Like why? If they’re legitimately trying to use it in a tactical way why tf is it disrespectful?

I had a guy at 4.5 underhand serve half a set against me because it was his first match in years since playing college tennis and he couldn’t figure out his serve. He was either double faulting or serving up puff balls for me to smack winners against. His underhand serve was at least starting the point so he stuck with it.
Reflecting on this a little more, I think it's similar to guys who yell "come on !!" when their opponents miss a shot. Older guys I know find this disrespectful and usually start focusing more and trying harder but younger guys who faced this all the time in the juniors don't think twice about it and it doesn't affect how they play.
 

srimes

Rookie
This is the only issue I have. If I'm ready, an underhand serve has never fooled me or been an issue.

But there are guys that will hit it just as you turn around to get set. I used to try to rush and hit them but now I just let it bounce past me, raise my hand and say, "I wasn't ready, take two"
Yup. If everyone was comfortable doing this there'd be a lot less hurt feelings.

Just to clarify, if it's a 2nd serve when this happens the server doesn't get 2, right?
 

jviss

New User
Depends on the opponent but no problem changing the pattern in a match no matter what level - which is exactly what a underhand serve does. Hit a low slice undehand to bring someone in - pass/lob them? A lot for players are bad at coming in. Even if they are athletic and good you are probably getting a chip approach or looped topspin. Definitly can win points in rec tennis. If they find it annoying that's on them. Obviously quick serving or disguising is bs.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
Reflecting on this a little more, I think it's similar to guys who yell "come on !!" when their opponents miss a shot. Older guys I know find this disrespectful and usually start focusing more and trying harder but younger guys who faced this all the time in the juniors don't think twice about it and it doesn't affect how they play.
See for me I find underhand serves perfectly fine (as long as the returner is in a ready position) but view yelling “come on” after a miss as against etiquette.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
With a tripple digit serve though, against a 3.5, do you need to win a point with underhand, really need to?
I do what's best strategically to win a point. You don't get extra points for an ace. A point is a point. And just because someone is a 3.5 doesn't mean they can't return serves well.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I do what's best strategically to win a point. You don't get extra points for an ace. A point is a point. And just because someone is a 3.5 doesn't mean they can't return serves well.
2. An ace has some phsych effects on opponents.
1. Best strategy=ace which is > underhand
3. 3.5 returner + 100 mph serve > underhand serve, always.
 

socallefty

Legend
There is a psychological impact in sports to what tactics you choose to beat your opponent. If you can outpower your opponent, it is always the most efficient approach - whether it is tennis or using the running game in American football. If you need finesse and trick plays to beat a more powerful opponent, that is fine - if you are a lower seeded player in tennis or college football. But, if you are expected to win and stronger on paper, I do not recommend doing a lot of trick plays as it gives the lower seeded opponent confidence that you don’t feel like you can steamroll over them playing your base game.

Underhand serves fall under this trick play category and I would not recommend trying it if you are the player or team expected to win or the one with the big lead. I also think slightly pissing off your opponent can have a negative effect in rec tennis as many players get more focused and play better if they start hating your guts.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
I can’t wait until underhand serves keep getting used to the point where they’re no longer considered disrespectful. I get that people do get offended by it but IMO that’s just so ridiculous. Like why? If they’re legitimately trying to use it in a tactical way why tf is it disrespectful?

I had a guy at 4.5 underhand serve half a set against me because it was his first match in years since playing college tennis and he couldn’t figure out his serve. He was either double faulting or serving up puff balls for me to smack winners against. His underhand serve was at least starting the point so he stuck with it.
I think most of us at the 4.5 level can tell the difference between someone underhand serving because they're coming off an injury or because their brain broke and they forgot how to serve, vs their seeing someone who is older/extremely overweight/has mobility issues on the return side and just trying to exploit that with a drop serve.
I would have no moral issue drop serving atatu though. I just wouldn't do it because it would draw him to the net and I don't need another reminder of how bad my volleys are compared to his. lol
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Good points, but mixed doubles, not exactly the best place to find date-able girls unless I somehow, which I have every once and awhile get into a 9.0 or open mixed team, then the just out of college college players are there and some of them are very date-able, single, etc.
There might be some women suitable for you in the stands watching you and taking your measure, if you will.

And I promise you, if you serve underhand you will forever remain Master Of Your Domain.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
There might be some women suitable for you in the stands watching you and taking your measure, if you will.

And I promise you, if you serve underhand you will forever remain Master Of Your Domain.
Nice, I love the Seinfeld reference. In theory though, aren't you still Mater of your Domain if you actually have fun times with another person instead of alone, maybe, open to pontification.
 

beltsman

Legend
Andy Murray, cheeky boy, he did an awesome one, hey, I'm Joe Suburbia with my bright yellow shirt and oakley sunglasses, I'm gonna try that in my match!

I'm playing a regular season boring doubles match, although line 1, so maybe that made it worse that it wasn't a high level match like I was hoping for. My partner and I are kind of cruising, up a break, and the better server of our two opponents is serving, having gotten out to an impressive 40-0 lead on his serve. He decides now is a great time to underhand serve, nets it, then double faults. I didn't care about the match that much until he did that, I become "re-engaged" and he loses his service game and they win 2 more games the rest of the match because that motivated me. Yes, I have poor mental strength, I play up when I care or the opponent is good, I cruise control to closer wins when I think the opponent isn't good enough to give me the match that I want, especially regular season.

So, just don't do the underhand serve. First, I'm never going to be standing as far back as the pros on serve and I am 6'4" so my reach is plenty long enough to get to the serve, so you aren't going to ace me, probably won't ace anyone else unless they are 3.5 and in double knee braces. If that is the case, then it is just shameful to do it, and I'm sure someone may come on and say they did it once, that's wonderful. Save it for a social game if you are playing with friends, but don't do it against strangers, the pros do it because of the new phenomenon of standing 6 feet behind the baseline to return serve, that's not your world.
Poor baby, you had to move your feet?
 

Nate7-5

Professional
Last year I hyperextended my index finger on my right forehand side, so I played with my girlfriend serving underhanded the entire time and hitting 2-handed BH & FH. I was playing like Hseih Su-Wei and even using a Duel G 97. :laughing:
 

ChrEa8

New User
The the OP:

Maybe you haven't really seen or understood what a proper underhand serve is. First, the main aim shouldn't even be getting an ace. For pros, the aim is to make your opponent stop standing 6ft back as you mentioned and maybe getting a free ace at the same time. Also, as someone mentioned already, a pro standing 6ft back is the same as a good rec player standing 3 feet back in terms of reaction time and foot speed etc. so the same logic can be applied to some extent even if the opponent is not standing 6ft back.

For rec players, however, the main aim of the underhand serve is exactly the same as for any serve: set the point up in your favour. And just like with an overhead serve, the key is in the placement. You don't just tap the ball over the net, you have to apply serious backspin and also sidespin to make the ball bounce out of the court and thus make your opponent move in an awkward manner while trying to read the spin/bounce at the same time. At rec level that will tend to mess their return pretty good even if they get to the ball. So what you should do is follow your underhand serve by crossing the court diagonally and cover the net. An easy volley into the open court is what most probably follows.

So in essence you're just talking about badly executed underhand serves. Sorry to say but the only value of your PSA was to get this conversation going. As a stand-alone, it's useless and based on shallow understanding of the topic.

And underhand serve is just one option, just like there are flat, kick and slice overhead serves. All this talk about how it's something special and weird just comes from not properly understanding tennis.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
The the OP:

Maybe you haven't really seen or understood what a proper underhand serve is. First, the main aim shouldn't even be getting an ace. For pros, the aim is to make your opponent stop standing 6ft back as you mentioned and maybe getting a free ace at the same time. Also, as someone mentioned already, a pro standing 6ft back is the same as a good rec player standing 3 feet back in terms of reaction time and foot speed etc. so the same logic can be applied to some extent even if the opponent is not standing 6ft back.

For rec players, however, the main aim of the underhand serve is exactly the same as for any serve: set the point up in your favour. And just like with an overhead serve, the key is in the placement. You don't just tap the ball over the net, you have to apply serious backspin and also sidespin to make the ball bounce out of the court and thus make your opponent move in an awkward manner while trying to read the spin/bounce at the same time. At rec level that will tend to mess their return pretty good even if they get to the ball. So what you should do is follow your underhand serve by crossing the court diagonally and cover the net. An easy volley into the open court is what most probably follows.

So in essence you're just talking about badly executed underhand serves. Sorry to say but the only value of your PSA was to get this conversation going. As a stand-alone, it's useless and based on shallow understanding of the topic.

And underhand serve is just one option, just like there are flat, kick and slice overhead serves. All this talk about how it's something special and weird just comes from not properly understanding tennis.
But, you really need to read every post. Like myself and atatu explained, there is a very large risk of awakening a competitor. That's more than getting the conversation going, in fact I didn't want to get the conversation going in every direction from injury to "it's legal" to "stop whining about the UHS", but all posts are good posts as they say.

I mentioned a specific situation, a person up 40-0 with no problem in winning his serves so far, decided to underhand serve. Are you sure the generalization you mentioned applies to this specific situation?

There might be a crafty rec player out there with a super slick underhand serve that does all the things you mentioned, but like we've discussed, I would say the general consensus is the 4.5 (and above) players I know and some others here know just aren't going to be at a disadvantage returning an underhand serve. I know you described the perfectly executed UHS, but step back and imagine the broad range of abilities who read these boards, do you think that's the norm or the exception?

I don't know what properly understanding tennis is, but after college tennis and playing 4-6 times a week for decades, I'd hope I don't walk around the court going through the motions without "understanding" what is going on tennis-wise, but never underestimate the ability of a person to be ignorant, I've seen it too often to assume I know everything.
 

La Pavoni

Rookie
Not really, I think most players think it's disrespectful, whether it's legal or not and for some of us it's going to get us really motivated, so why do it, especially if there is a minimal benefit ? Obviously Nadal is in the camp of players who think it's a punk move, so it's not just rec players.
Nothing is in isolation though. Rafa has a reason for wanting underarm serves as being seen as a "punk move". His return position makes him more vulnerable to them. He's still a fantastic athlete and mover, but he probably wouldn't want to be chasing down more and more of them, if it became more common amongst pros.

It's all part of the game.
 

FD3S

Hall of Fame
But, you really need to read every post. Like myself and atatu explained, there is a very large risk of awakening a competitor. That's more than getting the conversation going, in fact I didn't want to get the conversation going in every direction from injury to "it's legal" to "stop whining about the UHS", but all posts are good posts as they say.

I mentioned a specific situation, a person up 40-0 with no problem in winning his serves so far, decided to underhand serve. Are you sure the generalization you mentioned applies to this specific situation?

There might be a crafty rec player out there with a super slick underhand serve that does all the things you mentioned, but like we've discussed, I would say the general consensus is the 4.5 (and above) players I know and some others here know just aren't going to be at a disadvantage returning an underhand serve. I know you described the perfectly executed UHS, but step back and imagine the broad range of abilities who read these boards, do you think that's the norm or the exception?

I don't know what properly understanding tennis is, but after college tennis and playing 4-6 times a week for decades, I'd hope I don't walk around the court going through the motions without "understanding" what is going on tennis-wise, but never underestimate the ability of a person to be ignorant, I've seen it too often to assume I know everything.
While the bolded is a very real risk of attempting the underhand serve, there's also no denying that mentality in rec tennis (even exceptionally high level rec tennis) at large can be very... dicey, shall we say. I'd be willing to bet good money that for every couple of players that see an underhand serve and react by re-focusing and upping their game, there are many, many more that think they'd respond like that but instead would get thrown off by the sudden change-up and start bleeding errors because they're now angry or unsettled - or both. (You don't sound like one of them, mind).
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
While the bolded is a very real risk of attempting the underhand serve, there's also no denying that mentality in rec tennis (even exceptionally high level rec tennis) at large can be very... dicey, shall we say. I'd be willing to bet good money that for every couple of players that see an underhand serve and react by re-focusing and upping their game, there are many, many more that think they'd respond like that but instead would get thrown off by the sudden change-up and start bleeding errors because they're now angry or unsettled - or both. (You don't sound like one of them, mind).
That's a fair point, I guess for my own benefit I should just say, try the underhand serve every match, maybe a future opponent of mine will read this, but it's unlikely.
 
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