What the Hell Was That?

mhj202

Rookie
If you wish to adhere to the definition of "bush league" then the only legal shot I can think if that fits the definition is the underhand serve.

I suppose certain styles of play you see at the rec level could be considered bush league. For instance, I have never seen a pro serve with a frying pan grip/style, but rec players often do.

Frying pan serves are also therefore "bush league."

Btw, I saw a video of Sharapova hitting an underhand serve. She looked to be injured or cramping. Same for Chang. Which supports my answer to OP's question of whether underhand serves from unimpaired players is bush league.

By all means, serve underhand if you like. I will try to win the point and will not be angry or upset. I will simply conclude you are bush league.
Cindy-

I typically find your reasoning to be extremely logical and generally well-reasoned even if I don't necessarily always agree but I have to say that I'm not following you here at all.

Are you actually saying that hitting a serve underhand, in and of itself, is bush league or is that sometimes, when people serve underhand, they do it as a sort "quick serve" trying to get the serve over before the receiving player is ready.

I would agree that quick-serving someone before they're ready is bush league but catching them off guard by throwing in something unexpected is just strategy.
 

tennismonkey

Semi-Pro
pretty sneaky play but underhanded or bush league? nah.

we have pages and pages dedicated to people complaining about opponents not playing the way they want them to.

he's a pusher. he's not hitting the ball as hard as he can. he's a moonballer. he lobs everything. he hits junky slice. he's not hitting the ball to my hitting zone. he served underhand. yadda yadda yadda.



----------

btw. i think the sour grapes/bush league card is kindof a red herring. i think more apt is: i'm pizzed off that i let my opponent off the hook. i had that set in hand. i really wanted to win badly versus this 4.5 guy because that validates me as a 4.5 player. i nullified his big serve by standing back deeper. he stopped playing into my hands and changed his strategy. i'm really just mad that i lost.

the way to tell is this. would this thread exist if the guy served underhand and the OP won?
 
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spot

Hall of Fame
A list of things that I think are bush league but are legal.

To try and hit at the opposing net player while serving.

To claim hindrance because the other person calmly and quietly told their net player to get back because they hit a short lob that would be crushed.

To warn about a footfault in the beginning of the match, then call them for a footfault and claim a huge point in the third set.

A net person encroaching the service box when their partner is returning to try and make the service box seem smaller.

But underhand serving doesn't hit that at all for me. I have seen people stand back by the fence because someone had a huge kick serve and they wanted to let the ball drop into their strike zone. I simply can't see how makign them guard the rest of the court could possibly be considered bush league.
 

Fusker

Rookie
Bush league: "adjective
inferior or amateurish; mediocre: a bush-league theatrical performance."

Underhand serves are without question bush league as that term is defined.

It is amateur because you do not see it at the pro level. It is strictly the province of amateurs. Pros hit moonballs, drop shots, slices. They do not serve underhand. Indeed, an uninjured pro serving underhand is so rare that I have only witnessed of one instance in the last 20 years: Hingis.

Let's stop defending underhand serving against charges that it is bush league by citing its legality. That is not the question. The question us whether it is amateurish, inferior or mediocre. It obviously is.
Standing just behind the back service line to chip the return back, is "bush league".
Touche.

dropservewinner
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Henin (a former #1) wasn't injured when she hit one and neither was Lendl (another #1). I suppose it is easier to ignore evidence which is contrary to a preconceived idea.

As to your contention is that its ok to be bush league if you have some temporary physical affliction, why is that? What is it about being impaired that gives pros a licence to be bush league? Both Sharapova and Chang were clearly capable of hitting overhand serves as they did so after hitting their underhand serve.
: shrug:

I guess if you want to change the definition of "bush league," you can do that. I don't think the definition means that if you can find a single instance of a pro doing something then it cannot ever be bush league.

You and I know that pros very, very rarely hit underhand serves at all, and then they are almost always injured or ailing. Underhand serving is mediocre and amateurish (i.e. not professional).

Really, I don't understand why the proponents of underhand serving get their panties all in a wad. If you want to serve that way, go for it. Why do you care if your opponent thinks you are doing something bush league, so long as the opponent maintains good sportsmanship and doesn't pout or complain?

As far as the idea that rec players stink so everything they do is amateurish and therefore is bush league . . . nah. Our strokes and movement and fitness and talent are way below pro level, granted. But when I go to hit my FH, it is the same stroke as Roger Federer's. He and I hold a racket in our dominant hand and swing the racket forward. My stroke isn't as good, but it is an attempt at the same stroke. An underhand serve is an entirely different motion than an overhead serve, obviously.
 

Fusker

Rookie
A list of things that I think are bush league but are legal.

To try and hit at the opposing net player while serving.

To claim hindrance because the other person calmly and quietly told their net player to get back because they hit a short lob that would be crushed.

To warn about a footfault in the beginning of the match, then call them for a footfault and claim a huge point in the third set.

A net person encroaching the service box when their partner is returning to try and make the service box seem smaller.

But underhand serving doesn't hit that at all for me. I have seen people stand back by the fence because someone had a huge kick serve and they wanted to let the ball drop into their strike zone. I simply can't see how makign them guard the rest of the court could possibly be considered bush league.
This is the best set of tennis examples I have seen. It's not because pros don't do it that makes it bush, it's a lack of class or professionalism that makes it bush. You don't have to be great at sport to have class or professionalism - hence why tying it to the effectiveness at the highest levels of sport is not the intent of the definition.

I played baseball (where the term originated) my whole youth and into adulthood. Mediocrity compared to pros was never used to describe something as bush. Keep in mind, the term was often used to describe guys in the minors that would do anything to win in an attempt to make it to the higher levels.

A first baseman intentionally tagging a guy sliding back to first in the face - bush.

A base runner coming in cleats up on a benign double play ball - bush.

Fake tagging a base runner to get him to slide - bush.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I would say Spot's examples are bush league.

These are things you do not see pros doing.

Note that it is not considered bush league to hit your return as hard as you can at the chest of the net player. Legal, and pros do it.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Funny how certain perfectly legal things rile up particular individuals:

High consistancy play bothers folks' egos (especially when they are humiliated in their loss) and so the opponent gets labeled a "pusher" and numerous threads follow.

Short, spinny serves similarly bother certain egos (especially when those egos lose the point, to the bystander's snicker) and the serve gets labeled "bush league", this thread follows...

OK, if you want to call underhanded serves Bush League, you are free to do so. But what do you call someone who can't handle a bush league serve? Worse Than Bush League returner?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I would say Spot's examples are bush league.

These are things you do not see pros doing.

Note that it is not considered bush league to hit your return as hard as you can at the chest of the net player. Legal, and pros do it.
What about tossing several times before you serve which you said you do so as to get the perfect toss? Would you consider it to be bush league because it disrupts the opponent's rhythm?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
OK, if you want to call underhanded serves Bush League, you are free to do so. But what do you call someone who can't handle a bush league serve? Worse Than Bush League returner?
No, I would call him someone who does not play tennis for a living and hardly ever sees that serve, so he is momentarily bothered by it. I would say the same if a driver is flustered because all the familiar roads he takes to work have suddenly been made one-way for a special event. I would not go around calling him a bad driver.

Why not just look at it with common sense?
 

Mike Y

Rookie
Consider it a compliment if a server felt they had to resort to an underhanded serve in order to try to beat you. But as a returner, you have to be ready for anything. There is no rule that you have to hit a hard flat serve as your first serve, and then hit a high-percentage spinner as your second serve if you miss your first.

I wouldn't do an underhanded serve, I feel there are better alternatives. But I have had the underhand serve tried on me, but it only works if performed perfectly. I know at least one person who practices it and hits it well, and it is usually an ace.

But I don't have a dominating serve, so I try to mix things up as much as possible, with location, and between hard flat serves, slice serves, kick serves, and doing any one of those in any location for the first or second serve. As a returner, you just have to be ready for anything, even if you see the hard flat serve as the first serve 50 times in a row. If you are not ready, that is your fault, don't blame the server.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
:oops: for you
I guess if you want to change the definition of "bush league," you can do that. I don't think the definition means that if you can find a single instance of a pro doing something then it cannot ever be bush league.
First off, I am not changing the definition of anything.  Here's what the dictionary thinks bush league means: being of an inferior class or group of its kind : marked by a lack of sophistication or professionalism.

That is a fine definition with which I'm fully in agreement but it doesn't apply to pros or anyone else hitting underhand serves imo.
You and I know that pros very, very rarely hit underhand serves at all, and then they are almost always injured or ailing. Underhand serving is mediocre and amateurish (i.e. not professional).
What does it matter how often a pro does something with regard to whether it is bush league or not? I thought you pointed this out above when you were claiming I've changed the definition of bush league but now you seem to be using it in support of the idea that underhand serves are bush. You can't have it both ways. Pros rarely hit tweeners but I don't see anyone arguing they are bush league shots.

I've seen no evidence that pros "are almost always injured or ailing" when they hit such shots.  Even so, is that now part of your criteria for what is bush league--a shot that is rarely hit but is sometimes called upon when a player is injured or ailing?  

I'd just like to know what in your mind makes this one shot special and off-limits?  Your definition of a bush league play is apparently something you deem to be mediocre, amateurish which is rarely done and usually happens when the player is ailing.  

Mediocre is ridiculous criteria because I guarantee you or I or the vast majority of tennis players can't hit those underhand serves with the skill shown by the pros in the above videos and I have a hard time seeing any shot made by a pro as amateurish.

So what about Chang's positioning himself almost at the T in his famous semi-final against Lendl on match point when he was ailing, does that meet your bush league too?  
Really, I don't understand why the proponents of underhand serving get their panties all in a wad. If you want to serve that way, go for it. Why do you care if your opponent thinks you are doing something bush league, so long as the opponent maintains good sportsmanship and doesn't pout or complain?
Holy cow, I could make the same argument back to you lady, why do you care some much? If it means so little to you why do you keep posting about it? Since between the two of us you are the one most likely to be wearing panties I'd guess it is more your problem than mine. But nice try at the straw man argument that the people who disagree with you are incapable of rational thought because our panties are in a wad.
As far as the idea that rec players stink so everything they do is amateurish and therefore is bush league . . . nah. Our strokes and movement and fitness and talent are way below pro level, granted. But when I go to hit my FH, it is the same stroke as Roger Federer's. He and I hold a racket in our dominant hand and swing the racket forward. My stroke isn't as good, but it is an attempt at the same stroke. An underhand serve is an entirely different motion than an overhead serve, obviously.
I'm am not sure what the heck your point is in this section but I lol'ed at the bold part. Thanks for that laugh.
 

LuckyR

Legend
No, I would call him someone who does not play tennis for a living and hardly ever sees that serve, so he is momentarily bothered by it. I would say the same if a driver is flustered because all the familiar roads he takes to work have suddenly been made one-way for a special event. I would not go around calling him a bad driver.

Why not just look at it with common sense?
We are in agreement, but then I don't/won't use a perjorative to describe an atypical but perfectly reasonable play on the ball either. My suggestion was for those who insist on putting an unwarranted negative spin on a neutral issue.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
What about tossing several times before you serve which you said you do so as to get the perfect toss? Would you consider it to be bush league because it disrupts the opponent's rhythm?
I would call repeated tossing bush league, I suppose, if done intentionally.

If someone is a beginner and needs to toss a lot, that is not bush league because they are doing this due to lack of skill and unintentionally.

If a pro intentionally tosses repeatedly, I would call that bush league ( mediocre, amateurish, lacking in skill).

Hey, here's a question for you.

Say you are watching an ATP match between two players in the top 20. Say one of them serves underhand throughout the match. He is bood lustily by the crowd. He gets destroyed, of course. At the post match conference, he is asked why he did this --was he hurt, was it windy, was he cramping? He replies, "I just decided I wanted to serve underhand?"

I wonder if the ATP would fine him for not giving best efforts?
 

goober

Legend
I don't see what the big deal is serving underhand. I know people who throw it in every so often on a regular basis. It doesn't bother me in the least. 90% of the time it is an easy serve to force a winner or set you up for an approach. I saw a 3.0 woman who only hits underhand serves . Should I just call her bush league since she never hits overhead serves?

I see absolutely no difference between somebody who has been blasting serves in all day and then throws in a no pace overhead serve that barely clears the net and an underhand serve. Is that somehow not bush league because he served the no pace serve with an overhead motion instead of a underhand motion?
 

dcdoorknob

Hall of Fame
I played baseball (where the term originated) my whole youth and into adulthood. Mediocrity compared to pros was never used to describe something as bush. Keep in mind, the term was often used to describe guys in the minors that would do anything to win in an attempt to make it to the higher levels.

A first baseman intentionally tagging a guy sliding back to first in the face - bush.

A base runner coming in cleats up on a benign double play ball - bush.

Fake tagging a base runner to get him to slide - bush.
Yeah I agree that there is a clear connotation with "bush league' beyond merely being something one doesn't see often in the pros.

The guy with a huge hitch in his backhand that would never allow him to advance to pro (or even 4.5) level is not ever called bush league. The guy that slices his forehand approach shots even on midcourt balls instead of hitting flat/topspin approach shots like pretty much every pro does is never called bush league.

Bush league, as it is being used in this thread, is being reserved for situations when a particular tactic is not only not seen often in the pros, but is also considered to be in poor taste, or impolite in some way. Having a severe hitch in your backhand or hitting slice FH approach shots doesn't qualify.

I found a link that articulates what I'm talking about

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-bush-league.htm

In particular, the Use in Baseball section at the bottom I think is consistent with how it is typically used in tennis:
"Although the term "bush league" is often used as an idiom in many contexts outside the sports world, its most common usage might be in baseball. It is often used when one of the so-called unwritten rules of the game is violated. These are rules of etiquette that typically are followed by teams during baseball games at all levels. Trying to surprise the opponent with a "hidden ball trick" or bunting to try to break up a no-hitter in the final inning, as two examples, might be called bush-league plays whether they take place in a youth league or in the major leagues."

When used in this way, I personally don't think an underhanded serve qualifies as bush league.
 

OrangePower

Legend
For me, "bush league" is something that is done as gamesmanship - purely to indimidate, irritate, injure etc the opponent, without it actually having merit as a tennis shot.

So if someone is trying an underhand serve because they think it is a good choice of shot under the circumstances and will win them the point, then that's fine. But serving underhand only to show up the opponent, even though you don't expect it to win you the point, is bush league.

Same with hitting directly at the opposing net player - if it's actually a good shot choice, then fine, but if it's a wild shot that is going to go a mile out and done only to try indimidate, then I think it's bush although legal.

Same with multiple ball tosses: Done because you have a really shaky toss, ok, done deliberately as gamesmanship, bush.

Pros are not immune to bush. I would contend that in some cases the shrieking on every shot by some of the ATP ladies is bush since it's done voluntarily and as gamesmanship.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
We are in agreement, but then I don't/won't use a perjorative to describe an atypical but perfectly reasonable play on the ball either. My suggestion was for those who insist on putting an unwarranted negative spin on a neutral issue.
I would agree with you if the guy always served like that. I know one guy who always serves like that in the sun, and he is open about it. The first time somebody sees him do it, they may be shocked, but he does it whenever the sun is in his eyes.

This guy does it suddenly, so I would not say it is reasonable. It is like a multiple choice exam when question 26 comes before question 25 but the answer sheet for marking has 25 before 26 as usual. Would you say it is reasonable and the student should strictly go by the numbering and not assume that numbers come in increasing order? It is perfectly legal, though.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Hey, here's a question for you.

Say you are watching an ATP match between two players in the top 20. Say one of them serves underhand throughout the match. He is bood lustily by the crowd. He gets destroyed, of course. At the post match conference, he is asked why he did this --was he hurt, was it windy, was he cramping? He replies, "I just decided I wanted to serve underhand?"

I wonder if the ATP would fine him for not giving best efforts?
They could fine him. Money is involved, and pro tennis is a business contract. The crowd wants to see high-level play.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
They could fine him. Money is involved, and pro tennis is a business contract. The crowd wants to see high-level play.
Yes, they could. This is also why Martina Hingis was booed so lustily at the FO when she tried it. I guess the fans thought it bush league because she wasn't injured and knows perfectly well how to serve overhand.

Which suggests underhand serves are viewed by some folks as, um, I don't know. Can't think of a word to describe them . . . .
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
But here's the weird thing.

I spent 2011 as a 3.5 hitting topspin lobs. Drove my opponents nuts. They hated it. Couldn't handle it.

Perhaps every vanquished opponent considered reliance on this shot to be bush league. So long as they kept their opinion to themselves, who cares? So if any of you would like to say my topspin lobs are bush, have at it. Doesn't bother me a bit.
 

Gonzalito17

Banned
The underhand serve is a very clever play as it is effective as a surprise. Also, to win a point off an underhand serve is like 3 victories in one, you won the point, you show that you outsmarted your opponent and third, you humilate him all with one smart shot. This can often fluster the less experienced opponent and disturb his game and confidence. It seems that is exactly what happened with you and your friend after he underhanded you.

Got to remember, during the match, there are no friends. It's a battle for supremacy. One wants to win more than the other. He wanted it more than you and was willing to humiliate you to win. Hope this teaches you a lesson. ALways have to be ready for any surprise at any moment. How you deal with these surprises and tricks reflects how good a competitor you are.
 

Gonzalito17

Banned
The unmderhand serve is also like a taunt, here take a free shot at this easy cupcake serve. Like a boxer dropping his hands and saying to his opponent, here, hit me on the chin, free shot for you. Sugar Ray Leonard did that to Roberto Duran.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Yes, they could. This is also why Martina Hingis was booed so lustily at the FO when she tried it. I guess the fans thought it bush league because she wasn't injured and knows perfectly well how to serve overhand.

Which suggests underhand serves are viewed by some folks as, um, I don't know. Can't think of a word to describe them . . . .
Pro tennis is about entertainment. People want to go home and say that these pros are incredible. That is really all to it.
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
Funny how certain perfectly legal things rile up particular individuals:

High consistancy play bothers folks' egos (especially when they are humiliated in their loss) and so the opponent gets labeled a "pusher" and numerous threads follow.

Short, spinny serves similarly bother certain egos (especially when those egos lose the point, to the bystander's snicker) and the serve gets labeled "bush league", this thread follows...

OK, if you want to call underhanded serves Bush League, you are free to do so. But what do you call someone who can't handle a bush league serve? Worse Than Bush League returner?
I call them Ivan Lendl. :)
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
For me, "bush league" is something that is done as gamesmanship - purely to indimidate, irritate, injure etc the opponent, without it actually having merit as a tennis shot.

So if someone is trying an underhand serve because they think it is a good choice of shot under the circumstances and will win them the point, then that's fine. But serving underhand only to show up the opponent, even though you don't expect it to win you the point, is bush league.

Same with hitting directly at the opposing net player - if it's actually a good shot choice, then fine, but if it's a wild shot that is going to go a mile out and done only to try indimidate, then I think it's bush although legal.

Same with multiple ball tosses: Done because you have a really shaky toss, ok, done deliberately as gamesmanship, bush.

Pros are not immune to bush. I would contend that in some cases the shrieking on every shot by some of the ATP ladies is bush since it's done voluntarily and as gamesmanship.
I have to agree with all this, ... well ok I dont have to but I do :mrgreen:
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
For me, "bush league" is something that is done as gamesmanship - purely to indimidate, irritate, injure etc the opponent, without it actually having merit as a tennis shot.

So if someone is trying an underhand serve because they think it is a good choice of shot under the circumstances and will win them the point, then that's fine. But serving underhand only to show up the opponent, even though you don't expect it to win you the point, is bush league.
How would you know the intent behind the shot?
 

spot

Hall of Fame
How would you know the intent behind the shot?
One memorable time I saw a underhand serve was from a guy on my own team. The other team had to default lines 2-5 because it was pouring rain where they were but not a drop fell at our courts. A 21 year old girl was playing line 1 with her father. OUr team was up 5-0 and 4-0 with our guy serving for the first set. He underhand served the guy.

Now I do honestly believe that he did it only beacuse the guy was about a foot from the fence to try and have a chance of touching our player's kickserve (it really is that nasty) but under the circumstances I think that qualifies as bush league.
 

OrangePower

Legend
How would you know the intent behind the shot?
You don't, you can only make a guess based on other circumstances and context. Same as with many other things. E.g. does your opponent have debatable vision or are they deliberately trying to hook you? I always start by assuming my opponent is doing things in good faith but sometimes circumstances and context eventually lead me to believe otherwise.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Been playing 35 years, and think I did try this once or twice along the way but honestly, it has been so long I cannot even remember.

But, under these circumstances, I don't see anything wrong with it:
1. opponent is playing way back behind baseline
2. opponent is very slow
3. opponent is teeing off on my serve, and I need something to break the pattern
4. I have an injury that makes serving difficult

What's the big deal? My opponent might not like it but it's a game and we are both trying to win
 

blakesq

Hall of Fame
Fact, complaining about legal shots is Bush League.

Bush league: "adjective
inferior or amateurish; mediocre: a bush-league theatrical performance."

Underhand serves are without question bush league as that term is defined.

It is amateur because you do not see it at the pro level. It is strictly the province of amateurs. Pros hit moonballs, drop shots, slices. They do not serve underhand. Indeed, an uninjured pro serving underhand is so rare that I have only witnessed of one instance in the last 20 years: Hingis.

Let's stop defending underhand serving against charges that it is bush league by citing its legality. That is not the question. The question us whether it is amateurish, inferior or mediocre. It obviously is.
 

eastbayliz

Rookie
This is the best set of tennis examples I have seen. It's not because pros don't do it that makes it bush, it's a lack of class or professionalism that makes it bush. You don't have to be great at sport to have class or professionalism - hence why tying it to the effectiveness at the highest levels of sport is not the intent of the definition.

I played baseball (where the term originated) my whole youth and into adulthood. Mediocrity compared to pros was never used to describe something as bush. Keep in mind, the term was often used to describe guys in the minors that would do anything to win in an attempt to make it to the higher levels.

A first baseman intentionally tagging a guy sliding back to first in the face - bush.

A base runner coming in cleats up on a benign double play ball - bush.

Fake tagging a base runner to get him to slide - bush.
Thank you for bringing the light of reason into this thread by your excellent baseball example.

ps...
Go Giants!
 

Maui19

Hall of Fame
I really don't see any distinction between a drop shot against someone playing back, and a short, underhanded serve. And I don't see any distinction between a short underhanded serve and a short overhanded serve. I've served underhand a few times when blinded by the sun. I also had a guy do that to me at States. No one got their panties in a wad. In fact, none of us were wearing panties.
 
little bit of an update.

I went down to 'club old guy' last night to join in their social doubles session. (it's always great tennis, people like Dave McPherson's dad and our underhand serving, WImbledon Seniors winning hero)

Anyway, Max (we will call him Max, as that is his name) was there and I mentioned it with a smile. He cracked up, and said he was just messing with them, really, and never expected them to get so upset.

(76 yo Tennis troll!!!)

I duly defended our club's honour by, umm, losing to him in doubles...
(nobody should be able to volley like that, seriously!)
 

Angle Queen

Professional
Haven't we been through this before?

My opinion hasn't changed: Legal. Tricky but neither bush nor (generally) effective...except to get your opponent riled up.
 

rufus_smith

Professional
Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to serve Nadal underhanded in an ATP match since he stands 10 feet behind he baseline to return. It will fun to see everyone's reaction.
 

Avles

Hall of Fame
I've served underhand a few times when blinded by the sun. I also had a guy do that to me at States. No one got their panties in a wad. In fact, none of us were wearing panties.
You sound awfully certain about that last statement... makes me wonder what really goes on at States...
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to serve Nadal underhanded in an ATP match since he stands 10 feet behind he baseline to return. It will fun to see everyone's reaction.
No he won't. He would already be trembling going into the match against Nadal and will get even the underhand serve wrong.
 

winstonplum

Hall of Fame
Sounds like his back is still not right. What do you want him to do?....Tell you where he is serving. This is not bush league at all. Part of the underhand serve is the suprise. Through in the underhand slice serve and come to net. I have seen it many times and it does work if used once in a while.

Think of it as a surprise tactic to through you off. It worked!

Chang did it to Lendl at the French open in 89 won the point, the match, and the whole tournament. Its a legitimate play.

If an underhand serve is bush league then isnt a drop shot too?
the only bush league thing in your post, is the complaining about a legal shot.
As an aside, since no one here is a Pro, we are all inherantly bush league, by definition. Or to put it another way: as a Club player (or worse) which league did you think you were in?
How far does this unwritten policy on what legal shots you can or can't hit without prior permission extend?

I ask because last night my singles opponent hurt his calf and though he still had pretty good side to side mobility he couldn't move forward well. Out of the blue in the middle of the second set, without letting him know in advance, I hit a drop shot service return. It worked so well I did it three more times in a row to break at love.

Was this type return, especially the first one, bush league too?
where I play it is a bush league to:

  • hit a lob when an opponent is at the net,
  • hit a slow bouncing slice if an opponent is over 5'10" tall,
  • hit a drop shot if an opponent indicated prior to the match he is not willing to move forward-and-back,
  • not hit an out/wide/into the net if you had already hit 3 balls without an error,
  • hit to one's backhand if its opponent's weaker side,
  • in general hit any shot that could pose any problem to an opponent,
to make it fair and not a bush league one must lose a second set if he won the first. And we do not play third set as to not hurt anyone's feelings. that way no one needs to be declared a winner.

It seems our circle lost a bit of competitiveness but hey, we are so fair play.
We do not play with any other folks as they may want to, you know, actually win a point, or even a match - and where is fun in that...
There's nothing wrong with it. The reason it's rarely seen on the pro level and even amateur is that it's not a very effective tactic. If it was it would be seen on the pro tour more often. The shot has a chance to be effective on the first try, sometimes. After that it more than often gets hit for a winner.

Calling it bush or unsportsmanlike is juvenile. I'm sure those great sportsman who call it that would never intentionally run an opponent who becomes injured during a match. They would most likely first default when they see their opponents become hurt because it would be inhumane to see them suffer.
An underhand serve is as bush league as hitting a drop shot when your opponent is deep behind the baseline.

If I notice my opponent is playing way back on serve, I will sometimes tap a very soft spin serve that just clears the net. Somehow, that is ok, but doing the same thing underhand is wrong. That kind of thinking is just weird, IMO.
pretty sneaky play but underhanded or bush league? nah.

we have pages and pages dedicated to people complaining about opponents not playing the way they want them to.

he's a pusher. he's not hitting the ball as hard as he can. he's a moonballer. he lobs everything. he hits junky slice. he's not hitting the ball to my hitting zone. he served underhand. yadda yadda yadda.



----------

btw. i think the sour grapes/bush league card is kindof a red herring. i think more apt is: i'm pizzed off that i let my opponent off the hook. i had that set in hand. i really wanted to win badly versus this 4.5 guy because that validates me as a 4.5 player. i nullified his big serve by standing back deeper. he stopped playing into my hands and changed his strategy. i'm really just mad that i lost.

the way to tell is this. would this thread exist if the guy served underhand and the OP won?
Standing just behind the back service line to chip the return back, is "bush league".
Funny how certain perfectly legal things rile up particular individuals:

High consistancy play bothers folks' egos (especially when they are humiliated in their loss) and so the opponent gets labeled a "pusher" and numerous threads follow.

Short, spinny serves similarly bother certain egos (especially when those egos lose the point, to the bystander's snicker) and the serve gets labeled "bush league", this thread follows...

OK, if you want to call underhanded serves Bush League, you are free to do so. But what do you call someone who can't handle a bush league serve? Worse Than Bush League returner?
:oops: for you

First off, I am not changing the definition of anything.  Here's what the dictionary thinks bush league means: being of an inferior class or group of its kind : marked by a lack of sophistication or professionalism.

That is a fine definition with which I'm fully in agreement but it doesn't apply to pros or anyone else hitting underhand serves imo.

What does it matter how often a pro does something with regard to whether it is bush league or not? I thought you pointed this out above when you were claiming I've changed the definition of bush league but now you seem to be using it in support of the idea that underhand serves are bush. You can't have it both ways. Pros rarely hit tweeners but I don't see anyone arguing they are bush league shots.

I've seen no evidence that pros "are almost always injured or ailing" when they hit such shots.  Even so, is that now part of your criteria for what is bush league--a shot that is rarely hit but is sometimes called upon when a player is injured or ailing?  

I'd just like to know what in your mind makes this one shot special and off-limits?  Your definition of a bush league play is apparently something you deem to be mediocre, amateurish which is rarely done and usually happens when the player is ailing.  

Mediocre is ridiculous criteria because I guarantee you or I or the vast majority of tennis players can't hit those underhand serves with the skill shown by the pros in the above videos and I have a hard time seeing any shot made by a pro as amateurish.

So what about Chang's positioning himself almost at the T in his famous semi-final against Lendl on match point when he was ailing, does that meet your bush league too?  

Holy cow, I could make the same argument back to you lady, why do you care some much? If it means so little to you why do you keep posting about it? Since between the two of us you are the one most likely to be wearing panties I'd guess it is more your problem than mine. But nice try at the straw man argument that the people who disagree with you are incapable of rational thought because our panties are in a wad.

I'm am not sure what the heck your point is in this section but I lol'ed at the bold part. Thanks for that laugh.
Exactly. If Lendl is below bush league, then everyone on this board is so far below bush league, they can't even see bush league from where they're sitting.
Wow. What is about the internet that makes people respond to others like absolute idiots. In real life, you know, in person, most of the people I talk to are meditative, thoughtful, polite, respectful of others' opinions, etc. I guess the internet, because one is anonymous, allows one to behave in any manner they see fit. Especially classy is the moron above who mentioned the gender of his interlocutor. Look it up; it's a good word.

First of all, I have never seen so many pathetic straw man arguments in my life. Drop shots, so-called moon balling, running you opponent from pillar to post--none of these were mentioned in my OP. All sad, sad straw man arguments. Of course those aren't bush. Who ever even implied that they were? Like I said, I've been in tons of matches the last 3.5 years: USTA matches, tournament matches--hotly contested, emotional matches, and I've never seen an underhand serve. I shook his hand when the sets were over (we didn't have time for a third).

And yes, I would have started this thread even if I had won the set.. I had very little invested in "winning" or "losing" this particular match. Once I won that first set 6-3, I knew I could hang with this 4.5. Whether or not I won that second set didn't really matter. Don't get my wrong, I'm very competitive but we were running out of time and I had to get my son from pre-school, so in a way I was happy that we didn't have to play a TB.
 

pinky42

Rookie
It depends on the situation. Any shot hit to taunt an outclassed player is bush league. However, it sounds like you were in a competitive match. As long as you were in the ready position and not being quick served, it is perfectly acceptable.
 

winstonplum

Hall of Fame
The underhand serve is a very clever play as it is effective as a surprise. Also, to win a point off an underhand serve is like 3 victories in one, you won the point, you show that you outsmarted your opponent and third, you humilate him all with one smart shot. This can often fluster the less experienced opponent and disturb his game and confidence. It seems that is exactly what happened with you and your friend after he underhanded you.

Got to remember, during the match, there are no friends. It's a battle for supremacy. One wants to win more than the other. He wanted it more than you and was willing to humiliate you to win. Hope this teaches you a lesson. ALways have to be ready for any surprise at any moment. How you deal with these surprises and tricks reflects how good a competitor you are.
The unmderhand serve is also like a taunt, here take a free shot at this easy cupcake serve. Like a boxer dropping his hands and saying to his opponent, here, hit me on the chin, free shot for you. Sugar Ray Leonard did that to Roberto Duran.
Solid post. I'll take that advice. I guess I've never been taunted on court before. That's strange, though, considering that this wasn't even a challenge match on our club ladder. I could have challenged him as I'm at the top of the 4.0 ladder. We didn't even finish the match. Quite strange. So in a match that wasn't even going to end because we both had to go after that set, he choose to humiliate me. It did fluster me. I was standing about a foot behind the baseline, so I got it back fine, but after I lost the point, I thought about it for the next four points that I was losing.

There is a completely innocuous explanation to all of this and that is that he was having trouble with the sun. He kept throwing his toss up (just as we all do sometimes to see the sun's angle on our serve), but he kept doing it quite a bit. Perhaps the sun was really bothering him. Perhaps he was so frustrated that he wanted to humiliate me. There's no friction between us. I'll ask him next time we play.
 
what intrigues me is the way you come across as a calm, thoughtful, perfectly reasonable person yet you have elicited all these hysterical responses..

I would be prepared to wager those responding most vociferously (also a good word) are right up to speed on delivering the underhand serve themselves...


I had actually forgotten until this morning, this happened to me at an Open tournament last year, young guy was down 0 - 6 in the tiebreaker and whipped one in out of desperation, I think. I didn't respond very well, to be honest, lost the point and mouthed off at him. My bad.

He's a really nice kid, too, and we have long since cleared the air and practiced together a fair bit since.

something about these damn serves, eh? :wink:
 

pinky42

Rookie
So in a match that wasn't even going to end because we both had to go after that set, he choose to humiliate me. It did fluster me. I was standing about a foot behind the baseline, so I got it back fine, but after I lost the point, I thought about it for the next four points that I was losing.
What makes you think he was trying to humiliate you as opposed to just trying to win the point? In your OP you said that the match was reasonably close so it's not like you were totally outclassed.
 
What makes you think he was trying to humiliate you as opposed to just trying to win the point? In your OP you said that the match was reasonably close so it's not like you were totally outclassed.
oh come on, you can't cherry pick phrases like that, OP was clearly repsonding directly to Gonzalito's post aboove.
 
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