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The Underhand Serve

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  • The Underhand Serve

    Let's discuss Rocky Lang's article, "The Underhand Serve"

  • #2
    Good article.
    Not a huge fan of it but with a player like Nadal that stands so far back, why not try it? What's the worst that can happen? You will lose the point from the baseline anyway against him. Give it a shot. Then, when he must adapt and stand closer you can flatten one out and rush him on the forehand return. Pray for a miracle either way. Divine intervention may be the only thing that can help a player vs. Nadal during clay season.

    People have tried the underhand serve on me, I don't mind it as I wanna get to the net anyways. Just a more appealing invite.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Boca Raton

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    • #3
      I am not a fan either. If you are injured and left with no other option, fair enough, that's acceptable. Otherwise it's bordering on gamesmanship and there has always been something of stigma surrounding the use of the the underhand serve. You won't make friends from using it that's for sure.

      I also found Roger's SABR attack was a bit insulting, disrespectful. Tweeners are too.

      There's an unspoken line you cross with these things. The line is hard to define but we all know and feel it when our opponent crosses it.
      Stotty

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      • #4
        Originally posted by stotty View Post
        I am not a fan either. If you are injured and left with no other option, fair enough, that's acceptable. Otherwise it's bordering on gamesmanship and there has always been something of stigma surrounding the use of the the underhand serve. You won't make friends from using it that's for sure.

        I also found Roger's SABR attack was a bit insulting, disrespectful. Tweeners are too.

        There's an unspoken line you cross with these things. The line is hard to define but we all know and feel it when our opponent crosses it.
        Good points and examples stotty!
        Not a fan of the SABR either. The tweeter is truly unnecessary more than disrespectful. Just silly.

        Kyle LaCroix USPTA
        Boca Raton

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        • #5
          Two comments. First, how about the camera work?? How cool is that shot directly overhead - or the zooming in on the first clip. A sweet touch to a sweet article.

          Second, I will never forget Michael Chang pulling out that underhanded serve against Lendl at the French Open. A cramping David against an ice cold Goliath, that underhanded serve changed the match and certainly Chang's career as he went on to become the youngest men's champion in Grand Slam history.

          On a related note, do you remember in the 2011 US Open semi-finals when Novak went for broke returning Federer's serve on match point with a kamikaze swing? It was the turning point of the match, and that crazy gamble, like Chang's, led to a Grand Slam. McEnroe called it one of the all time great shots. Federer was furious about it and said it was a cheap trick you use in juniors. Same controversy the underhand serve generates.

          A real gem of an article. Fascinating history in there as well about this controversial shot, and a convincing take on how this shot has it's place, whether you feel it's a gimmick, unsportsmanlike, or not.




          Last edited by jeffreycounts; 05-09-2018, 03:41 PM.

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          • #6
            The drop shot is considered legit. That's what an underhand serve is basically.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the thoughts. This was a fun article to write and use the drone. I'm movie maker and writer who just loves tennis so much I went out and got my USPTA certification, although I don't teach. What I never understood is why this sends people over the edge when the dinker, lobber, and drop shotter doesn't. What is specifically about this serve that makes people go crazy? I just got an offline text from a former pro and high-performance coach who wrote me he had 24 aces using the underhand serve. Is this truly underhanded?

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              • #8
                my favorite vid in support of the UH serve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d15LQq_pzo

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeffreycounts View Post

                  Second, I will never forget Michael Chang pulling out that underhanded serve against Lendl at the French Open. A cramping David against an ice cold Goliath, that underhanded serve changed the match and certainly Chang's career as he went on to become the youngest men's champion in Grand Slam history.
                  Michael Chang was the poster boy why oversized racquets should have been banned in the first place. He and Andre Agassi.

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                  • #10
                    like the announcers i've always wondered why, against nadal standing 20ft behind the baseline, especially big servers, don't underhand serve...

                    my theory is that it disrupts the timing/rhythm of a normal serve.
                    for me, i only do the UH serve if i'm far ahead in the count... but what i've noticed is that midmatch, my UH serve timing/rhythm is not "warmed up", so there's a good chance i'll miss it just because i'm not hitting it 10-20x a match (and likely didn't hit any during the warmup)... similarly, if i do try an UH serve and miss, now my normal 2nd serve timing/rhythm is "cold"... at least if i try a normal 1st serve, and miss, the memory of how i missed (usually toss is slightly off) is "fresh" in my head, and is used to enh the chance of making my normal 2nd serve...

                    thoughts?

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                    • #11
                      was out practice this yesterday at the end of my "normal" serve practice routine... it's amazing how low % this shot is for me...
                      routine:
                      1. flat
                      2. underhand
                      3. kicker or heavy slice
                      etc...

                      i'm pretty sure my flat is a higher % shot that the underhand (i presume that the UH is "good" if it lands middle box with side spin and stays low (ideally 3 bounces to baseline), else it's just a sitter). anyone else feel this way, or am i just not practiced enough with what i typically presume is an "easy" shot.

                      i find the "push/dink" UH serve way easier (but lacks the side spin component, but is easier to hide).

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                      • #12
                        If you do an underhand serve, I find you need to practice it, and hit it with a lot of sidespin so it exits the court. Not just push it in. Bahrami does this well.
                        Regards, Phil

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gzhpcu View Post
                          If you do an underhand serve, I find you need to practice it, and hit it with a lot of sidespin so it exits the court. Not just push it in. Bahrami does this well.
                          yeah, that's what i've been finding... so once i've "warmed up my serve", i typically serve 5 to one box, then switch
                          1. "flat" T
                          2. topslice out wide
                          3. underhand
                          4. kick or heavy slice.

                          the "push" technique seems to be almost equally as "popular" on the tour than the sidespin version... probably because (a) easier to disguise (b) easier to keep low/short. seems the atp folks i see on yt, hitting sidespin have a tendency to hit it too deep, which is no bueno.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by don_budge View Post

                            Michael Chang was the poster boy why oversized racquets should have been banned in the first place. He and Andre Agassi.
                            Why? I guess you see it as an unfair advantage? Its just one metric. Why not claim heavier rackets offer an unfair advantage? Or rackets with bigger beams? Or lighter rackets? Or less flexible rackets? Or aluminum rackets? Or metal rackets like Conner used? Or open patterns? Or graphite rackets? Or oversized rackets introduced well before
                            Change and Agassi.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Error View Post
                              Its just one metric.
                              Error...unfortunately in this case it is the only metric. Doesn't matter what she said...size matters.

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