Is the Underhand Serve

Rocky Lang

What reactions do players get from an underhand serve?

On an early fall day in the quiet residential community of Tarzana, California, I was warming up on court 7, while a foursome was playing doubles on an adjacent court.

They were solid clubbers playing social tennis--weekend warriors who come to play with knee braces, arm braces and then cool down with ice packs on various parts of their bodies.

Then something happened. One of the four, Little Mikey, as we call him, served an underhand serve to his opponent Butch for an ace. And Butch’s head exploded off his shoulders.

He let out a guttural scream, marched around the net and pointed a threatening finger at Little Mikey. Everyone became silent, waiting to hear what would come next. "If you do that one more time, I am walking off this court and I will never, ever play with you again!"

I’m a pretty good player, rated a 4.5, and I personally don’t think the underhand serve is underhanded. But Butch obviously did.

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Rocky Lang is a 40-year veteran of the motion picture and television industries. He has produced major motion pictures such as Ridley Scotts White Squall and has directed features and television. He is the author of nine books, including a best seller. Visit him at

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