Soccer is often referred to as a beautiful game, but tennis is a close competitor. It’s an enduring and powerful game that’s hard to learn and even more difficult to master, especially since it’s played on different surfaces. Most of the time, tennis has a reputable reputation. That said, one move in tennis that’s stirred some debate in recent decades is the underarm serve.
What’s Wrong With The Underarm Serve?
A good serve in tennis is an important asset. Most players utilize the overhead serve, with Australia’s Sam Groth recognized as having one of the fastest recorded serves, reaching 263 km/h at an ATP Challenger event in 2012. Still, it’s not uncommon to see players opt for the underarm serve, though it’s usually met with the overwhelming sound of boos from the crowd.
An underarm serve is like a drop shot. The ball bounces twice before the returner has the opportunity to reach it, making it a completely valid and legal strategy to win a point if the server notices that the returner is standing far behind the baseline. However, some players and fans believe it’s an unsportsmanlike shot. Indeed, the underarm serve is unconventional, and it looks strange in a game between two top professionals, but it’s still a legal tactic.
One of the most famous underarms serves won Michael Chang the French Open in 1989. In the final point of Chang’s match with Ivan Lendl, Chang used an underarm serve. Lendl, who has number one at the time, didn’t expect it, and neither did the crowd, who did nothing to conceal their upset and disappointment. Modern-day players Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Bublik are fans of the underarm serve, with Kyrgios using it against Rafael Nadal, who won his 13th French Open title last year, during Wimbledon in 2019. The crowd had mixed reactions, with the commentaries reminding viewers that Kyrgios wasn’t breaking any rules, but at the same time, it’s a shot that’s not going to make you any friends in the industry.
Why Can’t Professional Athletes Try Something New?
Everyone tries or tests something new at one point in their lives, and there are usually benefits to doing so. For instance, retail stores like Target offer loyalty programs to incentivize consumers to try their products. Similarly, according to Rob, editor of Bonusfinder United Kingdom, individuals can test online gambling with a small initial payment. They can use minimum deposits to try out new casinos online risk-free. Professional athletes don’t get these kinds of breaks. When they try something new, they often have to pay a big price. Tennis players like Chang and Kyrgios have been vilified for doing a completely legal shot, while the then Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton was scrutinized by fans for smiling and dancing during a Carolina Panthers and Titans football game.
The underarm serve in tennis is a legal shot, but it comes with some drama whenever a player uses it in a match. Players have to pay a big price when they try it, which is uncommon in other industries when people try something new since there are often bonuses and incentives given.