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justice for all
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Discussion Starter #1
Nadal is known to stand very far behind the baseline when returning the serves, especially on clay.

Do you think a tactic of throwing in an underarm short serve here and there (say one point per game) would work against him?

I think a player using this tactic could gain a few different things:

1) surprise him and win the point (maybe not every time but still)
2) to rile him and throw him off balance
3) to force him to come closer to the baseline which would change the dynamics of the match

No-one tried it and I think especially vs a player who stands kilometres behind the baseline like Nadal does this tactic is worth trying.

What do you think?
 

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Administrator | Chaos Theory
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It's a nice "troll" move to try, and it's totally legal. See Michael Chang's masterful display against Lendl. Of course it adheres to the law of diminishing returns.

The only issue is that people don't typically practice such a serve. It might seem easy to produce on the fly, but it's not. I guess people can add it to the end of their routine just before meeting Nadal.
 

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You can throw one or two just for the banter at 40-0 or something, but as a tactic that's a no. Isn't the underarm serve seen as unsportsmanlike?
as long as you're not a Hingis :p
 

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You can throw one or two just for the banter at 40-0 or something, but as a tactic that's a no. Isn't the underarm serve seen as unsportsmanlike?
Wonder what the general sentiment is? Personally think this line of thinking is stupid. If the opponent chooses to counter your power by standing further back, why wouldn't you be allowed to try to trick him with a short serve... Would be like in boxing, you'd clearly state your intentions before a punch so that the opponent can put the gloves in front. No... that's not the goal, but instead to land a punch (and a serve/shot).


edit. This topic was discussed earlier this year. Can't just remember whether it was a specific thread or in connection to another topic. There were some videos of famous underarm serves... e.g. Karlovic against Haas.

edit 2. ...this:

L3JsfD22wHQ
 

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justice for all
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Discussion Starter #6
It's a nice "troll" move to try, and it's totally legal. See Michael Chang's masterful display against Lendl. Of course it adheres to the law of diminishing returns.

The only issue is that people don't typically practice such a serve. It might seem easy to produce on the fly, but it's not. I guess people can add it to the end of their routine just before meeting Nadal.
Great double meaning there, man.
 

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justice for all
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Discussion Starter #7
You can throw one or two just for the banter at 40-0 or something, but as a tactic that's a no. Isn't the underarm serve seen as unsportsmanlike?
Wonder what the general sentiment is? Personally think this line of thinking is stupid. If the opponent chooses to counter your power by standing further back, why wouldn't you be allowed to try to trick him with a short serve... Would be like in boxing, you'd clearly state your intentions before a punch so that the opponent can put the gloves in front. No... that's not the goal, but instead to land a punch (and a serve/stroke).


edit. This topic was discussed earlier this year. Can't just remember whether it was a specific thread or in connection to another topic. There were some videos of famous underarm serves... e.g. Karlovic against Haas.
I don't see any legitimate reason why this would be unsportsmanlike. It's not like hitting straight into the player who is standing at the net (though this one is legit too).
 

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I don't see any legitimate reason why this would be unsportsmanlike. It's not like hitting straight into the player who is standing at the net (though this one is legit too).
Yeah... and I consider the latter also ok for the most parts. If you come to the net, you need to cover the entire court, not just the left and right side. Maybe going max power (i.e. even more than a basic shot that's intended to land in the court) is OTT. Don't go Babe Ruth. But a normal shot to the body is fine by me.

I'm doubting whether using it consistently and often would be fruitful, but a point here and there (like Karlovic in the video) could be worthwhile.
 

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I don't see any legitimate reason why this would be unsportsmanlike. It's not like hitting straight into the player who is standing at the net (though this one is legit too).
IMO it is as "unsportsmanlike" as trying to hide a direction & kind (top spin kick, top spin slice etc.) of your serve.

Especially because after the very first underarm serve every opponent already understood the message.
 

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I think it would work once and after that he would kill it. So if someone saved it for a big point and it went wrong, it would be embarrassing. All in all, I think its not worth it
 

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I think it would work once and after that he would kill it. So if someone saved it for a big point and it went wrong, it would be embarrassing. All in all, I think its not worth it
That's the point though. To kill it he needs to stand closer to the net, which reduces his advantage on normal serves.
 

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That's the point though. To kill it he needs to stand closer to the net, which reduces his advantage on normal serves.
I get it yeah, but I can tell from someones fluid motion if going to serve normal or not so I'm sure Nadal can. I get guitarra's point, I just think it would be mad for someone to try do it. Nadal is a great volleyer he wont mind being up there.
 

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Nadal is attempting to counter the opponent's strength, so I don't see a problem with the opponent throwing in an underarm serve. He stands so far back that surely players of this skill level could just drop one over the net, and its a almost certain winner. Players don't do it for fear of a negative reaction I'm sure.
 

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I agree with most of you that the underarm should not be seen as unsportsmanlike if used consistently, but let's imagine this situation: Isner vs Nadal at Roland Garros, John being 7-6 7-6 up, 5-5 in the 3rd set with Nadal having his 1st break point of the match; Isner throws his first underarm serve of the match to save it. I think that would cause mayhem. :spit:

Remember when Roger started using "SABR"? Even if it was a legit tactic, some people found it disrespectful, even Boris Becker said something, I think. I don't know, there will always be people against these kind of tricks. :shrug:
 

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Remember when Roger started using "SABR"? Even if it was a legit tactic, some people found it disrespectful, even Boris Becker said something, I think. I don't know, there will always be people against these kind of tricks. :shrug:
The issue with this tactic was that Roger Federer was moving forward while his opponent was yet to hit the serve.
 

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The issue with this tactic was that Roger Federer was moving forward while his opponent was yet to hit the serve.
So what? As long as the purpose of your movement is to improve your position for returning (and not just to distract your opponent), this is completely legitimate.
But back to the topic: I guess the only reason no one tries underarm serve vs. Nadal is that they would look pretty silly if they failed.
 

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justice for all
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Discussion Starter #19
So what? As long as the purpose of your movement is to improve your position for returning (and not just to distract your opponent), this is completely legitimate.
But back to the topic: I guess the only reason no one tries underarm serve vs. Nadal is that they would look pretty silly if they failed.
I think they look even more silly when they eat bagels or maybe not, maybe it's OK for a TOP50 player to eat a bakery product from the clay monster on his favourite dirt.
 

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Like NextGenKing said, likely it would work only a handful of times and even then it would have to be perfectly executed - too weak and you risk hitting your own side of the net, too strong and he will chase it down for an easy point. Heck, while you are there you could also try serve and volley and that too could surprise Nadal and maybe win a point or two, however gimmicks aren't going to win a match against best ever on clay. :)
 
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