“A Tactic I Believe”: When Roger Federer Sided With Nick Kyrgios and Backed the Underarm Serve

Published 09/19/2021, 6:08 AM EDT
Roger Federer of Team Europe and Nick Kyrgios of Team World poses for photo during Day 2 of the Laver Cup 2019 at Palexpo on September 21, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Laver Cup will see six players from the rest of the World competing against their counterparts from Europe. Team World is captained by John McEnroe and Team Europe is captained by Bjorn Borg. The tournament runs from September 20-22. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)


There is a long-time debate going on the usage of the under-arm serve in tennis. While players like Nick Kyrgios have often used it to earn some points from their opponents, some experts believe that although it is legal, it is highly unethical. It is interesting to note the opinion of Roger Federer on this subject.

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In 2019, in a match between Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal at the ATP Acapulco 2019, the former used an underarm service, knowing the fact that the Spaniard was standing really far behind the baseline. He served underarm and managed to not only win the point, but later, also sealed the match.

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After the incident, an intense heated argument took place in tennis in which Roger Federer also shared his views. Surprisingly, he decided to back Kyrgios.

“Yeah underarm is definitely a tactic I believe. Especially when guys are hugging the fence in the back. From that standpoint (players) shouldn’t be ashamed to try it out,” said Federer back then.

The Swiss Maestro highlighted that he sees an underarm serve as a tactic. He mentioned that one must not be ashamed to use it, especially when the opponent is standing extremely away from the baseline.

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Roger Federer emphasized that there is nothing wrong in trying the underarm serve

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Federer reiterated that there is nothing wrong in trying an underarm serve at any point during the match. Even though he jokingly said that one would look silly if he or she misses it, he clearly believes that it is a part of the sport.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 3, 2021. Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Toby Melville

“You just look silly if you miss it sometimes. But why not try it?” added the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

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Roger Federer is currently undergoing a knee surgery. Fans hope that he becomes fit soon and returns to the court before the Australian Open 2022. Will he be able to win a Grand Slam title before bidding goodbye to the sport?

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Anshul Singh

1407 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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