“Completely Legitimate Play”: Andy Murray Endorses Daniil Medvedev’s Underarm Serve in ATP Finals 2020 win

November 19, 2020 11:00 pm

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has backed Daniil Medvedev for his use of the underarm serve at the ATP Finals.

The tactic is employed fairly regularly on the circuit, often with great success.

Daniil Medvedev used underarm serve to win point against Alexander Zverev

Speaking to Frenchman Gael Monfils, the Scot said he doesn’t understand why some experts find it ‘disrespectful’.

“Always when that happens, you hear the commentators, they always start going, ‘Oh, it’s disrespectful to hit an underarm serve?’

“I don’t understand it,”  Murray said.

In his opening game against Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Russian Daniil Medvedev nailed an underarm serve to score a point.

Murray said he found nothing wrong, unfair or undignified in the tactic.

Ploy fair when players are standing far behind the baseline, says Andy Murray

“If players are going to stand six or seven meters behind the baseline to return the serve…

“…I think it’s a completely legitimate play.

“As we have seen it has been at times pretty successful,” Murray said. “It’s not like players are doing it to mess around.”

It’s used as a legitimate tactic when players are standing that far behind the baseline.

“I thought it was a smart play, I certainly wasn’t expecting it when I was watching the match…

“…and he (Medvedev) obviously won the point so it’s a good play,” Murray said.

May look silly if it doesn’t come off, says Scot

However, he said if the underarm serve doesn’t come off, it can make a player look silly.

“I’d imagine if you miss it as well – I don’t remember ever doing it in a professional match – you’d probably feel quite silly. You feel like a bit of an idiot,” the Scot said.

Read More: Who is Daniil Medvedev’s Coach?

“Pretty successful tactic” seen often

Murray called it a successful ploy used quite often to win points.

Britain’s Andy Murray in action during his first round match against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“I would say, often when you see it a lot of the time you’re seeing the highlights…

“…and people like to put it there when it has worked. 

“But I would say it’s a pretty successful tactic.

“And it’s not like guys are only winning one out of every 10 points when they’re doing it. 

“I’d think they’d be winning at least half,” the Scot said.

Medvedev’s gambit with the underarm serve was part of the audacious brand of tennis that he dished out against Zverev.

He followed up that win with an upset victory over top-seed Novak Djokovic.

Priyabrata Chowdhury

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports from New Delhi. He holds a Masters degree in Journalism and has been in this profession for close to 11 years now. He takes an avid interest in sports in general and tennis in particular and holds a special place for Roger Federer when it comes to tennis but doesn't let his bias filter into his work.

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