“Nothing Disrespectful About It”: Daniil Medvedev on His Underarm Serve at ATP Finals 2020




Daniil Medvedev got off to a great start at ATP Finals 2020 with a straight-sets victory over Alexander Zverev. And during the fine performance, Medvedev served a cheeky little underarm service as well, which caught everyone by surprise.

Generally, the underarm serve is seen as a mockery of the opponent, so after the match, Medvedev clarified his decision to use the underarm serve.

“I did not do it at 40-Love on my serve just to laugh and to mock him. I did it at 30-All to win the point, to win the match. That was the case, and that worked. I see nothing disrespectful about it.”

Daniil Medvedev explains why he used the underarm serve

Medvedev saw Zverev standing way behind the baseline and thus used the underarm serve. Perplexed with where to serve, the Russian searched for innovation and went for the underarm serve.

“Here it was just in the moment,  I saw him really far back. I was thinking, ‘Okay, where do I go?’ I [was] like, ‘He’s so far. He’s going to have trouble’. He actually made a good shot to bring it back, but I managed to win the point, and that’s the most important. I won’t be doing this often, I think,” Medvedev said.

daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev in action during his group stage match against Alexander Zverev. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Further explaining his decision, he revealed that it was a spontaneous decision and the underarm serve is something which he rarely uses even in practice. Also, the last time he used the underarm serve was in the 2020 French Open.

“No, I was not planning it at all. I can do it sometimes, let’s say, once a week, twice, once in two weeks in practice, just maybe a first serve to start, to laugh with my opponent or something like this.”

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev reacts during his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Underarm serve is legal but is seen as unsportsmanlike behavior. Famously, in the past few years, Nick Kyrgios has used to great effect, which has prompted some other players to use it as well. Anyway’s Medvedev plays Novak Djokovic next and let’s see if he tries the underarm serve against the Serbian.

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