Andy Murray defends bizarre underarm serve in Wimbledon opener: ‘It’s a legitimate way of serving’

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray defended his decision to use an underarm serve in his first-round win over Australia’s James Duckworth on Monday, arguing it’s a valuable tactic in keeping his opponents on edge. 

While serving with a 2-1 lead in the third set, Murray opted for an underhand serve that caught Duckworth – and spectators – off guard. He won the point and explained to reporters after the match that he chose the unpopular serve because of his opponent’s positioning on the court

Andy Murray in action against James Duckworth during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Andy Murray in action against James Duckworth during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Monday, June 27, 2022.
(Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

​​”He changed his return position,” Murray said, via the ATP Tour’s website. “That’s why I did it. He was standing very close to return [initially], he was struggling a little bit on the first-serve return. So he stepped probably two meters further back. As soon as I saw him step further back, I threw the underarm serve in.” 

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The former World No. 1 said he has no issues with any player using the underarm serve and that as players move further and further away from the baseline, it’s certainly a tool he’ll utilize again. 

Andy Murray reacts during his match against James Duckworth at Wimbledon on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Andy Murray reacts during his match against James Duckworth at Wimbledon on Monday, June 27, 2022.
(Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

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“I don’t know why people have ever found it potentially disrespectful,” he said. “I’ve never understood that. It’s a legitimate way of serving.” 

“No one says it’s disrespectful for someone to return from six meters behind the baseline to try to get an advantage. So, I used it not to be disrespectful to him but to say, if you’re going to step further back to return the serve to give yourself more time, then I’m going to exploit that.”

Andy Murray said he has no issues with any player using the underarm serve.

Andy Murray said he has no issues with any player using the underarm serve.
(Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Murray, who has never lost in the first round at Wimbledon, will play John Isner in the second round on Wednesday.

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