Andy Murray’s Under-Arm Serve A Winner at Indian Wells

Elizabeth Wagner - 12 Oct 2021

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray this week defended his use of the under-arm serve after he on Sunday got booed by the California crowd during his second set opposite young gun Carlos Alcaraz at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The Scot’s trickery caught his Spanish opponent completely off guard, which ultimately resulted in an ace as well as a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

While the under-arm serve is a common and divisive tactic in tennis, fans typically hold divided views on the often referred to “cheek” involved in the move. While some admire it for its pomp, others consider it disrespectful.

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Under-Arm A Desperate Move

According to Murray’s defence, he’d been prompted to use the move because of the level of difficulty experienced in getting free points to serve. This, he explained, had been the result of Alcaraz covering practically the entire court from far back against the outer boundaries.

Murray said since Alcaraz was clearly intent on standing “that far back”, and coupled with the slow conditions of the court, it made sense to see whether he could lure his opponent forward.

The Scot added that Sunday’s under-arm was the first he’d ever played during a match. He said since he’d scored three aces while facing the Spaniard, and since one of those three had been creating by an under-arm serve, he would consider doing so again in the future whenever his opponents happen to be standing as far back as Alcaraz.

Murray Brought His A-Game  

But Murray’s under-armer wasn’t the only significant moment in Sunday’s match. The Scot also saved 8 out of the 10 break points he faced on the day – which ultimately saw him power past his opponent after a gruelling three hours and four minutes.

The Scot said this week he’s obviously happy with his performance on the day. He said his body did well, almost like it did at the US Open at Flushing Meadows. He did however add that the conditions, and especially playing on a slow court in the heat, weren’t all that easy. He said especially playing an extended rally against a player like Alcaraz, had the potential of making for a very difficult run.

Murray, who is clearly not yet ready to surrender to a next generation of tennis players, said while he’s satisfied with his performance on Sunday, he could have done better.

And he’ll probably have to if he’s to make it past Alexander Zverev in Round 3.

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