Thursday, June 10, 2021

the 'underarm' moment - stinks ! or takes social media by storm !!

Remember in Cricket that ‘underarm stinks’ moment .. .. this has only taken Tennis World by storm !!



Daniil Sergeyevich Medvedev, the Russian, is currently ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) as world No. 2, which is his career-high singles ranking first achieved on 15 March 2021. He has won ten ATP Tour singles titles, including the 2020 ATP Finals where he defeated the top 3 players Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem. .. .. with a single shot classified as a ‘millennial serve’ by his opponent, he seems to have divided the Tennis world and taken social media by storm !

Tsitsipas had his own description for the ploy which backfired so badly for his opponent. "A very millennial shot," said the Greek, the colourful world number two was beaten 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 by Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas who will face Germany's Alexander Zverev for a place in Sunday's final.

It was only Tsitsipas's second win over Medvedev in eight meetings and it ended in bizarre fashion. The mercurial Russian decided to serve underarm on match point down. But as he approached the net, hoping to finish the point with a volley, Tsitsipas merely fired a backhand winner beyond him. Medvedev was to say - "I didn't see the opportunity before but I thought it's going to be a good choice to bring him surprise. I sometimes do it on practice. "Usually guys are a bit surprised. But it didn't work out at all. I won't say it was a mistake. It was something that I dared to do and maybe next time I won't do it knowing that he's ready."



Medvedev had never won a match at Roland Garros in four attempts before this year. So winning four matches in one visit was progress even if he was dismayed that his match was selected for the penultimate evening session. It was played inside an empty Court Philippe Chatrier as spectators were banned under a 9pm Covid-19 curfew. This year's French Open is staging evening sessions for the first time under a broadcast agreement with streaming giant Amazon. "It was without a doubt the match of the day but Roland Garros preferred Amazon to people," said Medvedev.

He compared the situation to the Formula One world championship when the 2020 Australian Grand Prix was set to take place in Melbourne even though there had been a Covid-19 outbreak in the paddock. The race was eventually cancelled."Yesterday I started the third season of (Netflix documentary series) 'Drive to Survive' and there's an episode called 'Cash Is King'," added Medvedev."They were in Australia ready to race, and they asked Lewis Hamilton what he thinks about racing in the conditions the world was in right now, and he said, I don't know what we are doing here. "And so they asked him, Why do you think they make you race? And he said, 'Cash is King.' It was the same here." Tsitsipas now has the most wins on the ATP tour this season (38) and won clay court titles at Monte Carlo and Lyon.  

A serve (or, more formally, a service) in tennis is a shot to start a point. A player will hit the ball overarm  with a racquet so it will fall into the diagonally opposite service box without being stopped by the net. Normally players begin a serve by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it (usually near the highest point of the toss). The ball can only touch the net on a return and will be considered good if it falls on the opposite side.  The serve is one of the most difficult shots for a novice, but once mastered it can be a considerable advantage. Advanced players can hit the serve in many different ways and often use it as an offensive weapon to gain an advantage in the point or to win it outright.  

An underhand serve is a type of serve in which the player holds the ball in one hand, swings the other in an arc motion below the waist and strikes the ball from the bottom with a fist to put it in play. In an underhand serve, the player does not toss the ball up in the air, as in other serve attempts. Instead, the server holds onto the ball and strikes it below their waist with a closed fist.  

The tennis world was stunned Medvedev would opt for such a high-risk move on match point. Sports writer Erik Gudris tweeted: “If a crowd was there, half would boo Medvedev for that. The other half would give him a standing ovation.” Fellow tennis reporter Ricky Dimon said it was “epic”, adding: “Medvedev is a damn genius. Now nobody is going to talk about how he just got destroyed by Tsitsipas. Now they are just going to talk about how dumb he is for hitting an underarm serve down match point. What a legend.” Journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted: “The underhand serve down match point by Medvedev was pretty terrible, but pretty amusing.”

This perhaps is not the first time, yet it remains legal (may not be ethical) in the game of Tennis. The most famous underhand serve in the history of professional tennis remains a severely cramping Michael Chang’s deft trickery that unnerved a choking Ivan Lendl in the fourth round of the 1989 French Open, enabling Chang to retain his fifth set lead and go on to become the youngest men’s major champion in history. One reason the underhand serve is so rare is a matter of simple physics: Given the dimensions of a tennis court, you can exert greater force and spin on an object by hitting downward in a fairly straight line than upwardly parabolic. The other reason is a matter of ethics: Underhand serves are perfectly legal — the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Rules of Tennis  says only that the ball must be struck “before the ball hits the ground”, a player may serve underhand as there is “no restriction in the rules on the kind of service motion that a server may use.” 

We still remember that infamous incident in Cricket field in which our former Cricket coach was involved.   The Cricketing fraternity will never forget nor forgive his ‘stinking under-arm’.  It was on 1st  Feb 1981 at Melbourne – match between Australia and New Zealand.  Kiwis were chasing 235 – the good knock of Bruce Edgar got them closer – 15 required off the last over – an improbable one those days.  Greg Chappel  was at the helm and his younger brother Trevor Chappel was the bowler.  Off the last delivery 6 was required to be hit – Brian McKechnie was at the strike.  With fear overtaking shame, Trevor under instructions from Greg informed the Umpire of his intention and bowled underarm.  That was his strategic move in winning the match.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th June 2021.
  

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