Daniil Medvedev dished out the successful underhand serve vs. Alexander Zverev.
By Richard Pagliaro
Daniil Medvedev showed some outside-the-box thinking and fine feel to earn his first ATP Finals victory today.
Serving at 4-3, 30-all in the second set, Medvedev dished out the rare no-look, underhand serve surprising Alexander Zverev.
The soft serve had a big impact helping the Russian win the point and eventually the match 6-3, 6-4.
Watch Medvedev take a quick glance to assess Zverev's deep court positioning then immediately go to the underhand serve.
An underarm serve?
At the #NittoATPFinals?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 16, 2020
Afterward, the fourth-ranked Russian said it was a spontaneous decision to go low.
"Here it was just in the moment," Medvedev said. "I saw him really far. I was thinking, okay, where do I go? And I felt like, okay, at this moment I don't see an obvious choice and I had the ball really close to my racquet. I'm, like, he's so far. He's going to have trouble having it."
Though Zverev did well to return the serve, Medvedev won the point and held serve to go up 5-3.
"And he had trouble," Medvedev said. "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."
US Open finalist Zverev, who has been friends with Medvedev since childhood, said it was the right play given his return position several feet behind the baseline.
"I think it was part of the tactic for him," Zverev said. "I was quite far back. It paid off. What can I say? It worked well for him."
Medvedev, who said he practices the shot a few times a week, was well aware of the danger to go underhand—if he missed it he would have faced massive pressure on the second serve.
"No, not planning it at all. I can do it sometimes, let's say, once a week, once, twice, once in two weeks on practice, just maybe a first serve to start, to laugh with my opponent or something like this," Medvedev said. "So while I knew I'm able to at least put it in, because that's the most important, if you miss your underarm serve, then you have a second serve and you will be much more tighter than if you miss a normal serve."
Photo credit: ATP Tour Facebook
Source: Tennis – Tennis Now