Andy Murray stuns Wimbledon crowd with controversial tactic

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Andy Murray (pictured left) celebrating his Wimbledon First Round win and (pictured right) Murray using an underarm serve.
Andy Murray (pictured left) surprised fans with just the second underarm serve of his career during his First Round Wimbledon match. (Images: Getty Images/BBC)

Andy Murray has surprised his opponent and the crowd after throwing in an underarm serve during his tough-fought victory against Aussie James Duckworth at Wimbledon.

Murray was made to work for his victory against the World No.74 in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 and showed no signs of the abdominal strain that hampered his preparation before Wimbledon.

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However, it was just the second underarm serve of his professional career that stunned viewers.

Murray claimed he noticed Duckworth had changed his return position and took advantage of the controversial tactic.

“He changed his return position, that’s why I did it,” Murray said post-match.

“He was struggling a little bit on the first-serve return, so he stepped probably two metres further back.

"As soon as I saw him step further back, I threw the underarm serve in.”

Many players aren't a fan of the underarm serve, which is most commonly used by Aussie Nick Kyrgios and Kazakstan Alexander Bublik.

However, Murray said he has never seen problem with the tactic.

“I personally have no issue with players using it. I never have,” he added.

“Certainly more and more players have started returning from further behind the baseline now to give themselves an advantage to return.

“No one says it’s disrespectful for someone to return from five or 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’.”

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Fair to say, many found Murray's use of the underarm serve quite 'cheeky' later in his career.

Most on Centre Court at Wimbledon applauded the tactic.

Duckworth has not won a main-draw match all year and is ranked World No.74, but he would probably be a lot higher had he not been even more blighted by injury than Murray.

The 30-year-old has undergone nine operations in his career, including hip surgery, although nothing like as severe as the procedure Murray had in order to save his career.

Duckworth’s powerful hitting had Murray rattled in the first set but the Scot, once again being coached by Ivan Lendl, took a couple of miles per hour off his serve and started hitting the mark more frequently as he levelled the match.

with AAP

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