Back in 1989, Michael Chang was attempting to do something completely unlikely at the French Open; he was trying to beat the great Ivan Lendl on clay to win his first ever Grand Slam.
Chang was a 17-year-old kid without much fanfare while Lendl was ranked No. 1 in the world, coming in with three French Open titles on his resume already and looking for a fourth. The match went the distance, but cramps started hampering Chang, who decided to use a different tactic to get in the head of Lendl.
He decided to hit a serve underhanded. Down 15-30 on his own serve in the eighth game of the fifth set, Chang went with the strange service approach and it paid off. Lendl never won another game.
That wasn't exactly the approach we've seen in the first week of the U.S. Open, but it has brought back memories of that incredibly Chang moment on clay.
During Jerzy Janowicz's surprising first round exit, the 14th ranked player in the world went underhanded, but for a different reason. The Wimbledon semifinalist decided to take the unusual approach because of an injury that was the main reason he was beaten in straight sets by a guy ranked 247 in the world.
Wednesday night's underhanded serve by Michael Llordra was for another reason.
The always entertaining Llodra was facing the defending champion in his first round match, an uphill climb if there ever was one, and while he knew the match was all but Andy Murray's, he decided to have a little fun and try to hit the underhanded serve to throw Murray off.
It worked in the sense of surprise, but Murray was still able to run it down, hit a couple of incredible defensive shots and eventually win the point, but I guess this marks the return of the underhand serve as we know it.
- Sports & Recreation
- Michael Chang
- Ivan Lendl
- French Open