Australia

‘It’s a smart play’: Murray defends using underarm serve in win over Alcaraz

British tennis player Andy Murray has debuted the underarm serve in his second-round match against Spanish teenager, Carlos Alcaraz, at Indian Wells.

The former world number one pulled the underarm serve at 1-1 in the second set for an ace on his way to a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory against the 18-year-old.

“I’ve never done it on the tour before,” Murray said defending himself after catching Alcaraz off guard.

“The courts are so slow. Look, since Wimbledon, obviously made some improvements to my serve and was getting lots of free points, serving a lot of aces in the matches I played recently.

“And, yeah, obviously played for three hours today. I served three aces in a long match, one of them being the underarm serve.”

Andy Murray’s win over Carlos Alcaraz progresses the former world number one into the third round at Indian Wells for the ninth time.(Getty: TPN)

As the match went on Alcaraz began returning from further back each serve which invited Murray to try something different. 

“He started returning from further back, so it was even harder to get free points on the serve,” Murray said.

“Wasn’t expecting obviously to get an ace out of it. But he was so far back, he didn’t obviously react.

“I was thinking about using it at times in the third set, but obviously up in the score, was doing a little bit better, didn’t feel like I needed to. 

“Certainly when guys are standing there to return serve now, it’s a smart play.”

Murray will next face Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev in the third round at Indian Wells.

AP


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