Tennis

Kyrgios sparks talk with underarm serve again

Having annoyed Rafael Nadal with an underarm serve at Acapulco, Nick Kyrgios doubled down with the tactic to win two points against the hapless Serb Dusan Lajovic at the Miami Open and reignited a debate between fans and purists.

The mercurial Australian has been sanctioned for a litany of tennis offences, accused of tanking matches and slapped with a heavy fine for a crude remark about a player's girlfriend.

But in dinking the ball over the net with a sneaky under-arm swing, Kyrgios was operating completely within the laws of the game, if not quite the "spirit", as Nadal and others might have complained.

For a self-described lazy trainer, the 23-year-old Kyrgios has clearly put some time into honing the tactic since his effort against former world No. 1 Nadal floated well beyond the service box.

TEXTBOOK EXECUTION

The first attempt at 3-1 in the first set against unseeded Lajovic might have been regarded as textbook execution, if there existed such a consensus.

With the Serb standing well behind the baseline, Kyrgios leaned over the ball, bounced it a few times and without looking up, flicked it just over the net.

It landed with enough slice to bounce twice for an ace and seal the game, leaving Lajovic flat-footed.

More casually struck, Kyrgios' second effort lacked something in execution, allowing Lajovic to swoop in and easily make the retrieve. But the Australian was ready for the Serb's drop-shot return and flicked it past him to close out the first set.

British tennis luminary Judy Murray was among those thrilled with the tactic. She tweeted: "Kyrgios is a genius. I'm surprised more players don't do it." - REUTERS

Tennis