'100% agree': Novak Djokovic sides with Rafa Nadal on controversial tactic

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) shakes hands with Rafa Nadal (pictured right) after the Australian Open final.
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) has agreed with Rafa Nadal (pictured right) over the use of the underarm serve during play. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has sided with Rafa Nadal over a controversial tactic that has become popular at this year’s French Open, which continues to divide the tennis world.

Nadal cruised into the Third Round of the French Open with a dominant display against American Mackenzie McDonald.

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But during the match, McDonald attempted an underarm serve in an attempt to trick Nadal who was returning with aplomb.

But Nadal was quick on his feet and punished the tactic with a forehand winner.

Fans on social media were critical of the failed tactic since Nadal was so easily able to dispatch it.

Nadal has been a critic of the tactic in the past with Nick Kyrgios most famously using it against the Spaniard in Acapulco in 2019 due to his deep return stance.

Nadal appeared to be less than impressed with Kyrgios at the time.

But with the underarm serve proving a popular tactic during the French Open this year, Nadal took an honest approach when answering what he thought of the move.

“If he's winning, is a good tactic,” Nadal said.

“If he's losing, is a bad tactic. That's all. For example today for Mackenzie was not a good tactic.”

“If you do it with the goal to improve your game, or like a tactical thing, I support 100 per cent,” Nadal added.

“Everybody knows internally if you are doing in a good way or in a bad way. For me is no discussion about that. Is part of the rules, you can do it 100 per cent. Is about yourself, if you feel good doing or not. Depends.”

Djokovic agrees with Nadal on underarm serve

As the debate continued, Djokovic created tennis history during his French Open third round 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, thrashing of Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis on Thursday.

But the World No.1 was asked about the controversial underarm serve tactic and emphatically agreed with Nadal about the respect surrounding the move.

“I saw what Nadal said about it, and I agree 100% with him,” Djokovic added.

“So I don’t want to repeat his statement. If you see his statement, I agree with every word.”

The use of underarm serve could be a popular tactic at the French Open because of the players complaining the new balls are ‘heavy’ and slower under the damp conditions of Paris.

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