(Reuters) – Badminton’s world governing body (BWF) has approved an interim ban on the new ‘spin serve’ at all its international tournaments until further consultation at their annual general meeting later this month, it said on Friday.
The amendment to the laws of the sport now states that the server should release the shuttle “without adding spin” as the BWF looks to improve rallies after the spin serve proved to be tough to return or completely unplayable.
The serve was first tried at the Polish Open in March. The ban will be in place for tournaments such as the BWF Sudirman Cup Finals which begin on Sunday in China and the Malaysia Masters the following week.
“BWF welcomes players creating innovation in our game and experimenting with techniques to create competitive advantage on court,” its president Poul-Erik Hoyer said in a statement.
“However, we have received several points of feedback from within the badminton community, including the BWF Athletes’ Commission, expressing that this ‘spin serve’ could have a negative impact on the game.
“An expert panel, therefore, recommended to disallow the ‘spin serve’ until further consultation could take place with the membership at the upcoming BWF AGM on 27 May 2023.”
Any attempt at using the spin serve will now be deemed a fault.
Hoyer said the spin serve was similar to the ‘Sidek serve’ which was banned after the technique — which involved slicing the shuttle across its feathers — created an uproar in the early 1980s.
“BWF also wanted to avoid a scenario where the upcoming BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023 and other international tournaments could be platforms to test the new ‘spin serve’ and ultimately disrupt the competitions,” Hoyer added.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)