Playing doubles is completely different than singles tennis, obviously technically the shots technique remain the same but the tactics and learning to play with a partner is totally different. For instance you might normally prefer to hit the “T” when serving in singles, but opt to serve out wide on doubles so the return will give an opportunity for your partner to poach.
There are some common problems that arise in doubles play and in this blog we hope to address them.
Which Side Should You Play
So how do you decide who plays on the deuce side and who plays on the advantage? Basically this goes down to who is more comfortable returning the serve, really nothing else is important as if you cannot get the ball back then the point is lost.
At club level most services are aimed at the outside of service boxes, whereas the pro’s tend to aim for the “T”. So if this is the case with two right handed players, the one with the stronger forehand to return from the deuce side of the court and the better backhanded player takes the advantage side.
It does not really matter as you can change after a set, but you may be a set down.
Who Serves First
The strongest server always goes first, as a powerful serve can either score an ace or force a weak reply. You partner can then be ready to try and poach the poor return for a winner.
But if both partners have equal serves then choose the positions by who is more active at the net and has more shot selection.
Which Player Takes The Middle
This is pretty straightforward, when you are both at the net you should both be moving anticipating where the ball may be played. So if the ball goes to the opponents deuce side you both should be moving left. Whoever is playing the forehand court normally covers the middle.
Perhaps there is an exception if the ball is high and slow, then the partner can poach it. Communication is key here, your partner must claim the ball with a shout so you do not clash.
Who Covers Lobs
To play at the net effectively a decision must be taken who takes the high shots. If the lob is too high for the appointed player to hit, then both of you should move backwards in unison. The opposition will test this out early on in the match to find a flaw.
Normally the player with the shortest distance will run towards the ball, the perfect shot would be an overhead, but if that is not possible because of time, hit a volley in the air and move back.
If the lob is too deep to do this then play defensively and hoist up a lob yourself so you both have time to reposition.
Playing with a regular partner can definitely be an advantage, but whilst you are learning to play doubles it is good advice to play with as many partners as you can. This way you will learn different strategies to face different problems. So book a court at your local club and enjoy your doubles play.