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mmb334
01-08-2009, 06:12 PM
I play on a USTA Ladies League team. We want to start using the Australian Doubles formation during our matches. We practice it during our drills and are pretty good at it. Is this formation o.k. to use? Thanks!!

jrod
01-08-2009, 06:16 PM
I play on a USTA Ladies League team. We want to start using the Australian Doubles formation during our matches. We practice it during our drills and are pretty good at it. Is this formation o.k. to use? Thanks!!

Of course...If it works, use it. You may want to vary your 'look' however, from standard to 'eye' to aussie. Don't want you opponents to get too comfortable....

mmb334
01-08-2009, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the quick reply! Is there anywhere I can find something on the USTA website that says it's o.k to use. I'd like to have something in writing because I have a feeling our opponents may have something to say about the formation. None of the other teams we have ever played use it. Thanks!!

Solat
01-08-2009, 06:25 PM
anyone can stand wherever they like on the court so long as they are not hindering the play

Jonny S&V
01-08-2009, 06:26 PM
Thanks for the quick reply! Is there anywhere I can find something on the USTA website that says it's o.k to use. I'd like to have something in writing because I have a feeling our opponents may have something to say about the formation. None of the other teams we have ever played use it. Thanks!!

The USTA rulebook states that a non-serving doubles partner on a serving doubles team may stand wherever he/she wishes (or something to that effect). Your partner could sit on the bench if she wanted to and you could still serve.

Mr. Forehand
01-08-2009, 07:07 PM
Sorry, this is not quite on topic but relevant to the last post...........

What about the receiving team and their standing positions? Do they have to be in any particular spot. I assume they can stand wherever they want as well.
There is a guy who always likes to stand right at the T when his partner is receiving serve. I generally like to serve it right at him when he does this to try and back him up some. If it hits him, its the servers point, correct?
Are there any rules that pertain to the receiving teams position?
Thanks.

Jonny S&V
01-08-2009, 07:12 PM
Sorry, this is not quite on topic but relevant to the last post...........

What about the receiving team and their standing positions? Do they have to be in any particular spot. I assume they can stand wherever they want as well.
There is a guy who always likes to stand right at the T when his partner is receiving serve. I generally like to serve it right at him when he does this to try and back him up some. If it hits him, its the servers point, correct?
Are there any rules that pertain to the receiving teams position?
Thanks.

Yeah, the receivers can also stand anywhere they want to (w/o hindering play of course). I can't remember if it's a let if you hit the net person or not...

JavierLW
01-08-2009, 07:52 PM
Yeah, the receivers can also stand anywhere they want to (w/o hindering play of course). I can't remember if it's a let if you hit the net person or not...

If the ball hits you, you lose the point. The only exception is if the serve hits the net and then hits the person, then it's a let.

Let's put it this way, except for the server (who is bounded by the foot fault rules), anyone can stand anywhere they want as long as it's not done in a manner that constitutes hindrance.

And to the OP's question, if you should encounter an opponent who thinks that the Austrailian formation is not legal, then count yourself LUCKY!! Because it's likely they dont know anything about it and wont know what to do.

I find the only real good purpose of it at the lower levels is if your opponents are getting a groove with the cross court return, you're pretty much just solving that by placing your partner right in the way and forcing them to try to return down the line.

You partner can still poach and get in the way and put balls away as well (and it might be even easier).

The I formation is sort of more devious, it's purpose is so the returner doesnt even know which direction to return it to in order to avoid the net player.

I think it's harder to pull off though, sometimes net players dont cover a ton of ground at the net especially if they have to squat down. And sometimes the server tips off the returner by leaving early. (I always watch where the server is going and ignore the net player, or hit it right down the center as both players run away from it)

You should use the Australian, just depending on how good your opponents are doing, dont do it on every single point. Ive been in matches against some strong player/weak player combinations where we only did it against the weaker returner. (so the net player was on the same side for the entire game)

Nellie
01-08-2009, 09:47 PM
Austrailian is great for forcing the opponent to return down the line, since your partner is guarding the cross court return. You can use the formation to create advantageous rallies. For example, if you have a bad backhand, you can (if you are a righty) go to Australian on the ad side to force a forehand to backhand exhange.

catfish
01-09-2009, 09:24 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! Is there anywhere I can find something on the USTA website that says it's o.k to use. I'd like to have something in writing because I have a feeling our opponents may have something to say about the formation. None of the other teams we have ever played use it. Thanks!!

Of course you can use Australian formation in USTA league matches. If an opposing team tells you that you can't (i.e. it's against the rules), put the burden of proof on them. Ask them to show you in writing that you can't use that formation. Also, I suggest that you buy a copy of the Friend at the Court from the USTA. The FATC covers the rules of tennis, which apply to USTA league matches. You can also download an electronic copy from the USTA National Website. The link below is for the 2008 FATC.

http://www.usta.com/sitecore/content/USTA/Global/Archive/Custom%20Pages/Officials/20698_2008_Friend_At_Court.aspx

JavierLW
01-09-2009, 10:04 AM
For example, if you have a bad backhand, you can (if you are a righty) go to Australian on the ad side to force a forehand to backhand exhange.

That's actually interesting.

Ive used sort of a similar concept when Im faced with one opponent who is very strong and one who is a rather weak player.

If we play Aussie against the weaker player it seems to set up a situation where we can isolate the stronger player and just pick on the weaker player.

That seems harder to do in the regular formation because you are forced to hit your second shot (the one after the serve) cross court where the ball passes right in front of them.

woodrow1029
01-09-2009, 10:07 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! Is there anywhere I can find something on the USTA website that says it's o.k to use. I'd like to have something in writing because I have a feeling our opponents may have something to say about the formation. None of the other teams we have ever played use it. Thanks!!
Just so you know exactly where it is, Rule 26, case 5 on page 23 of FAC.

Case 5: In doubles, where are the server’s partner and receiver’s partner
allowed to stand?
Decision: The server’s partner and the receiver’s partner may take any position
on their own side of the net, inside or outside the court. However, if a player
is creating a hindrance to the opponent(s), the hindrance rule should be used.

That covers server's partner and receiver's partner.

mmb334
01-09-2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks everyone for the info - I can't wait to play our next match using Australian!!

NetMaster70
01-11-2009, 08:16 AM
I find the Australian formation is a great change of pace which gives your opponents something additional to think about. Also it forces them change the direction/angle of their returns. I dont use it constantly but just as a way to change things up.

When I am serving to the Ad side with the Austrilian formation I can stand very close to the center mark and that makes it easy for me to serve down the T. That can be effective against a lefty with a weak backhand or a righty that has a weak forehand.

Use the Aussie formation in practice with your favorite partner so that you are comfortable switching to it in a real league match.

AndrewD
01-11-2009, 03:15 PM
1) The Australian is a great tactic if you are either being burned by your opponent's cross-court returns OR if you know in advance that they have a great cross-court return/are incapable of hitting down the line. HOWEVER, if you're winning your games and points with the regular formation, switching to Australian as a 'surprise tactic' is a waste of time. Unless you know that they can't hit down the line you're giving them a gift (especially true of club level players who tend to hit late - if you hit late it's easier to go down the line). If you can hit a serve that is impossible for your opponent to hit safely down the line you might as well have stayed in the Standard formation.

2) The Australian requires greater mobility, of the serving team, than most club players are capable of. The Standard formation doesn't. It's much easier for the server's partner to stand closer towards the centre if you want to take advantage of your opponent's cross-court return.

3) Instead of using the Australian formation, serve better and smarter.

I'd take a rough guess that, with players below a strong 4.5, if the Australian works it's because the opponents are rubbish, not because the tactic itself is working.

harleywilson
01-12-2009, 04:37 AM
I disagree that the Aust formation is rubbish. I'm a lefty with a good flat first serve that has some natural slice on it. I like to go Aust on the duece side. I try to hit a hard serve down the T and it forces a righthander to hit a backhand. I haven't seen many opponents who can hit a backhand down the line with enough pace to hurt me. If they try to hit that back hand down the line it is a very low percentage shot. If they hit it cross court my partner should be in good position to finish with a volley. You can't do it all the time but it is a good strategy to try.

spot
01-12-2009, 01:07 PM
I maintain that for most people giving second serves to the Ad court the Australian formation is FAR superior to the normal setup. The point of the normal set up is that the netplayer is the to put away any weak returns. BUt if you aren't getting any weak returns (and most people don't get them on second serves) then by going australian there are a whole ton of benefits.

You take away the high percentage cross court return people are used to using.
They have to hit over the higher part of the net
They have to hit to the shorter part of the court
They don't have any angle to work with
The return goes back to the server's forehand
The net player can poach on the forehand side.

For anyone whos serve doesn't generate weak sitters for their partner to easily put away at the net I really think that Australian is by far the better formation. The only downside is that people just aren't as used to doing it, but if people would just accept its the higher percentage play then they would use it far more often and that would go out the window.

LuckyR
01-15-2009, 02:01 PM
I maintain that for most people giving second serves to the Ad court the Australian formation is FAR superior to the normal setup. The point of the normal set up is that the netplayer is the to put away any weak returns. BUt if you aren't getting any weak returns (and most people don't get them on second serves) then by going australian there are a whole ton of benefits.

You take away the high percentage cross court return people are used to using.
They have to hit over the higher part of the net
They have to hit to the shorter part of the court
They don't have any angle to work with
The return goes back to the server's forehand
The net player can poach on the forehand side.

For anyone whos serve doesn't generate weak sitters for their partner to easily put away at the net I really think that Australian is by far the better formation. The only downside is that people just aren't as used to doing it, but if people would just accept its the higher percentage play then they would use it far more often and that would go out the window.

I agree with your observations but you are leaving out a very large caveat: namely that the server has the wheels to cover the alley, since FH returns will be tailing away from the server not towards them.

spot
01-15-2009, 02:12 PM
There is less court to cover in australian because you totally take the angle away. Thats a benefit- not a caveat. The returner pretty much has to come right back at the server. . If they can't cover the alley in Australian I don't thnk they have any chance in hell of covering the alley on the backhand side on an angled crosscourt return.

The caveat is that the server has to serve from the T and has to be comfortable sliding over immediately instead of watching and waiting like they are used to. particularly for women who don't have great court positioning the first few times they run it they won't remember to immediately slide over and will get caught just standing and watching. But this only lasts a couple times

AndrewD
01-15-2009, 02:57 PM
I disagree that the Aust formation is rubbish.

So do I, but that isn't what I said - is it.

Again, if you're playing 4.5+ (guys who actually know how to play doubles - that means they come in behind both first and second serves) the Australian isn't the best method to use. If it was the pros would have been using it as their standard pattern for the past hundred years.

***Note: If anyone is talking about doubles where the server doesn't follow both first and second serve into the net (ie: poor quality women's doubles) then they've got more to worry about that what formation they're using.***

JavierLW
01-15-2009, 03:44 PM
***Note: If anyone is talking about doubles where the server doesn't follow both first and second serve into the net (ie: poor quality women's doubles) then they've got more to worry about that what formation they're using.***

Not if they are playing other teams that do the same thing. (ie... what is commonplace in a lot of 3.0 doubles and a lot of 3.5)

spot
01-15-2009, 05:20 PM
The advice given to 4.5+ players is absolute crap for 90% of players out there. God do I love facing people who S&V on every serve when they don't have a strong overhead or have a 2nd serve I can tee off on.

JavierLW
01-15-2009, 07:31 PM
The advice given to 4.5+ players is absolute crap for 90% of players out there. God do I love facing people who S&V on every serve when they don't have a strong overhead or have a 2nd serve I can tee off on.

Well I think speaking in general he's still right though. Ideally if your partner is helping you out at the net and you actually CAN serve and volley given that you only have to cover a smaller area.

But that's ideally. Serving and volleying is a skill just like any other, so in the moment I think it's hard to tell everyone about how they need to get to the net off their serve. Sometimes they really cant. (and sometimes they cant because their partner isnt doing a whole lot at the net and now they have too much ground to cover)

But he's right, if you dont get to the net off your serve, your opponent if he's smart, can return and come to the net and now you have two people at the net to worry about.

People assume that they can sit back there all day long and "wait for a short ball", but the problem is even at 3.0, you're pretty much forced to hit the ball right at your opponent and he's pretty much forced to hit it right back to you.

So the ball goes back and forth several times until one of you screw up, or one of the net players gets some courage and trys to pick a ball off. (and that's if you are lucky enough that your opponent didnt come into the net)

But not everyone at every level does that so I just disagreed with the sentiment that they "have much bigger problems to deal with".

If their goal is just to win the match tommorow, mixing it up can work.

Heck if you were going to play the standard position and your partner is just standing around at the net not doing much and you're pinned to the baseline, you might as well change it up some, do something!

If they are going to be up against 4.5 players well yes obviously the formation is the least of their problems. But not going to the net is the least of their problems as well in that case as well. :-) If they dont have the 20 minutes to spare to play the match out, that's the real problem at that point.

AndrewD
01-16-2009, 12:04 AM
The advice given to 4.5+ players is absolute crap for 90% of players out there. God do I love facing people who S&V on every serve when they don't have a strong overhead or have a 2nd serve I can tee off on.

If someone hasn't got a strong second serve and overhead they AREN'T 4.5+

spot
01-16-2009, 05:42 AM
90% of players aren't 4.5+. thats the point. And people read advice given to those players and take it as gospel for their own game and its ridiculous.

And Javier- I couldn't disagree any more with you. If you have a poor second serve then you are on defense whether you like it or not. The WORST thing you can do when you are on defense is to repeatedly charge the net. If the opponent takes the net because you stay back thats their right because they have control of the point because of your poor second serve. Top players can S&V on both first and second serves because they have quality serves that will generate weak replies and quality overheads where lobbing is a very dangerous proposition. If you don't possess those skills then I think its absolutely terrible advice to tell people to take the net no matter the situation. Trying to take the net off of a poor second serve is probably worse to me than trying to take the net off of a poor groundstroke you leave short. At least with the groundstroke the other team wouldn't know an attackable ball was coming before it happened.

JavierLW
01-16-2009, 12:39 PM
90% of players aren't 4.5+. thats the point. And people read advice given to those players and take it as gospel for their own game and its ridiculous.

And Javier- I couldn't disagree any more with you. If you have a poor second serve then you are on defense whether you like it or not. The WORST thing you can do when you are on defense is to repeatedly charge the net. If the opponent takes the net because you stay back thats their right because they have control of the point because of your poor second serve. Top players can S&V on both first and second serves because they have quality serves that will generate weak replies and quality overheads where lobbing is a very dangerous proposition. If you don't possess those skills then I think its absolutely terrible advice to tell people to take the net no matter the situation. Trying to take the net off of a poor second serve is probably worse to me than trying to take the net off of a poor groundstroke you leave short. At least with the groundstroke the other team wouldn't know an attackable ball was coming before it happened.

You mis-read what I said (or I didnt state it good enough).

What Im saying is that if your serve and volley skills are good enough and your partner helps you out by taking enough court then you may still get away with serving and volleying.

But you cant tell everyone to do that because it's likely that if they took the time to do all that ,they could of had time better spent on working on their serve. (because I believe you will only be pounding the "weak" second serves, and not everyone has a second serve that is that easy to return)

It all depends on who you are playing as well. If you are playing a bunch of pushers, sometimes I can serve and run clear all the way to the net without stopping before the ball even gets to me.

If it's players who are trying to just drill the ball as hard as they want, and it's 3.0 then you shouldnt necessarily be all that worried either, you just have to get your racquet on it and you can send it back.

It's when they actually have good strokes and they are consistant at it when it's an issue. Just because a serve is slow doesnt mean everyone is going to hurt you with it. (3.0/3.5 players sometimes have more trouble with those then they do with hard shots because they dont have any pace to work with)

So anyway I agree with your sentiment that it's dumb to make anyone blindly go up there for no reason, but I dont think you can say that anyone that's going up on both serves is necessary "stupid" or dumb.

Maybe it's dumb for them to do it against you if you are good enough to punish them for it, but that's not the case with everyone. (especially if you are talking about your "90% of all players")

LuckyR
01-16-2009, 02:45 PM
There is less court to cover in australian because you totally take the angle away. Thats a benefit- not a caveat. The returner pretty much has to come right back at the server. . If they can't cover the alley in Australian I don't thnk they have any chance in hell of covering the alley on the backhand side on an angled crosscourt return.

The caveat is that the server has to serve from the T and has to be comfortable sliding over immediately instead of watching and waiting like they are used to. particularly for women who don't have great court positioning the first few times they run it they won't remember to immediately slide over and will get caught just standing and watching. But this only lasts a couple times

Apples and oranges. If your tried and true ad court serve is out wide and the returner is punishing you with these CC returns then one option is to continue to serve out wide and use the Australian (where the return will be tailing towards you instead of away). However, by serving up the T (which many would say is where you should have been serving in the first place), this would take away both the severe CC BH and the inside out FH.

On the other hand, if you were already serving up the T but the ad court player was just so superior that he was hurting you with his returns, then the Australian is what I would move to next. This is the scenario I was refering to in my previous post, because if you are serving up the T in the Australian, then the CC FH into the server's alley will be tailing away from him, so foot speed is important even with a "smaller" court.