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C_Smith
09-19-2005, 07:09 PM
Saturday is my first double clay tournament, and i need some help on strategy. Espically serving ideas.

Should I serve and volley? (I have a strong serve and a good volley so skill isn't the question)

Obviously i will vary my serving but is there something i should hit often? (Slice, High Kick to right, or hard flat)

Up the middle or out wide?

any other stragies will be appreciated, im more of a singles guy

Burt Turkoglu
09-19-2005, 10:15 PM
I'd start out hitting flat right at 'em.....see how they handle it. Try some kicks.....see how they handle that.....save a few slices for later on.....slices don't work particularly well on clay....they just kinda hang there waiting to be creamed but once they get used to looking for the hard stuff, they may rush their return attempt.....mix it up.....have your netman poach some....some from different locations on the baseline.....if they are killing your serve with good returns, try the "I" formation or Australian formation....I have turned matches around doing this.....

nickybol
09-19-2005, 10:20 PM
Kickserve works well on clay. Maybe try not to serve and volley, but approach the net after your second shot.

tennis-n-sc
09-20-2005, 04:57 AM
The old strategey is to take the net with a serve and volley. And most players still use this plan and most pros still teach it. I have noticed a somewhat new approach, the old one up and one back. The Chinese women use this exclusively, and successfully, in the summer olympics. Some of the guys as well. As has been suggested, I think it always helps to mix it up with serves, pace and volleys.

GregOz
09-20-2005, 05:06 AM
C_Smith,
First problem is that you're thinking as an individual. Doubles is a team game so you need to lose the individual mentality and think as a team.

1)The best serve you can do is at about 85 percent speed and positioned in a way that sets up your partner for an intercept, an easy volley or smash. Concentrate on making your first serve. That means ditching the big flat one completely. If you're going to use it, save it up as a surprise tactic.

3)If you're going to serve at the body of the receiver dont do what Burt suggests and hit it flat. That lowers your margin for error and is easily adjusted to (again, surprise tactic only). Hit the ball with spin so that it moves in to the receiver's body.

4) Aim for good depth on your serve - again important for your partner's chances of getting an easy volley.

5) What serve you use will depend on your opponents. Keep the choices simple. Tall guy - dont give him room. Short guy -expose the lack of reach. Double handed backhand - go very wide or cramp him up. Extreme grips- try some slice and make them hit up.

All up, your job when serving in doubles is to set up your partner for the put-away. You are not there to serve aces. You most definately are not there to hit second serves -get the first one in. Make every decision in consultation with your partner ( I only suggest this as you dont play a lot of doubles). Let him know what you're going to do so he'll be prepared.

Good luck

Rickson
09-20-2005, 06:15 AM
Serve and volley on any surface when you're playing doubles. You should expect more balls to come back on clay because of the slow surface.

tennis-n-sc
09-20-2005, 06:16 AM
Greg, great post in a few words.

Geezer Guy
09-20-2005, 08:18 AM
C_Smith - Listen to GregOz. Good advice on serving.

When receiving, hit TONS of returns cross-court. If you play a lot of singles, you may be used to returning down-the-line (at least I am). In doubles, you need to return CC most often to keep the ball away from the netman. However, you need to go DTL often enough to keep the net man honest. And, if the netman is really active, a few timely lobs into the corner can take him out of the action.

You might check out OperationDoubles.com between now and Saturday, and if possible play a few practice matches with your partner.

Rickson
09-20-2005, 08:46 AM
C_Smith - Listen to GregOz. Good advice on serving.

When receiving, hit TONS of returns cross-court. If you play a lot of singles, you may be used to returning down-the-line (at least I am). In doubles, you need to return CC most often to keep the ball away from the netman. However, you need to go DTL often enough to keep the net man honest. And, if the netman is really active, a few timely lobs into the corner can take him out of the action.


Good info, GG. Another good return of serve on weak serves is DTL in the doubles alley because of the wider lane, and the server will be totally out of position on a return that wide. I agree that cross court is the best return most of the time, but if the net person poaches the middle, the doubles alley is a terrific return.

Geezer Guy
09-20-2005, 01:05 PM
Good info, GG. Another good return of serve on weak serves is DTL in the doubles alley because of the wider lane, and the server will be totally out of position on a return that wide. I agree that cross court is the best return most of the time, but if the net person poaches the middle, the doubles alley is a terrific return.

Yes, good point. I like to watch for times when the net player has his strong hand on the inside. For instance, I'm returning serve on the duece side and the netman is righthanded, or I'm returning serve on the ad side and the netman is lefthanded. In those cases I go up the line a LOT, especially on a wide serve. Hit the return HARD (don't float it) and the netman will have a tough backhand volley that he'll likely net IF he get's a racquet on it at all. Aim for the center of the alley.

matchpoint
09-20-2005, 01:22 PM
Saturday is my first double clay tournament, and i need some help on strategy. Espically serving ideas.

Should I serve and volley? (I have a strong serve and a good volley so skill isn't the question)

Obviously i will vary my serving but is there something i should hit often? (Slice, High Kick to right, or hard flat)

Up the middle or out wide?

any other stragies will be appreciated, im more of a singles guy

The best strategy for you to do is to discuss and practice with your partner. Whatever you and your partner agree on doing is what you should do. You communicate your plan every after point.

I can't tell you to serve in the middle or serve out wide when your partner doesn't know about your intentions. I can't tell you to serve and volley if your partner choose to be in the baseline.

Sure you should vary your serves, serve out wide or in the middle but make sure your partner know what you're doing so he can cover the court properly, he should let you know his intentions too.

There's one thing I can tell you tough, when the ball is in the middle either you or your partner should call if you're taking it.

volleyman
09-21-2005, 10:46 AM
To repeat: talk with your partner before every serve - the net man needs to know where the serve is going/supposed to go so he can position themselves properly. IIt also helps the net man tremendously to knwo if you are coming in our staying back.

As for serving, as a general rule, I prefer to serve down the middle because it allows the net man to be much more aggressive. However, you do need to mix it up some so you can probe for weak points in your opponent's return games and keep them honest.

One important thing to do in doubles is to pay attention to what is happening when your partner serves. You have an opportunity here that you don't get in singles - the chance to watch the returner closely. You can use that information to help both you and your partner hit more effective serves, which can make all the difference.

For example, my partner and I pulled out a doubles match in three sets in large part because I noticed the ad court returner had a crushing backhand return, but a weak slice forehand return. We started serving to his forehand, which produced more errors from him and more put aways for us, and the tide of the match turned.

C_Smith
09-21-2005, 03:01 PM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. I am on the number 1 doubles team at my school, but I havn't played much doubles at all this summer, and I have never played on clay so this was a good refresher.

Burt Turkoglu
09-23-2005, 04:59 AM
3)If you're going to serve at the body of the receiver dont do what Burt suggests and hit it flat. That lowers your margin for error and is easily adjusted to (again, surprise tactic only). Hit the ball with spin so that it moves in to the receiver's body. My bad....I should have been more specific.....flat (with minimal spin) at 80% pace right at the guy so that he has little time to get out of the way.....a slider into the body can work well since it is moving fairly quick and can jam but a slower spin serve at the body is easy to defend by simply moving forward and out of the way.....however, if the returner doesn't move his feet, that is a good serve to mix in as well...