Doubles: The I formation

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Burt Turkoglu, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Burt Turkoglu

    Burt Turkoglu Rookie

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    Playing against a team in the USTA city final that has great low returns....and, one of them, poaches well off the return....the only return weakness I can see is that neither can lob off of the return. I intend to play the I-formation against them and get as close to net as possible to be able to hit down and angle....this is a 4.5 match.....can anyone give their experiences using this formation or playing against it....also looking for any advice using the I.....thanks in advance.....

    BT
     
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  2. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I hope you and your partner are good poachers because you're gonna leave a lot of space to get passed on. I say go for it if you're both speedy, but if your footwork isn't great, I'd explore other options too.
     
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  3. Morpheus

    Morpheus Professional

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    My college partner and I played "Aussie" style as it was called back in the early 80s. You have to be good servers and use hand signals. Get right in the middle of the court and get really low.

    It worked really well for us.
     
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  4. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    My partner and I did it a few times this past season when we were having trouble on our (my - he didn't have as good of a serve) service games with rather good success. We usually talked and decided which way to go before we got into position. My partner was the one at net and he stayed low and I hit a nice high topspin first serve to give plenty of time and clearance. One thing that worked well was to have my partner go left, that means if he gets a poach it will probably be a backhand volley which is generally easier to hit aggressively, and I would get a forehand shot if they went right. This seems to be a good combo. I don't suggest using it a whole lot, but just for something different or if you are down 0-15 or 0-30 on your serve game.
     
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  5. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

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    i got hit w/ a serve b/c i didn't get low enough one time. but otherwise than that one time, it worked really well.
     
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  6. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    If you get hit with a serve in the I formation, it is more your serving partners fault than your own. There is no reason they should not be able to A: hit it high enough and B: direct it away from you. Now if you were standing straight up, then I can see how it may be your fault.
     
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  7. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I prefer either starting in Australian or normal position and then either switching after the serve goes by or you can easily get hit with the serve unless you crouch down. If the returners can't lob then the I is a good formation especially if you and your partner have speed to burn. I would hit my returns back up the line since that is where you are vulnerable. I would also move my returning partner to the baseline to defend against aggressive attacking and then throw up many lobs and passes down the lines. Again I prefer starting in Australian formation with the server standing at the center serving T, since I volley better when stationary than when on the move. Good luck. I love it when people try new strategies. I hate cookie cutter tennis!
     
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  8. aahala

    aahala New User

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    I take it the I formation is where the net man bends way down and starts at the center line with his partner serving near the center as well.

    You see it at the highest level. IMO, it's the most stupid thing in tennis. How smart does the returner have to be to realize he should aim the return at the singles sideline, up the line or crosscourt? If you "under" hit a couple of feet, it's still a difficult get however the opponents move and if you hit wide 4 feet it's a clear winner.

    When I first started playing a lot of doubles, my partner and I would sometimes setup and move in really proposterous ways. Against weak or inexperienced players it could be quite effective. Against others, after about two such points, they would ignore our backyard, grade school tactics and we would lose even faster than playing normally.
     
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  9. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    The goal is that if they go to the side that the net man is going, he will be close and fast enough to be able to cut off the angle and get an easy poach. If they go the other way, the server will have plenty of time to run along the baseline to get to the ball. If they can consistantly hit winners off of the return, then they deserve to win anyway.
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    You can also hit hard and up the middle since the poacher is usually moving away from the center to cover an alley. I don't like the I myself, but it does put the other team on the defensive not knowing where the netperson will be. But good lobbing or nice passing shots down the line will always beat the I.
     
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