Is doubles more about hitting winners compared to singles?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Zachol82, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,267
    Every time I play doubles or watch a doubles match, it seems like every shot is hit with the intention of ending the point. Does anyone else experience the same thing?
     
    #1
  2. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Location:
    Not Fantasy Land
    In singles, you have to construct points to hit winners or force errors. In doubles, points are usually shorter, and in order to hit win the points your shots HAVE to be putaways, since there are two guys covering the opposing court. But no, not every shot has the intention of ending the point.
     
    #2
  3. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,912
    makes sense because you have more court to work with. Also if you don't hit hard/angles you will get punished by the netman.
     
    #3
  4. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,267
    I didn't mean "every shot" literally but yes, I see what you're saying. So in a sense, are doubles players more comfortable with hitting winners since they have to put the ball away so much more often than singles players?
     
    #4
  5. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    957
    A hard shot usually elicits a weak response, and sets up the net guy to finish. I tend to hit harder in doubles than in singles for that reason.
     
    #5
  6. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,253
    Doubles is hard to play. I think your winners have to be so much more precise just because there's less of an open court. Also, each players is half a court closer to whatever winner you want to hit.

    Whereas in singles, if you can construct a point well enough, your winners don't have to be that precise, because you have an open court to hit to. For example, if I'm able to serve out wide on the deuce court, I can probably hit the next shot in the middle of the ad side service box and it'll still be a winner. That's impossible in doubles.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
    #6
  7. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,178
    Location:
    DE
    For me my improvement in doubles came from learning that every shot did NOT have to be a winner. However, every shot needs to be hit with a specific purpose.

    In singles guys often hit rally balls far from the lines waiting for their opponent to give up a short ball. Do that in doubles and your opponent will crash the middle and drive the ball down your partners throat.

    When I was really bad in doubles I would try and finish every point ... and that is just a recipe for disaster.


    Now that I am not as bad in doubles I have learned that in doubles you need have a spot and hit it ... whether it is wide or hard middle or low in the middle or lobbed over a tight net man ... but whatever you do ... do not hit it softly cross court and do not try and rip the ball down the line on every serve return.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
    #7
  8. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,267
    Yea, I feel a lot more pressured whenever I play doubles because of the reasons you've stated. I can't just close my eyes, smash the ball and hope for a weak response. Every ball has to be doing something and you're always pressured not to make a single mistake because you're not only affecting yourself but your partner as well.
     
    #8
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Nature of NET PLAY.....shortening points with forcing shots leading to winners.
    Nature of backcourt play....lengthening points so attrition comes to play.
    Now you can vary each by a bit, but that's the basic tenet.
    Put 4 backcourters behind their baselines in doubles and what do you have?
     
    #9
  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,899
    Yes, because of the man at the net, returns and passes have to be hit into smaller areas. Volleys tend to take time away from the opponent and cause winners.

    You can't float a defensive shot down the middle to the opponent at the baseline because there's a mad poacher looking to smack that ball down into the court and over the back fence.

    The most difficult shot in doubles is usually the service return because there's already an opponent at the net looking to jump on any weakness.
     
    #10
  11. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,971
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Boy! your wide open serve must be really good or/and you groundstrokes are laser beam fast! The only way I can do this if the reply is down the line so I can have an angle to work with.

    About the OP, I would not say winners but definitely being more agressive, there is nothing worst than hitting a sitter when you have the time and position to be aggressive and then having your partner paying the price of your lack of confidence :mad:, wait, there is something worst, not putting away a sitter or an over head when your are at the net and making your partner serve more, harder and riskier than required ... and play crosscourt for tennis's sake!
     
    #11
  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,266
    I don't know.

    It seems like at my low levels, 4.5 and below, it is so erratic that it's impossible to boil down a winning strategy EXCEPT the do-not-make-mistakes strategy. Even that isn't a clear cut since once in a while some solid players would just hit enough solid shots and force errors on you. So, again, anything goes.

    (This is from my own experience of having more or less consistent wins when teamming up with a solid baseline player or a shotmaker or a virtually pure net player. One thing that always stays true is...don't make mistakes or hit too stupid shots :))
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    "do not make mistakes" has won many a player championship trophies, so it would not be a horrible advice to partake.....
    Now that's talking including 7.0 level play, so it applies right down to us lower level creatures, in my case, about half that.
     
    #13
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,092
    The toughest thing about playing with a singles player as partner is how they will just hit any old bailout shot when in trouble. No pace, no placement.

    Man, I hate that.
     
    #14
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Well, when they're performing the BorisBecker full on dive to just reach the ball, you can't hope for a dipping CC passing shot. Even the top pros have moments of desperation gets, just hope the lob is high enough to clear the netperson's racket. If not, turn you back and vow to get them next time.
     
    #15
  16. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    317
    What you watch on TV is such a high level of doubles Bryant/Paes etc. that to replicate that at below 6.0 is hardly possible. For us mere mortals, winners and putaways are a must but the question to ask is how to construct points that gives you the point ending shot and how do take away your opponents "A" game.

    More winners - yes. But how you get there can be as much a chess match as singles.
     
    #16
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Doubles IS a chess match, more complicated than singles.
    You have two different philosophies to impose. Your opponent's have two different answers for your imposition.
    Strengths and weakness being different for everyone, the possibilities are endless.
     
    #17
  18. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,899
    I hit more winners in doubles than in singles because I'm at the net more and I poach. If I get my racket on a ball while poaching, most times it will be a winner.

    I don't hit as many clean winners in singles because I'm not at the net as much and it is harder to hit a clean winner from the baseline. In singles play, unforced errors are much more common for me than clean winners, which really isn't surprising given that I'm not a pro.
     
    #18
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Post #9 agrees with you.....:)
     
    #19
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    Yes, Dubs should be far more aggressive than singles in most ways.

    Exceptions would be like hitting kick serves to the body for a first serve is not quite as aggressive as 115mph out wide, but it plays into getting a high % look
    for your net man.

    Another exception would be dumping a low skidding slice down the middle is not as hyper aggressive as ripping a huge TS Fh to the corner, but it gives the dubs team a chance to take the net and get a quality look when the opponents have to lift that skidder to get it up and over the net.

    Probably more lobbing in dubs to get guys off the net and take it yourself, which would be considered a very un-aggressive play, but critical in dubs.
     
    #20
  21. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,879
    Location:
    states
    doubles is about getting to the net.
     
    #21
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Only if they have a modicum of volleying skills and inclination.
    I've watched a 7.0 women's doubles match when all 4 stayed back, and only one would occasionally venture forwards, if a deep lob forced the netperson back. Well, OK, maybe a 6.5 doubles match.
    And believe it, either team would beat any 4.5 men's team.
     
    #22
  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    For an aggressive player I would say it a bit different.

    Nature of BL play...safe aggression, to draw attack opportunities and force errors, but without giving up to much open court

    Nature of Doubles... urgent aggression, to avoid giving up a position advantage of letting them get established at net.
     
    #23
  24. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,879
    Location:
    states
    yeah perhaps for one point not the whole match.

    doesn't have really anything to do with what I said though.
     
    #24
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,229
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Question of semantics. You can sugar coat the truth any way you want, as can I.
    To Rdis... nope, the whole match. None of the 4 EasternEuros had any inclination to stay anywhere near the service line, much less inside of it.
    3rd round, WTA at Oakland, around 1995. Points usually took 10 exchanges to finally, thankfully, end.
     
    #25
  26. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,879
    Location:
    states
    that is not normal then. It does not matter if you are a pro or a 3.0 in doubles one should get to net. Clearly you should not just bum rush it, but who ever gets both players up at net is at a strategic advantage.
     
    #26
  27. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,253
    Meh, they're ok. But you know what I mean right? Because in singles there is more of an open court, you don't have to cut that close to the line all the time.

    But in doubles, the winners have to be more precise.
     
    #27
  28. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    743
    doubles is about getting an easy volley to finish. is a more territorial game.
     
    #28
  29. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,880
    Location:
    At Large
    doubles is about court coverage
     
    #29
  30. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,894
    At lower levels lobs in doubles can be effective - so not sure its so aggressive - in mixed doubles alot of women return with loopy topspin lobs and most 'net' people can't do much about it.

    Granted that depends on your skill level - but as Lee points out many teams have adapted to a less aggressive double style and still win with it.

    Doubles is very different IMHO - tons of shots you hit in your regular singles match don't work anymore. And there are tons of new shots you need to learn to hit.

    For example a kind of low just over the net fairly hard topspin shot right over the middle is often really effective in doubles - but so so in singles..
     
    #30
  31. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,266
    Everyone,

    How would you guys play a doubles where all 4 players are superbly consistent with groundstrokes and only OK with net games, and naturally prefer to play from baseline?

    Now, some would be more than OK with their net skill, ie quite competent, but like I said, the others' superb groundstroke skills already overwhelm and neutralize it. How would you play that doubles to win?
     
    #31
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Not exactly. It's about serving down the middle to give the net man the best opportunity to poach, getting your returns past the net man (one side or the other), and poaching. Doubles points are usually over in 2-3 shots.
     
    #32
  33. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    I think it leads to some one up, one back play, where the net guy is there for when his partner can do some damage with one of those great groundies, and
    create an easy look for him. Up there he will also tend to funnel shots where
    he intends if you uses the positioning well.
     
    #33
  34. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,204
    Location:
    Brisvegas
    There is only a couple things to remember. Make the first serve and first volley. If on the returning side, make them hit the first volley. You have more time because you don't have to move so much and you have alleys you need to aim at. This being the case, you tend to be more aggressive because you already know where you are going to hit the ball. So, in short, you tend to hit the ball more aggressively, but (unless it's a gimme volley) there are less clean winners.
     
    #34
  35. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,266
    I tried that (going to the net) and it didn't work. I was left standing there feeling the cold while the guys had fun exchanging shots.

    Good groundstrokes work well when there's court space and peeps gotta move, like in singles. Not so much in doubles where the court is well covered and the players anticipate and move very well (though little).
     
    #35
  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    Guess the ground strokes were good enough to rally well, but not good enough to get
    you some good looks at a poach.
     
    #36
  37. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,027
    Easy Answer: NO

    Go actually watch a match at any level. More errors than winners always.
     
    #37
  38. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,513
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    Not in the matches I've played. Around here, in the top doubles matches, most points end with a winner or forced error. Even the unforced errors are still somewhat forced, because the player missing the shot is under pressure due to his opponents' shot selection and court positioning; e.g., his opponents put him in an all-or-nothing position, where he has to go for a winner because anything less will be put away with ease.

    It's all about the setup shot and the subsequent positioning (in preparation for the put-away), putting the opponent under pressure.
     
    #38
  39. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,657
    I'll piggy-back along with spiff here (thank you).

    The aggression in doubles is very much about positioning as some of our pals have mentioned above, including goran ace and salsainglesa. When a match is riddled with errors, that can be the result of players trying to do too much with too little and pretty much trying to pound through their opponents. Not an unfamiliar scenario when four singles players are on the court trying to play doubles and simply using what they know.

    It's a little harder to spot the "errors" in a good doubles match because they often happen a shot or two before the point is over. A healthy rip from the baseline with a couple feet worth of net clearance might be considered a strong shot in a singles exchange, but a good doubles team will either pop that ball through to daylight or use it to get the other guys scrambling. The error is the shot that gives away the initiative.

    Tough doubles teams are shrewd enough to keep the ball below their opponent's kill zone. A waist high drive or low slice is much tougher to do something with than a ball that's shoulder or head height. While it might not look like much in terms of raw aggression, a tough team will feed low balls across the net while scrambling for a strong posture. With that aggressive positioning, that team is looking to force the other team to hit up. When they hit their put-aways, those shots look easy because the hard work has already been done.
     
    #39
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    While I would agree there are not always more errors than winners, often it is the level of UEs that is the major deciding factor. Like a Nadal match where he
    hits 19 winners and has only 9 UEs, but his opponent like Fed may have 31 winners and 29 UEs.
    While Nadal often ends far fewer points in any fashion, he will feast on the UEs and forced errors to win matches. So I conclude from this type play (and Dj is quite similar) from the best players in the world that control of UEs is clearly a Major factor and more important than hitting lots of winners in matches that are well matched up for skill.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
    #40
  41. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,027

    Sorry, I didn't know there was a place for more than one kind of error on a score card.

    Must be a new type of card.
     
    #41
  42. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,444
    I think you would have to agree the forced error is growing in importance and understanding in the game and only not tracked due to the challenge of it I expect. I always chart forced errors and consider them far more important than clean winners.
     
    #42
  43. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    317
    Quick Hijack-- sorry :):):)

    Fuzz Nation care to add your insights to my thread on tactics and lobbing in doubles? Sure would be interested on your take.

    Now back to the regularly scheduled program.
     
    #43
  44. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,513
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    Winner - my opponent hits a shot I can't reach, winning the point.

    Forced error - my opponent hits a good shot that I can reach, but the shot is too much to handle and I can't get the ball back in play.

    Unforced error - my opponent hits a mediocre shot that I can get to with plenty of time to set up, yet I still miss the shot.


    On TV, no one ever shows the forced errors. But, in most pro matches, those make up most of the losing shots. For example, in the earlier post about Nadal vs. Federer, it mentions 19 winners and 9 UE's for Nadal, as well as 31 winners and 29 UE's for Federer. That's only 88 points. Even with aces and double-faults added in, you're still nowhere near the total number of points for the match. How were all the other points won/lost? Forced errors.
     
    #44

Share This Page