OK, so I slept on my stinging defeat in singles yesterday, and today I'm all ready to be philosophical. For reference, I only played one singles match in 2007 (as a 3.0, where I won by just hitting conservatively until she missed), one in 2008 (as a 3.5 where I lost to a pusher on clay) and this last one in 2009. I am a total newbie on a singles court, no doubt about it. Several things struck me about last night: First, I was shocked at how much easier it is to hit an overhead in singles than doubles and how different it feels. In doubles, you have to beat two opponents with your overhead, and experienced doubles players will backpedal as you prepare to hit and know how to block it back to keep the point alive. In singles, players tend to stand at the center hash and then break one way or the other to have a shot. The surprising thing is that it was really easy to just wait for her to break or lean and hit the other way. It wasn't necessary to put a crater in the court, or aim for a net person's feet, or keep your eye on two people, or slice it to angle it away. I could see her quite clearly and still keep my eye on the ball and make good contact, and putting a clean overhead into the spot she just vacated was plenty good enough. Second, I learned that Any Volley Will Do. When I first started learning singles, I would miss a lot of volleys. Just going for too much pace or going for too much angle, because you really need weight on your volleys in doubles. Not to mention the indecision that can overwhelm you as you deal with having too many options in singles. Nah, there's no need for all of that angst. Just move cleanly to the ball and send it crosscourt. If she looks like she's going to get it, just slide over and send the next one crosscourt also. Easy as pie. Third, I learned that Backspin Is Your Friend. If I didn't feel comfortable re-directing the volley for whatever reason, adding as much underspin on the volley as possible was a winner every time. In contrast, you can get into trouble with that in doubles if the opposing net player has wheels. Fourth, I learned that it is much easier to see where your opponent is going to hit the ball. I'm not sure if it was just this opponent, or maybe in doubles you have so many things to watch that it is hard to dial in on your opponent's racket. But if I did hit a bad approach or volley, I knew instinctively where she was going with her shot and could take off in that direction early. I was never wrong, not once. I also knew where her serves were going before she hit them. What's up with that? Is that some bizarro doubles racket-reading skill that I didn't know I had? Fifth, topspin lobs aren't as valuable in singles as in doubles. This doesn't make any sense to me, but this opponent didn't care at all if I spun a great ball high to her 1HBH. She just spun it right back. In doubles, the topspin lob is slow death to a lot of players, who seem completely unable to hit on the run and are unwilling to give chase if a lob goes over their heads. Sixth, a good serve wins you just as many points in singles as in doubles. I was really surprised by how many of my slice serves she didn't get into play or hit very short. I figured a singles player wouldn't have the pressure of a net player and, lacking the need to be accurate, would blast a lot of serves for return winners. Nope. Singles players miss too. Seventh, I really need to work on my defense. In singles, you really wind up hitting a lot of balls when stretched out or otherwise in trouble. I don't feel that way in doubles. I missed way too many of these balls, and I didn't even know what kind of shot would be the right one to try. I wonder . . . . for all of the singles players who are struggling to learn doubles (and I know there are a lot of them), what things feel different for you?