Singles players always better than doubles players?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jukebox, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. jukebox

    jukebox New User

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    Where I'm from, there is a common belief that singles players are automatically better tennis players than doubles players.

    Recently one of my team's singles players, let's say X, got transferred to playing doubles. Personally, I can tell X is unhappy as a doubles player because he is physically very fit thus thinks he should automatically be a singles player as singles is sooo much more physically demanding than doubles. As a doubles specialist, I'm a little irritated by X's ignorant remarks although he has told me before he does not think singles players are better than doubles players. But what he says and does completely contradicts this.

    So, what do you guys think? Is this true?
     
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  2. nalbyvsfed

    nalbyvsfed Rookie

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    no! because double players can often serve +volley better, and the single players of today aren't used to playing this type of player.
     
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  3. TheGreatestAudia

    TheGreatestAudia Rookie

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    The reason why the singles players of today aren't used to playing this type of player is because this type of player (S&V) isn't that common. Today's racquets make it too easy for a player on the defensive to chase down an excellent volley and hit a winning passing shot. Yes, most doubles players I meet are better as a whole at the net but might be a little behind in their baseline game. Personally, I think singles players are generally better players because they are forced to learn all facets of the game in a much harsher environment when you don't have that "safety-net" in a partner. I'm not saying all singles players are better but I would much rather take a singles player and make him into a doubles player instead of vice versa.
     
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  4. coach

    coach Semi-Pro

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    A doubles player when returning has to return down a narrow passageway cross court, so returning is soooo demanding in doubles. In singles, getting it back anywhere deep is a good return. Also, when playing doubles I feel a lot more pressure serving for two reasons- 1) I don't want to let my partner down with a double fault so that puts more pressure on me. 2) If I toss in a soft second serve my partner at the net-- well, his life might be in danger right? We have all seen returners hit huge ground returns right at the net player.
    Personally I enjoy playing both, play singles more, but both games have exacting, demanding requirements.
     
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  5. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Better in what way? There are one-on-one issues, but in a team setting, there are other matters that contribute to the big picture.

    In high school ladders like the ones with the teams I coach, the top players are ordered by challenge matches and the four "best" play the singles matches while the best pairings of the rest play the three doubles matches against other schools. It's against the rules for us to "transfer" a player to doubles unless they lose a challenge match and get moved down the ladder. So in this case, the kids who play singles have plainly demonstrated that they are stronger at singles than the ones that play doubles for that team. Sorry for mastering the obvious...

    Having coached a broad spectrum of abilities though, I can easily argue that a player needs a more complete skill set to compete at a higher level of doubles that they need to compete at that same higher level in singles. After working with both boy's and girl's teams for a few years, I've seen a couple of cases where the number five player on the varsity ladder was very weak in a doubles setting despite their strength at singles. I've also found that one of the biggest contributors to a team's success is depth. This means strong, dependable doubles teams that will make the difference more often than not in tight contests.

    Your observations of player X sound like he might have a bit too much ego in his tennis bag if he can't "walk the walk" and get his teeth into some serious doubles. Coaches basically love players who are psyched to be on board no matter what their specific assignment may be. There is the possibility that this player invested a lot of time and effort toward climbing the ranks of this team. If that's the case, I think we might all be disappointed in those shoes, but it's another ball of wax if he takes on a toxic attitude that brings everyone around him down.
     
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  6. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

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    I've lost a lot of doubles matches playing against guys that I would beat easily in singles, while playing with a partner that would also destroy either opponent in doubles.

    Playing mostly singles and playing a few doubles matches here and there is a totally different story than truly being a good doubles player. Being a great doubles players is underrated.

    I think a singles player is better than a doubles player in many areas, but often times, the doubles specialists is better than the singles player in just as many areas.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Differernt games take different skills.
    In football, is an elephant linebacker better than a middle linebacker?
    In baseball, is a leadoff hitter better than a 3?
    In basketball, is two guard better than a PF?
     
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  8. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Surely you don't disagree with this?

    It's obviously a lot easier to hide a poor stroke in doubles than it is in singles and it is also easier to hide behind your partner's skill.

    I would agree that singles in a more comprehensive test of your tennis game than doubles is.
     
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  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldnt get worked up about it. Many singles players assume that singles is a superior way to play tennis based on the physical side of tennis.

    Doubles is avery much a different game than singles. The mindset, skills, talent, abilities, and game strategy can be very different. Of course, there are similarities but there are also many differences.

    If singles players think that one can be compared solely on physical effort, then the singles player IMO wins. I dont think it is a question. The same level of singles play compared to the same level of doubles play, shows that a person will burn more calories playing singles as compared to doubles.

    However, that is where it ends. So just on that basis alone, I would agree with Mr. X, unfortunately and fortunately, it isnt that simple. :)
     
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  10. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    Maybe at the pro level, singles is ABSOLUTELY a more demanding discipline than doubles.

    But at club level? Up to surprisingly high standards, there are so many grinders getting by on cheesy depth and raw tenacity in singles that it's not even funny. The equivalent tactics and attitude on a doubles court (outside of the lowest lowest levels) just don't work. You need to execute. If you want a sport where the goal is to physically outlast the other guy, why aren't you running?

    There's an easy fix to Mr. X's attitude. Beat him on both the singles and doubles court.
     
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  11. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I would have to agree, a singles player is always a better singles player than a doubles player.
     
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  12. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I would agree with Bill. Doubles is a completely different type of tennis. I think most people tend to think of tennis as a singles sport. So when they rate themselves against others they think about whether or not they could beat the other person *in singles*.

    You can't even think about individual ratings that way in doubles. The team matters more than a particular individual. It's just a very different thing.
     
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  13. maleyoyo

    maleyoyo Rookie

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    How many pros are successful at both singles and doubles? I can think of more than a few: Mc Enroe, Federer, Warrinka, and the Williams sisters come to mind.
    How many doubles specialists are successful at singles? Not many. In fact, the only one I can think of is the guy from Sweden who recently retired. Daniel Nestor or the Bryans brothers tried unsuccessfully as singles players.
    This led me to believe that the skill set involved in doubles is a sub-set of the skills for the singles game. While one's ability might be better suited for either game, I still think that singles players possess a wider (not better) range of skills.
     
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  14. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Wow, very insightful.
     
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  15. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldnt call the skills of doubles a sub-set of singles. The game of doubles simply has a different skill set.

    And as far as "wider" range of skills? Do you really think a pure baseline player would fair well with a net charging doubles team?

    What I am saying is my question is a bit weird and difficult to answer. This is why a doubles players simply requires a different slant in skills that lean towards the game of doubles rather than singles.

    Both a doubles player and a singles player can be physically fit. Both a doubles player and a singles palyer can have great volleys. However, it is what the player is more bent towards the determined better suitablilty. Some player play better as a team rather than by themselves.
     
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  16. jessey

    jessey Rookie

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    Usually, a singles player is better at playing singles, and a doubles player is better at playing doubles : )
     
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  17. maleyoyo

    maleyoyo Rookie

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    I was thinking along the line of a competent S&V, baseline or all court singles player can be a very effective doubles player while the reverse is not necessarily true. Think of Mc Enroe, the Williams sisters, and Federer. Singles tennis players have to adapt to a whole spectrum of different styles of play while in doubles the variety is more limited. Singles players must have a wider skill set because he has no one to rely on but himself to beat different types of players.
    Players like Federer has it all: serve, serve return, passing shots, smash…I don’t think you can match any top doubles players to Federer’s set of skills. That’s why he won the gold in Beijing playing doubles. As an individual, Fed’s skills are far more complete than any top doubles players. Same goes for Mc Enroe and the Williams sisters.
     
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  18. EndLy

    EndLy Rookie

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    I believe it's just a matter of which the player prefers... which style they prefer

    I prefer to play singles and would say i have an all around game.. i do everything pretty equally .. and am comfortable playing doubles with a group of friends.

    two of my friends played doubles a lot with eachother in high school and me and my other friend played singles

    we always pair up the singles with eachother and doubles with one another to make it even, even though skill set wise, we're the better players.

    The matches always always come out to be very very close and is highly competitive. most of the time, the other team winning haha

    but just because we're better than singles doesn't mean we're better in doubles..

    To see if this hypothesis is valid, nadal/federer should play the bryan brothers haha
     
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  19. x5150

    x5150 Rookie

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    Yah it just depends on which game you are playing to make that statement. Some people who play singles are awesome because they are pushers and ball fetching yo-yo's and will get a lot of wins. When they try to play doubles and push back a return, his/her partner will get hurt by the opposing net man. A doubles player trying to play singles won't have the stamina, footwork, and consistency usually to run around the whole court.
     
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  20. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    In doubles, it's more about first strike tennis and serve and volley as opposed to the modern way of baseline slugging singles tennis. Both demand different proficiencies and thus one cannot conclude that one set of skills are "better" than the other. They are simply "better" in their area of specialization.
     
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  21. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    This is a minority opinion but here goes, and here's why. I think a doubles player is a better tennis player. A doubles player can play singles as well, and pretty decent singles. He can stay back or play S & V. But a singles player is usually hopeless at doubles. Especially if he's a baseliner. In doubles, there he is, up at the net where he can't play. So a doubles player understands the whole game. A singles player only knows half of it, at this point in his development.
     
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  22. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Generally speaking:

    Singles = More physically and mentally demanding.

    Doubles = More tactically and socially demanding.

    IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    In dubs you can hide a GS easier, but in singles you can hide from nearly all volleys, returns, serves, and overheads pretty easy by just grinding. Some singles player get by with almost nothing but a FH.
     
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  24. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    I agree on volleys but would disagree that you can hide from serves and returns in singles. Obviously it depends on the level being played but I would expect the average serve speed to be greater in singles and doubles. I would say returns are how you avoid losing points in doubles, whereas in singles capitalising on weak serves are how you win points (I'm not saying though that the return is more important in singles).
     
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  25. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    My friend was on a team a couple of years ago where the top two players were best friends, and played doubles together because of it. Doubles players arent necessarily worse, but because most high school teams have singles and doubles in order of skill, it is usually the case.
     
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  26. bugmenot

    bugmenot Banned

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    doubles is more fun :)
     
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  27. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    Ironically, I find it easier to return in doubles for THAT very reason.
     
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  28. Slicendicer

    Slicendicer Guest

    I have not seen many junior or high school players that can play doubles really well. Most coaches teach a "singles" game to develop a player, the singles player then develops a doubles game. As a rule of thumb... most singles players are better at singles and vice versa.
     
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  29. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    IMO doubles helps singles and vice versa. Def need better conditioning for singles. I get bored standing around as muchas you do in doubles and that isprobably the source of the OPs person complaining.
     
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  30. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Funny how a lot of folks like to recognize whoever is the best, route for them, etc., and disregard most others. Anna K. was just about the best doubles player in the WTA for a long stretch, but never lived up to expectations in the singles world. Sure, she's not tough to watch, but I've always respected her achievements as a world class doubles vixen.

    Two of the guys around today that I also respect a lot are Mardy Fish and Jurgen Melzer. Both are solid singles players, but can also be the most dominant hitter in a doubles setting, too. It's not as flashy as being in the top ten on the ATP board, but these guys are performing well in both settings among the best players in the world. Groovy!!!
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good to see Anna get some of the credit she deserves.

    And it's not like she wasn't a very good singles player too, as she went deep in many events. Probably more of a physical or mental grind type thing. Maybe just missing that last piece of endurance that is required to win a singles tournament. Much like the only thing that help Sampras back on clay.
     
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