Who serves first in doubles?
Watching the Bryan bros play Karlovic/Moser in US Open. In third set Moser decided to serve first and the commentators accused Karlovic of not being as committed to the doubles as singles. one of them said that Moser should tell Karlovic to "Get off your *** and start serving". I was really surprised by the criticism. To me it seemed like a great strategy.
Clearly Karlovic is a better server and can get himself out of trouble by serving aces. Also consider the fact that Moser did not serve very well in 2nd set. So it makes perfect sense for him to open serve in 3rd set when there is less pressure. Let Karlovic serve in the crucial 4th/8th/12th games.
What do the doubles specialists here think? What do you normally do under similar circumstances?
PS: Karlovic just closed the match with an Ace in the 8th game of the third set.
In general serving in doubles is way different then in singles. Winning free points is not always guarenteed and you could be taking your partner out of the point (either by winning on the serve or missing serves) which makes you a weaker team and makes the game where the singles player is serving the weaker game.
And depending on the conditions or the mentality of the players sometimes switching serving ends can be a issue. You have to get used to an entirely different side which in the 3rd set could be daunting.
That being said though, these are pros and the game is way different for them. Some singles players are WAY better then some of the regular doubles players in terms of skill so you can throw general theory out the window.
Commentators dont always pick up on that and some of those older players that did both dont seem to understand that the game has changed from the days where many players did both.
The player with the best serve should serve first.
The best offensive combination (server and netman) should start.
It generally makes sense that the best server should serve first. Often the first guy will end up having to serve one extra game compared to his partner. The first server in the set will also serve first in the tiebreak, which is important.
That said, there are a bunch of different factors that could change this. For example, being opposite-handed, the Woodies used to pick their ends depending on the time of day and the way the court was oriented. Woodbridge was the better server, but he'd often go second if it meant neither of them had to look into the sun whilst serving.
Who knows. Perhaps Moser was overhitting the ball too much, and they swapped over to give him a chance to serve into the breeze. Little things count.
Really, it could have been a million things. Bit rough of the commentators to criticise, IMO.
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