Originally Posted by TriCitiesTennis
As a well respected poster, Im surprised you went here. I will say that I am the strongest 3.0 in my area....but I play with a 3.0 girl who can play with me anyday of the week.
With that being said, the importance of the lady is very significant. Once you start playing against 3.5/4.0 level competition, the male will never see a ball to hit if the female is not a strong partner.
I don't think he's trying to start a "battle of the sexes here." I understood him to say that the man's ATTITUDE can make or break a mixed pairing.
I'm a 3.5 woman and I understand what you are saying as far as the value of the woman in setting up her male partner. But my ability to do my part is greatly affected by the attitude of my male partner.
Does he roll his eyes when I hit an easy one out? Does he run all over the court taking every ball to overcompensate for my estrogen levels? I can virtually guarantee a loss when partnered with that guy.
Does he strategize with me to help me hold serve? Does he appreciate my ability to run down a good lob? Does he give an enthusiastic high five when I put away a winner at the net? This man I can win with.
It's a whole different ball game when a 3.0 woman starts facing a 4.0 serve. The reality is many of the 4.0 men will have 4.5 level serves so the difference in skill level is heightened. A smart man will realize that it's not realistic for his partner to return the serve with any consistency. I've seen matches where the opposing woman put exactly one of my partner's serves in play. Unfortunately for us, it was during a tight 3rd set tie breaker and it put them up 9-8. Her partner then served for the win.
That being said, I think it's much more important for the woman to 1) develop a variety of returns so that she can deal with aggressive poaching and to 2) develop a strategy with her partner to hold her serve.