Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
I will do my match wrap-up in the form of a multiple choice question so that all will understand the nature of the problem.
Q: If you are serving against opponents with heavy topspin groundstrokes, where should your partner position throughout the point so as to *increase* the chances that you will lose your serve?
A. Four feet from the net.
B. Two steps in front of the service line.
C. Halfway between the service line and baseline.
D. At the baseline.
Got your answer yet?
The correct answer is C, halfway between the baseline and service line.
I . . . I didn't even know what to do! Standing in no-man's land like that when your partner is serving seems calculated to make sure your opponents face no pressure on their returns but always have an easy out if they get into trouble because they can bounce it off of your shoetops. It's not like she started the match at the net and they blasted her so she felt like she needed to retreat. No, this is the way she positions in doubles.
Now, I will sometimes position a few feet back of the service line if my partner is struggling with keeping her return away from the net person, but I will immediately close to second volley position as soon as her ball makes it past the net person. I have to hustle, but I can do it. Or I will retreat to the baseline if she pops it up to the net person. I cannot even think of a time when I felt I needed to start the point on my partner's serve from anywhere other than in the service box.
The impact of my partner hanging around in no man's land throughout the match was that they spun the ball to her feet at will, and she missed 90% of these shots (as would I!). At one point, I said, "Boy, they're putting a lot of balls at our feet. I think we need to play the net tighter." No change.
Perhaps she thinks my serve is so weak that she had no choice but to surrender the net. If so, I would like to know how I was able to serve and volley successfully against these opponents.
She needs a partner who is a baseliner. I am not that partner.
I need a partner who will be ready to volley if I can force a weak reply with my serve. She is not that partner.
Is it possible she's positioned there because you serve and volley and she knows you prefer she cover the lobs on her side?
That said, I have a partner that plays right there, always. She's undefeated in 3.5 leagues over the past two years. (No idea why she wasn't bumped...) When I play with her I kind of play as a baseliner, for the few shots I get. I've tried serve and volley with her and it really, really doesn't work. Did you consider changing your style for matches you play with her?