I am a 4.0 and have won dozens of tourneys at that level. I've won maybe 3 at the 4.5 men's level and I've won two at the 8.5 mixed level...also a truck load at 8.0 mixed. I do understand strategy and I even take it deeper. It starts before the match for me. I look at where the sun is and decide who needs to serve from which side depending on where the sun is. The first 4.5 tourney I won(and played the ad side I might add). I was told to hit everything down the middle...serves volleys etc...and it worked.
I remember him hitting a serve wide accidently and the guy laced it down the line for a winner and he said...it was his fault as I was covering the middle. So I understand what you are saying about the higher levels but I've been gone from 3.5 for some years now...at least 7.
Originally Posted by LeeD
OP seems to know tennis strategy, but maybe hasn't played too much doubles at "good" levels? Talking 4-5.5.
To me, return of serve away from poach oriented netperson, get your serves into the weaker returning side, either weaker slow, or less consistent, and hit your volleys low up the middle if you're not putting the volley away.
Staying back is fine, if you can hit repeated low dipping passes up the middle, and topspin lob when given a higher, slower volley.