Doubles advice needed to handle service returns in the deuce court for a 4.0 right ha

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by normrose, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. normrose

    normrose Rookie

    May 7, 2004
    I have always played doubles in the ad court and now have to transition to the deuce court to accommodate my new doubles partner.

    I am right handed and have a single handed backhand and able to hit slice and topspin. However I am having difficulty in coping with a hard serve down the tee to the back hand and making the return away from the opposing net player..

    Any advice in respect to the mind set, ready position, should I angle the body with the right leg slightly forward ready for the split step?

    If anyone has had these problems and overcome them I would be pleased to hear from them.
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Your target should be just above the netcord, right between the center tape and the singles alley. That is where you aim your returns.
    Take it later, lob DTL on center serves, rip your 2hbh topspin DTL to keep netman in place. If he's a rightie, it goes to his backhand overhead.
    Any floater return above the net by 4' will be poached by a forehand volley, so beware and forewarned.
  3. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

    Dec 21, 2010
    I would agree with LeeD's advice. Most of your shots should be low and cross-court. However, you need to keep the net man honest with the shots down his line and with the lob. Unless the server is getting the serve to bounce up exceptionally high so that it is difficult to get over the ball, you should try to hit some top spin on the returns to help keep them low. If the serve is coming fast, shorten the back swing and remember to be moving forward as you hit it.
  4. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    Boy this is a big topic with me, personally. So to review, you are having issues with hitting 1HBH off of pace to the center of the court (where there are no angles), hitting an inside out BH away from a hungry RH netman who is looking to poach to his FH? What's the problem?

    A couple of thoughts:

    If the server is playing S&V, I would consider BH lobs to the ad corner, they won't winners against strong competition but will trouble for them at some level. Personally I don't lob well.

    On occasion I would anticipate the serve and blast what is essentially a CC into the netman's alley (this works well for the first point of the game to get into the netman's head). Even if you miss, it will likely make the rest of the game go better (assuming that he is a poaching maniac).

    My goto answer is to try to hit the serve on the rise and chip a dink into the deuce court. This tends to hit the server at his shoetops if he is playing S&V. It tends to catch them napping if he is a baseliner as it is short. And if he has a modern game with a Western grip, so much the better (I am likely to get a rising ball for my first volley). Since I anticipate this serve (you get them repeatedly) after the server looks up at his toss, I drop my racquethead to my left as I start my BH chip motion. If he hits it to my FH, this is not a difficult recovery since you are hitting a FH.

    Of course if the serves are good enough for him to be getting service winners a lot, then you are outclassed and you should play 2 back for the first serve.
  5. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2009
    At Large
    If only driving it crosscourt into the doubles alley were that easy. That's essentially an inside-out one handed backhand return and is one of the tougher shots to hit in tennis. A well-struck serve down the tee is going to be on you pretty fast, a one hander needs a little longer backswing, and then you're going to have a tougher time trying to stay ahead of it and to get clean contact out in front. Two handers have the luxury of being able to be a little late on the ball and can still come through it, but if you're late with the one hander that return's going nowhere so you really have to work to keep that ball in front of you. I'd recommend using your slice return on that wing as your bread and butter unless you really see one early that you are able to step into and drive.

    Also remember that return doesn't have to be hit for a clean winner for it to be effective. If you're going to pick a spot on the court, I'd be picking something more like the side T where the service line meets the singles sideline to give yourself a little more room for error. The important thing is you want to keep it low and go for the server's shoetops or ankles. Make him hit a tough first volley or a half volley to try to force an error or to set up a high volley for you or your partner to put away.

    If the net guy is crowding the middle or poaching/fake-poaching on you a lot and you aren't getting the angles you want crosscourt, you could drive one down the line to keep him at honest and open up some room in the middle.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  6. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Apr 4, 2008
    i agree with all above
    only thing to add is wait with conti or bh grip if you usually wait with a forehand grip
  7. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Dec 9, 2010
    If it is a hard serve, I almost always have to slice it or chip it. It is really tough to get a one hander around a 90+ mph serve.
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Post 2 said it all the first time.
    Being late on that shot is a GOOD thing. That's what allows you to hit that inside out backhand.
    No reason to be really late, you need the short backswing slice on any fast serves anyways, in singles or doubles.
    If you don't practice this shot, you won't have it when you need it.
  9. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

    Feb 19, 2004
    The weakest part of my doubles game is that same scenario. I've been working on taking it earlier and aiming for the side T on the deuce side. I can hanlde the speed serves, but the kickers down the T are hard to muscle through with precision.

    I use the chip return a lot and my 2HBH also. I have also been able to use the DTL BH well by stepping way back and using the time to pick my spots better. I've noticed I can usually step around my BH and hit an angles CC FH to the server's FH well or lob it over the netman's BH which is a tough shot. Most of the time, the chip return is effective.

    My best solution has been to play the Ad court.
  10. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

    Nov 25, 2009
    I know it sounds basic, but it helps me to make sure I've got my body turned the right way. When receiving on the deuce court, I want to be at least square to the server (not the net) and make sure I get my body turned if I have to return on my backhand side-- I don't want to be too open for this shot, especially if the serve kicks up.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  11. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    All good advice...

    ...but don't overthink it. In doubles, your first job is to get the return back and make the other team play. Don't give them freebies. If you can do something good on the return, fine. In doubles, the two things I focus on for the return are (1) Get it back and (2) keep it down. Even if the ball comes right at the opposition, a low ball is no chicken delite. If the ball floats up, it's usually history...
  12. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    I played deuce side for years with lefty partner but now play ad. Still practice deuce time to time. For me, number 1 key to backhand on deuce side is show the server some shoulder. If I get a enough shoulder turn where the back of my front shoulder is to the net/server; I get a much more solid and controlled hit. It is much easier for me to hit the off (inside out) backhand if I get a decent shoulder turn. Also, you can hook it back up the line behind the net man too.

    I have lost this shot but used to hit it a fair amount. If you can get a lob over the net man from the deuce side, you are golden against a righty server. If the net man covers it, he be running back and you can move in. If the server covers it (righty usually), he'll be running across baseline or back (if he S&V) to hit a backhand and you can move in. Takes touch but if you clear the net man, move in and you are in a very offensive position.

    Other things that help from both sides are just cover the basics, step in and execute split step as server makes contact; immediately pivot shoulder but keep backswing short; move in on diagonal; cross over step if stretched wide. Reviewing the service return sequence from time to time can help.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

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