Ever got double bageled?

I find doubles quite difficult, I haven't played a lot, only started playing doubles more or less regularly in the last 3-4 years. But formations etc. are a mystery to me, probably need to read a book lol.
Doubles emphasizes and rewards different things and de-emphasizes others. I like both singles and doubles but for different reasons.

I like doubles for:
- teamwork
- set plays [ie "I'll serve into the body and you poach."]
- both knowing their role at any given instant [and said role can change multiple times during a point]
- picking apart the opponent's defense
- more angles
- crazy scramble plays
- rapid volley exchanges

Formations are only a mystery because no one has explained to you why teams use them. Or you see a random highlight clip and the serving team is using a formation [typically I <"eye">] but there's no explanation as to why.

The basic reasons are:
- Give the receiving team a different look; this alone might disrupt their rhythm
- Emphasize one of your team strengths [the net person in I formation can use their volleys and net coverage to greater effect]
- Introduce uncertainty to the returner [one of the biggest weapons in doubles is to encourage a tentative return]
- Take away one of their strengths [the receiver might have a great CC shot: by playing Aussie, you take away [or strongly discourage] that shot and force them to go DTL

Like anything new, it will feel awkward.

And like anything new, it will cease feeling awkward after you do it enough.

You also have to have a willing partner. If your partner is not open to the idea, no amount of proof or reasoning you offer of the superiority of the tactic will make him/her change.

Here's a simple example: I was playing 8.0 MXDs with a 3.5 woman. We got bageled the first set [See? There's something somewhat related to the thread after all!]. I observed that the guy playing Deuce was scoring point after point by hitting short angle CC where my partner had trouble covering. And she wasn't comfortable with moving 5-8' inside the court and to her right to anticipate the shot because if he hit deep, she would not be able to adjust.

Rather than force her to play inside the BL [which is a logical tactic], I suggested we switch to Aussie. Instead of me lining up in the Ad court, I moved to the Deuce court when she served to him. She also had to move towards the center because she now had to cover the DTL shot to the Ad court.

This simple strategy shift took away the other team's biggest weapon. He was OK at the DTL return but not nearly as good as CC. As an added bonus, my partner's BH is stronger than her FH so she got to hit more of her stronger shot. win-win-win.

We ended up winning the match 0-6 7-5 10-3.

Yes, we made other adjustments but Aussie was by far the most significant.

Some great doubles info:
- *The Art of Doubles* [Blaskower]
- Tennis magazine usually has a column by I think Gigi Fernandez on doubles
- Essential Tennis has a great 3-part series on doubles [there are plenty of great resources on the internet]:




And finally, to anyone who says doubles is boring:


 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
I lost some 6-0 6-1, and some 6-1 6-1 when I first got to 4.5. But no, never a double bagel. I can almost always hold my serve once. The only match I can think of where I didn't was recently in a mixed tournament. My partner and I won 6-2 6-2. All four games we lost were my serve. That's not a recipe for winning a mixed match, lol, but someone it worked out.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I lost some 6-0 6-1, and some 6-1 6-1 when I first got to 4.5. But no, never a double bagel. I can almost always hold my serve once. The only match I can think of where I didn't was recently in a mixed tournament. My partner and I won 6-2 6-2. All four games we lost were my serve. That's not a recipe for winning a mixed match, lol, but someone it worked out.
I had a mixed match like this earlier this year. We lost the first set 7-6, but I lost my serve all 3 times, as well as all 6 of my serve points in the tb. It was incredible that we even got to a tb. I was able to stabilize it in the second set and we ended up winning in a match tb.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
I had a mixed match like this earlier this year. We lost the first set 7-6, but I lost my serve all 3 times, as well as all 6 of my serve points in the tb. It was incredible that we even got to a tb. I was able to stabilize it in the second set and we ended up winning in a match tb.
Another fun fact of that match: My partner was the only person of the four on the court to hold serve. We broke both of them every single time. They broke me every single time. She held every single time. Madness.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
Yep - one of the first times I played comp here in Germany. The guy I played was the official trainer/coach for some state squad, and as soon as he heard I was from Australia he insisted on watering the clay courts until they were basically mud.

It was already raining lightly.

I tried arguing saying surely it wasn't necessary with the stuff already falling from the sky but there was no stopping him. I couldn't express myself well enough in German at that stage to put up much resistance.

And then I tried serve volleying hoping it'd throw him off.

Nope.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Another fun fact of that match: My partner was the only person of the four on the court to hold serve. We broke both of them every single time. They broke me every single time. She held every single time. Madness.
Yeah i've had those matches too. After about the 4th failure to hold, someone usually pipes up that "We remain 'on break' for the set".
Usually these are first set issues in morning matches.
 

kimboslice

New User
Ever been tripled bagel? This happened to me this past Saturday... playing a 4.5/5.0 buddy who crushed this 4.0. I would've been more heart broken if this was a real match and if I was playing someone my level.
 
Ever been tripled bagel? This happened to me this past Saturday... playing a 4.5/5.0 buddy who crushed this 4.0. I would've been more heart broken if this was a real match and if I was playing someone my level.
Close: 0, 0, & 1...in 100 minutes...including warmup...to a guy I've taken to a 3rd set TB twice before. Ouch.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Ever been tripled bagel? This happened to me this past Saturday... playing a 4.5/5.0 buddy who crushed this 4.0. I would've been more heart broken if this was a real match and if I was playing someone my level.
The worst I've had was 6-2 6-0 6-0. I played a guy who was a pilot and in town only for a one day layover. He contacted the pro at my club for a hitting partner, and I (high 4.0) was the best she could find for him on short notice. He was a recently bumped 4.5->5.0 and definitely a full level above me. I held my first two service games for 2-2 then lost 16 games in a row. It was fun to play someone that good, though (and hopefully he at least got a decent hit in while in town).
 

timmbuck2

New User
I lost 6-0 6-0 in a 3.0 tournament many years ago. I was more than a little surprised as I had won a couple of tournaments and competed well at others. A little research and I figured out that my opponent "John Smith" was newly registered and self rated in Colorado. Since he was wearing some apparel from another state, I did a little online sleuthing and found out he was a 4.0 in another state as "Jonathan Smith". Sigh. Self rate 2 levels down to feel good about winning a tourney? I think he lost 1 game that weekend...
 
You’re playing fine but your opponent just one ups you, wins all the ads , and at the end you notice you didn’t even win 1 game in the match.
How do you handle this ?
This exactly happened to me last weekend - including all the deuces. I got off the court and called my coach, telling him I wanted a lesson tomorrow and that I had a new rival.
 

NLBwell

Legend
No, my serve was too good to get double-bageled by anyone at any level and my concentration wavers so much I have only beaten one person 6-0, 6-0. He was overall a better open-level player than me but I was just totally Rosol-ing and never lost my focus because I knew I would lose if I let up at all.
May have been several times where I could have been beaten 0 and 0, but the other guy just let up some.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
You’re playing fine but your opponent just one ups you, wins all the ads , and at the end you notice you didn’t even win 1 game in the match.
How do you handle this ?
never got double bageled, but in usta league mixed we double bageled the opponents when my partner was worried that she wouldnt play
well as she just returned from a vacation overseas. the opponents just made a lot of errors, and we would win all the breaks. i thought they would win one game that went to deuce a bunch of times, but it didnt happen.
i didnt think anything of it, just that the opponents werent very good
z
 

BlueB

Legend
When I was still a 3.5, our club had a sort of a complicated tournament, that went on whole year. The first half was groups sorted by the level. People from outside were alowed to sign up as well and self rate. Someone sandbagged and wiped the court with me. I was probably the strongest 3.5 at our club at that point...
 
I've been playing a junior who was rusty and I've been winning practically every set until the last time: double bagel. I think he has shed his rust.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Early this year, my partner and I dished out a double-bagel in USTA doubles and I recorded it accordingly on tennislink. A week later, I saw that it had been corrected to a default win. I contacted the league coordinator and found out that she thought I must have made a mistake in recording the score as a completed match. I had to explain to her that we played the match and won 0 and 0. She apologized and changed the score - she mentioned that this is very unusual to see a double bagel win in USTA league between computer-rated players.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I hit with a former college player on Friday that I occasionally hit with. We practiced for a bit then played one set. Every game went to deuce. I lost 6-0. My targets were too small (too many "just missed" shots on my part) and he won points when it counted. That's why he is a better player than I am. Still, I enjoyed the tennis :)
 

DonPepe

Rookie
In the early 80’s I got whipped love and love by one of the Menendez brothers (can’t recall which) at a tourney in Princeton. Looking back, probably better that way. His dad would have kicked his ass if I beat him. Mine took me out for ice cream.
Yeah after a double bagel, the winner already did the murdering. LOL..... thats quite a story!
 

leech

Semi-Pro
Never been double bageled, but have endured bagel/breadstick combos four times in league play. The one time it happened in singles, I felt like I was just a key point or two away from turning the match around. It wasn't until I was down 0-6, 1-4 that I realized it wasn't going to happen.
 

FIRETennis

Semi-Pro
How to never get double bageled and stay at the same level for decades:
- play in the comfort zone: the same opponents all the time
- avoid playing new, unknown opponents
- do not signup for any tournaments
- never play a league/tournament level up
- fake an injury/retire or start questionable line calls at 0-6 0-5 to frustrate your opponent

Let's be serious. ATP players get doubled bageled. If you do not get double bageled at least a few times a year, it means you are not playing out of your comfort zone and not looking to improve.
Even one level up in USTA rankings would mean a double bagel (ie. a 3.5 playing a 4.5) or 2.5+ UTR (ie. a 5 UTR playing a 7.5 UTR)
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
I think practicing and doing drills with someone who is better helps you improve. I’m not convinced that playing a match against someone good enough to double-bagel you is going to help you improve. Matches help you improve if they are close and you have to make tactical adjustments or play well at tight moments to win - helps with tactics, focus and mental toughness. You had better work on your technique and footwork outside of matches.
 

Yamin

Semi-Pro
If you play in a different country with less resources you'll have the pleasure of playing with people about 1.5 USTA level difference quite frequently if you win like 2 matches. Have some fond memories of my 4.0 family at the time being matched against a few players who went on to ATP the next year. We still laugh/talk about the good old days over 10 years later.

You learn to not care and have fun pretty quickly. Or in some other cases, drop the sport for a while. I did both and regret dropping tennis for a while, but being double bageled once is something you should just move on from. No big deal.
 

FIRETennis

Semi-Pro
I’m not convinced that playing a match against someone good enough to double-bagel you is going to help you improve. Matches help you improve if they are close and you have to make tactical adjustments or play well at tight moments to win - helps with tactics, focus and mental toughness.
How do you know how good someone is until you play them unless you do some USTA/UTR investigative work?
If you are trying to 'play up' you can't really know how good your opponent is until you play them.
If you stumble upon a much better player who serves up a double bagel there are of course things to learn.
I'm not saying that it's a good thing to always play so high above the level that you are constantly getting bageled (those guys probably won't play more than once either) but it's good to see what higher level players do to win.
 

DonPepe

Rookie
How to never get double bageled and stay at the same level for decades:
- play in the comfort zone: the same opponents all the time
- avoid playing new, unknown opponents
- do not signup for any tournaments
- never play a league/tournament level up
- fake an injury/retire or start questionable line calls at 0-6 0-5 to frustrate your opponent

Let's be serious. ATP players get doubled bageled. If you do not get double bageled at least a few times a year, it means you are not playing out of your comfort zone and not looking to improve.
Even one level up in USTA rankings would mean a double bagel (ie. a 3.5 playing a 4.5) or 2.5+ UTR (ie. a 5 UTR playing a 7.5 UTR)
Your sarcasm is dead on! So true ... got to get beat to get better.
 

Frankc

Professional
Yep, back in the day, playing SEC and knew that I was to play "the top recruit from Florida."
Odd how I went to a 5-0 lead. Was playing well. At the change, he said," Are you ready now?"
Score was 7-5, 6-0. Got to a point where I just said to myself," He can't do that again from that position." And he would just do just that again. And again...
I had seen pretty heavy comp in the Middle Atlantic, but nothing at all like this kind of quickness and natural shot making. It was actually pretty interesting to watch - I had a great seat...
His remark just didn't bother me at all (as it may bother others) as in my mind there was nothing personal and he just could "walk the talk."
(Also, the obvious point was that I needed to study harder...)
 
Yep, back in the day, playing SEC and knew that I was to play "the top recruit from Florida."
Odd how I went to a 5-0 lead. Was playing well. At the change, he said," Are you ready now?"
Score was 7-5, 6-0. Got to a point where I just said to myself," He can't do that again from that position." And he would just do just that again. And again...
I had seen pretty heavy comp in the Middle Atlantic, but nothing at all like this kind of quickness and natural shot making. It was actually pretty interesting to watch - I had a great seat...
His remark just didn't bother me at all (as it may bother others) as in my mind there was nothing personal and he just could "walk the talk."
(Also, the obvious point was that I needed to study harder...)
Totally the right attitude. I would welcome the opportunity to play someone that good.
 

one-hand

Rookie
Generally speaking, where I'm from handing out a double bagel is poor form. If you bagel someone, you take the foot off the gas a bit and let them grab a couple of games in the second set.
Agreed when it comes to fun/social tennis. In a tournament, pedal to the metal all the way to the finish line.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Agreed when it comes to fun/social tennis. In a tournament, pedal to the metal all the way to the finish line.
Where I come from, it's much more insulting to throw a charity game so the other person doesn't feel bad, but that's probably a snowflake generation / participation trophy kind of thing, I guess.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Where I come from, it's much more insulting to throw a charity game so the other person doesn't feel bad, but that's probably a snowflake generation / participation trophy kind of thing, I guess.
I did that. Tournament playing at 3.0 some years back. Woman playing had little experience and a boyfriend that is a well-known 4.5 in town. Known for being a total jerk. He was so demeaning to her throughout the match. At changeovers he would just glare at her and yell about "remember what I taught you!"

By end of 2nd set she was in tears but wouldn't quit. .... I threw a game. Serving at 5-0 It was pretty obvious to everyone except her. I threw some compliments about shots being "too good" or out balls that were "painting the lines" and netted a few shots on purpose.
She stopped crying ... I won the last game at love.

Don't feel bad about doing it.
Never saw her again.
He has dated a string of 2.5 and 3.0 women ... never for very long.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Where I come from, it's much more insulting to throw a charity game so the other person doesn't feel bad, but that's probably a snowflake generation / participation trophy kind of thing, I guess.
If the opponent knows they’re getting charity games then you haven’t donated them properly

There’s nothing wrong with helping your opponent leave the court feeling like they picked up their performance in the last set. Makes for a much more positive finish for everyone.
 

darrinbaker00

Professional
If the opponent knows they’re getting charity games then you haven’t donated them properly

There’s nothing wrong with helping your opponent leave the court feeling like they picked up their performance in the last set. Makes for a much more positive finish for everyone.
Having never played you, I can tell when I'm getting a charity game, and I don't like it. I even had a guy report the score as 6-1, 6-1 after double-bageling me, which REALLY set me off. Just play me straight-up, and if you smoke me, you smoke me. I won't like it, but I'll live.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Having never played you, I can tell when I'm getting a charity game, and I don't like it. I even had a guy report the score as 6-1, 6-1 after double-bageling me, which REALLY set me off. Just play me straight-up, and if you smoke me, you smoke me. I won't like it, but I'll live.
Unless you’re getting close to golden-setted, it’s not that hard for your opponent to subtly donate a couple of points here and there - and if you do it at the right time, a couple of points is all you need to give away a game or two.

If you can tell you’re getting a charity game, your opponent is being a bit artless
 
Last edited:

Bjc3345

New User
Played James Blake in high school states. Had three aces in my first service game and held on at 40-30 when he hit a forehand rocket on the return that was just out. Then I lost 6-1, 6-0. Worst beating I ever took. That forehand had insane power. Super nice kid while destroying my tennis dreams.
 
Top