Is doubles a separate game than singles? And Is doubles not easier?

I normally play doubles since that is much bigger for "rec" "club hackers" (to use the forum slang) but started moving into singles when I was advised my defensive game and fast movement is suitable for it.

I noticed even when playing good doubles teams that I secretly thought that I can beat these guys individually in singles. Of course if I say this aloud I get the "yeah but it's not singles, dude" wisecrack back at me.

But I can't help but conclude that doubles is far easier on the body and puts less demands of speed and endurance, by several factors, even if you play hard-core doubles with shading and net rushing. And I notice that UTR (but not NTRP) has separate ratings for doubles and singles, implying it is a separate game.

So how different are these skills? Is it really a separate game? It just seems that doubles inherently allows weaknesses to be covered up that singles doesn't, making me think a win or loss in doubles does not mean as much as singles.
 
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Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Different games... from the "easy" and "hard" parts to the strokes required - not as different as something like baseball and golf are from each other, but very different nonetheless.

Example with strokes:
Topspin forehand - crucial in singles - not that critical in dubs.

In dubs it's great because you have a partner to help cover the court and to help set up points - but it's awful because you have a partner that can fk it up for you - or you for them - and so you're not "all on your own" - but then again - the outcome is based on both of your efforts... very clear "double edged sword" sort of thing there.

In singles it can feel great because you have SO MUCH MORE of the court to hit into - often a lot less space to hit into in dubs - even with the added court width.

In singles, the points may develop over 6 or 8 or more shots... you may have time in singles to get back into the point if you don't make the exactly right shot. In dubs, the better tennis you're all playing, the shorter the points are, and points may be developed in 1 or 2 hits before the putaway, and if you make a smallish mistake, chances are that the point is over on the next hit...

Dubs is indeed far easier on the body than singles, that can't really be denied.

Dubs requires you to coordinate with your partner and set up points based on both of your strengths and weaknesses. In singles, you do this inherently because you aren't having to discuss it with anyone and make sure you're both on board with the plan... so dubs can be more complex in that regard.

It is reasonable to rank players separately for dubs and singles because of how different actual match play really is. It takes different mindsets, and the application of different sets of skills to excel at either.
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Doubles rewards precision, awareness, and strategy. It is more complex in many ways.

That's why it's fun, and it is why so many singles specialists are crazy bad at doubles.

Cindy -- noting that singles strategy is so basic that Wardlaw came up with some really simple directionals that work just fine
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I play in an over 40 men’s league and I’m the “singles” guy. I had been playing a ton of doubles most of the year. I had to re-learn how to play singles again. It’s definitely a different game. I wouldn’t say doubles is easier, just a different game than singles. Strategy and ball placement is so important in singles. (not saying it’s not important in doubles) Every shot you hit in singles, down to the serve needs to have a purpose.

I like the mano vs mano of singles, but doubles with the right partner can be fun too.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
In an interview before the IHOF induction ceremonies began this year, Mark Woodforde was on Tennis Channel talking of his days as half of the Woodies duo. He made it a point to say that they were both NOT doubles specialists but also singles players. Shows what kind of inferiority complex these guys have. And Leander Paes makes it a point to remind everyone that he had defeated Sampras in singles.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I play both and find that each are easier/harder in their own way.

In singles shot selection is so much easier. Much more margin for error, can hit a neutral ball and not immediately lose the point because of it. In Doubles shot selection and precision is everything. On nearly every shot you are threading the needle, make a poor choice or miss that target just a little and you immediately can lose the point.

Physically: Singles and doubles require different movement. Yes you are not going to have to grind out long points in doubles as you are in singles. HOWEVER you do have to have much more explosive short burst movement if you are playing at a decent level. If you are just patty caking the ball back and forth .... well, I don't play that way.
Singles rewards greater endurance and patience, doubles rewards quickness and instinct to kill.

Mentally .. I find singles so much easier mentally. I can get in my own head and take care of my own business. In doubles partner issues can totally mess that up and I find I get tighter in a doubles match than in singles where I can play more freely mentally.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
It depends on the level of player. At lower levels, meaning 3.5 and under, both doubles and singles are games of stroke fundamentals and consistency (which is of course related to fundamentals). Basically, if you know how to execute the fundamentals (hit consistent moderate pace topspin on both sides, volley with reasonable directional control, get your serves in, etc) then you will dominate at doubles and singles all the way through 3.5.

Then you become a 4.0. At 4.0 singles, fitness and movement begin to come into play, and this becomes the primary distinction between doubles and singles. I see 4.0 guys all the time who have nice looking strokes but have poor conditioning so they cannot execute the strokes they have. These guys look like 4.5 players until they are 30 minutes into a singles match. By contrast, there are abundant 4.0 guys who are in great shape and can run forever, but who push and hack the ball with no hope of reaching the next level.

At 4.5 you start to see the beginnings of “real tennis” taking shape, both fitness and sound strokes become necessary.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I see 4.0 guys all the time who have nice looking strokes but have poor conditioning so they cannot execute the strokes they have.
The premise that they could execute their strokes if they had better conditioning is not true. They really don't have the strokes. When fat guys find that the slimmer gym-going guys are still at the same level as them, they stop caring. It is a vicious cycle which most rec players never come out of.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
It is amazing how rec players saturate. I know players who are lean and play almost every day, and players who are fat and play once a week. They are both evenly matched! It is as if nothing will ever improve their games.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
The premise that they could execute their strokes if they had better conditioning is not true. They really don't have the strokes. When fat guys find that the slimmer gym-going guys are still at the same level as them, they stop caring. It is a vicious cycle which most rec players never come out of.
Proper strokes require proper footwork. It's easy to manage proper footwork against a ball machine where you might move 2 steps total between shots. However, if your conditioning isn't up to par and you can't catch up to the ball to put those strokes into play, it's not a problem of not having the strokes, it's about not being able to get to the ball to use them.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I wouldn't say its a radically different game since both singles and doubles require you to place a fuzzy yellow ball into a court with a racquet. But the nuances are very different.

Singles requires more individual court coverage which leads to a greater emphasis on speed and endurance. Doubles requires less court coverage making precision in ball placement more necessary to achieve victory.

It just seems that doubles inherently allows weaknesses to be covered up that singles doesn't, making me think a win or loss in doubles does not mean as much as singles.
You could say the same thing for singles.
Weaknesses that get you killed in doubles but not singles: paceless groundstrokes, hitting 4 feet over the net, inability to volley or hit overheads, low first serve percentage
Weaknesses that get you killed in singles but not doubles: lack of foot speed and fitness.

The only time I lose to someone that I can beat in doubles is because of the speed and fitness issue. It's never because they have a tennis technical or strategy advantage. They can just use their fitness to win a war of attrition. But guys that beat me at doubles almost always beat me at singles too because they are better players. Might be a handful of seniors I'd beat in singles but not doubles but not many.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
It’s easier for tactics to beat technique and athleticism in doubles. You can succeed in it with a far more limited toolset than singles, as long as you have court smarts.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Dont know about that. You can reach the top in singles with a serve and groundstrokes, and we can all name pros who prove the point.

For doubles, you need all of the shots for net play, and I dont mean just bunting the ball short, either.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
As a lefty who returns on the ad side in doubles, I can't remember the last time I had to do more than chip-slice my backhand (or indeed, hit more than 1 or 2 groundstrokes in a row). If I stopped playing singles, half my game would atrophy. And let's be honest - I love volleying, but anyone who puts the same effort into learning both will find it a lot easier to hit good volleys than good groundstrokes.

But regardless - in many ways it simply comes down to the fact that you hit a lot less balls playing doubles. Points are shorter and there's twice as many players on the court. That means that in the average exchange, your stroke mechanics are under a lot less scrutiny.

On the other hand I definitely agree with the old coots that in order for skill and technique to shine in singles, it requires a relatively high and comparable degree of fitness by both parties. It doesn't really matter how well you hit the ball if you can't cover the court.
 
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Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Beyond simply fitness, the reason doubles players do not like singles is that doubles does not require shot tolerance or rally consistency. If you can hit a shot once, you are good to go for doubles. In singles, you are going to have to sustain a 5 shot backhand to backhand rally while mentally thinking about how to break the pattern to your advantage. Essentially you need to have your backhand rally ball on total muscle memory so you can think while grinding it out. So many doubles players can hit a backhand cross court once, but make them hit it 3 times in a row and they are toast. This is because in doubles you rarely have to hit any shot 3 times in a row. So while you may think you have all these shots, you don’t own any of them.

Of course, this all applies only to lower level play.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Double definitely helps my single game when i need to come to the net and finish the point. Got loads of practice of volley and overhead. :)
However, in single, i have more time to line up for a shot than double. So in double, i find myself hitting closer to continental grip whereas in single, i hit closer to semi western grip. A little weird, but wonder if anyone does the same thing.
 
In an interview before the IHOF induction ceremonies began this year, Mark Woodforde was on Tennis Channel talking of his days as half of the Woodies duo. He made it a point to say that they were both NOT doubles specialists but also singles players. Shows what kind of inferiority complex these guys have. And Leander Paes makes it a point to remind everyone that he had defeated Sampras in singles.
What "kind" of inferiority complexes do they have Dr. Freud or are you a Yungian? What kind of superiority complex do you have after winning all your singles grand slam titles?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
As a lefty who returns on the ad side in doubles, I can't remember the last time I had to do more than chip-slice my backhand (or indeed, hit more than 1 or 2 groundstrokes in a row). If I stopped playing singles, half my game would atrophy. And let's be honest - I love volleying, but anyone who puts the same effort into learning both will find it a lot easier to hit good volleys than good groundstrokes.

.
My experience is very different. I play in a league where we play one set of singes and one set of doubles, total games won tally. In that format I face lots of guys that are "mostly singles" players and guys that are "mostly doubles". Invariably the mostly singles guys are quick and many have a FH. But the all have crap BHs. The doubles players at least have BH's that they can place someplace difficult. They also are better at hitting through the court. I don't see a huge groundstroke advantage in the "mostly singles" guys. Just a court coverage and speed advantage. Both are difficult to play against but the difference is the doubles players stay challenging in the doubles set but the singles players often are just flat out terrible.

Thing that the "mostly singles" people don't realize is that many of us "mostly doubles" players all were "mostly singles" players at some point and know how to play that game as well. it was merely time and injury that moved us into "mostly doubles" mode.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
My experience is very different. I play in a league where we play one set of singes and one set of doubles, total games won tally. In that format I face lots of guys that are "mostly singles" players and guys that are "mostly doubles". Invariably the mostly singles guys are quick and many have a FH. But the all have crap BHs. The doubles players at least have BH's that they can place someplace difficult. They also are better at hitting through the court. I don't see a huge groundstroke advantage in the "mostly singles" guys. Just a court coverage and speed advantage. Both are difficult to play against but the difference is the doubles players stay challenging in the doubles set but the singles players often are just flat out terrible.
Perhaps it is a matter of level. Decent singles players can’t survive without a solid backhand that is capable of solid shot tolerance.

Thing that the "mostly singles" people don't realize is that many of us "mostly doubles" players all were "mostly singles" players at some point and know how to play that game as well. it was merely time and injury that moved us into "mostly doubles" mode.
I think that is sort of the point of the thread. Doubles is stereotypically the retirement home of tennis, where old singles players are put out to pasture. "Those who can't singles, doubles".

I personally think it is more complicated than that, but singles has undeniably done more for my overall tennis skills than doubles.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think that is sort of the point of the thread. Doubles is stereotypically the retirement home of tennis, where old singles players are put out to pasture. "Those who can't singles, doubles".

I personally think it is more complicated than that, but singles has undeniably done more for my overall tennis skills than doubles.
I think for the most part that is true although I find most of the good singles players I know also play a lot of doubles. I think when you are younger all time on a tennis court has value so you don't limit yourself. As you get older you have to meter your enthusiasm some as there is a price to pay for a lot of running on concrete.

If I had the same wheels and recovery ability of my 30 year old self, I'd still be a "mostly singles" player. But at 55, I manage to get more matches in if I play doubles and can still walk the next day.

But I will say that I'm actually a better singles player now than I ever was. Just slower and unwilling to pay the toll. But playing doubles has refined my service game, improved my return game and taught me how to finish a point.
 

tomato123

Professional
Remember when Martina Hingis held the #1 ranking in both singles and doubles at the same time?

Peak singles Hingis in my opinion was one of the most enjoyable tennis to watch as a spectator and fan. And peak doubles Hingis pretty much never went away into her retirement.

Perhaps her career roadmap tells a decent story of the singles game separating itself further from doubles at least at the pro level.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Singles and doubles separating has been happening for a long time. I think the last time someone won Grand Slam titles in both men's singles and men's doubles in the same season was Stefan Edberg in 1987 - and that was the last year he played on the doubles tour seriously.

Throughout the '90s the top ATP doubles players were still singles players, but not the best singles players - generally guys ranked 20-50. Then the serve & volley era ended, and there was suddenly little incentive for anyone with a winning singles record to compete in doubles at all.
 
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mmk

Hall of Fame
I play singles probably 99% of the time. The only time I play doubles is when I'm asked to fill in, a social, or recently a couple guys I normally play against decided to enter a doubles tournament and needed some practice. I'll echo what others have said, I'm terrible at positioning for doubles, especially since I'm a baseliner who chases everything. So in that respect doubles is harder for me. On the other hand, after doubles it feels like I haven't played - much less exertion than singles, and I mean less than half. I normally play indoors, and definitely need a shower after a singles match, but not doubles, almost no sweating at all.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
There's no question that singles is more physically strenuous than doubles, however, I certainly know a TON of people who think there's a lot of standing around in dubs (even a lot of dubs players... ) but like in almost every other sport, dubs is just as much about what you do with the ball, as it is about what you do without the ball - moving, shading, pinching, etc. Some of the players on my dubs teams look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that if the ball is moving, they should be moving - yes... ALL FOUR OF YOU!!!

Again, if you're a soundly fit singles player, the physical (constant movement) aspect of dubs will not really test your fitness that much.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I play singles probably 99% of the time. The only time I play doubles is when I'm asked to fill in, a social, or recently a couple guys I normally play against decided to enter a doubles tournament and needed some practice. I'll echo what others have said, I'm terrible at positioning for doubles, especially since I'm a baseliner who chases everything. So in that respect doubles is harder for me. On the other hand, after doubles it feels like I haven't played - much less exertion than singles, and I mean less than half. I normally play indoors, and definitely need a shower after a singles match, but not doubles, almost no sweating at all.
The thing with dubs is that many players can and do get away without moving much. They don't realize that they could be far more effective doubles players if they did move more and change position. With singles you are forced to move by your opponent.

That being said the driest i ever walked off the court was after a singles match. Opponent was a big tall guy with a huge serve and FH. But limited control. Every service point was a ace/winner or DF. Every return game was a hammered return winner or into the back of the fence. I felt like a spectator. I think it ended up being a close match but it had nothing to do with anything I did.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I can appreciate that singles is more physically demanding and that definitely is a big reason I don't play singles anymore and prefer to play doubles. But doubles has a lot to offer regardless of the physical demand and is enjoyed for different reasons.

My son, 16y/o, prefers to play doubles. He plays singles because he has to. But he plays doubles because he wants to. He enjoys working as a team and combining the skills of two players to maximize the team's strengths. There is different strategy involved.

It's about setting up your net player to put the point away. It's not about grinding out a 20 hit rally on every point. Put pressure on your opponent to create an opening for your partner. There is a little better risk:reward ratio for sharp angles and hitting lower clearance at net. You HAVE to volley well. You HAVE to nail your overheads.

As some have pointed out that you only cover half the court, but at the same time, good doubles players will say that singles players are also narrow dimensioned. There are no safe shots in doubles. You hit a loopy TS cross-court shot which would be a textbook neutral shot in singles is throwing up a melon in doubles. You have to thread the needle of keeping far enough away from the net person with a sharp angle, clear the net and keep the ball in the alley.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
The thing with dubs is that many players can and do get away without moving much. They don't realize that they could be far more effective doubles players if they did move more and change position. With singles you are forced to move by your opponent.

That being said the driest i ever walked off the court was after a singles match. Opponent was a big tall guy with a huge serve and FH. But limited control. Every service point was a ace/winner or DF. Every return game was a hammered return winner or into the back of the fence. I felt like a spectator. I think it ended up being a close match but it had nothing to do with anything I did.
Watch a good doubles match and the players are constantly moving. Their movements are shorter but quicker.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
Singles and doubles separating has been happening for a long time. I think the last time someone won Grand Slam titles in both men's singles and men's doubles in the same season was Stefan Edberg in 1987 - and that was the last year he played on the doubles tour seriously.
For what it's worth, I think the specialization also has to do with the risk:reward for a lot of players. Take the US Open prize money for example.

A singles player will get $130,000 more dollars for making the singles quarterfinals than if they won the whole doubles championship. Likewise you'll get more money for being in the Round of 128 in singles than making the doubles quarterfinals.

These major tournaments can be exhausting for players who go deep into the draw, and it's a financially questionable gamble for the top players to not focus on singles.
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
In recreation league play, singles and doubles are 2 different game.

The most glaring difference is how points are constructed and how it ends. Singles at times its less tactical, whereas doubles you will need some sort of game plan. Most singles players in recreational level doesnt do well in doubles mostly because of court positioning (never taught); most doubles players cannot meet the physical demand to play singles.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Let's not forget the problem solving required in doubles.

Say you have an active poacher at net. He is menacing you, picking off your return and any groundstrokes that is not perfect. What to do?

An experienced doubles player knows there are options beyond hitting harder, going DTL, or lobbing. You can return from closer to the service line, which takes away time and opens better angles. You can hit short slice, which is harder for many people to volley. You can play two back and try to defend the poaches better. And you can follow your return in to cut down on his ability to poach while you are stuck at baseline.

In doubles, it is fun to figure it out.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Let's not forget the problem solving required in doubles.
My issue with problem solving in doubles is relying on your partner to agree with the solution.

I have one partner, let's call him "Beck...no wait Bobby". Bobby likes to only serve out wide from doubles alley to opposing doubles alley. This gives the receiver all sorts of great options on returns. If I shade to the center, he has a gaping hole DTL. If i cover DTL the whole court opens up. So I'm rarely involved when Bobby is serving. We lose Bobby's service games routinely because 1) he always loses baseline rallies, 2) if i poach I often get passed DTL, 3) If I don't get passed DTL i'm usually making a stretch volley that isn't strong enough to put the point away.

Of course Bobby blames my ineffective volleys or being passed DTL for not holding his serve, so his solution is for me to alley camp and let him win from the baseline, which never works. My solution is for him to stand closer to center and serve down the T. Does he ever agree to this strategy? Nope. Even though on my service games (which we routinely hold btw) I serve relentlessly down the T and give him plenty of sitters to put away. He just assumes he's an awesome poacher and I'm a ridiculously bad one.

But I definitely agree that problem solving in doubles is fun. I enjoy that aspect in mixed with my wife because unlike Bobby, my wife will at least listen to my suggestions and try them out.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
To that degree...there are fixes to cover weakness in doubles.

IMO there is no such thing as fixes in singles - you can buy more time with fixes to keep your point alive, it does not buy your point.
I'm not totally sure I'd put it that way. Rather, I would say that tactics kick in at a lower level in doubles.

The 'chess game' of singles doesn't really come to the fore until both opponents have fairly high levels of stamina, defence and shot tolerance.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
If none of those options exist for you, it's because you're playing hopelessly above your level.
Huh?

Sometimes an opponent’s shot is just better than your shot.

If you can change something and neutralize the opponent’s advantage, your level is just right.

This guy’s volleys were way better than my return from the baseline.

But my return from closer to the service line was better than his poach.

So what’s the problem?
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Huh?

Sometimes an opponent’s shot is just better than your shot.

If you can change something and neutralize the opponent’s advantage, your level is just right.

This guy’s volleys were way better than my return from the baseline.

But my return from closer to the service line was better than his poach.

So what’s the problem?
Your original post that I quoted seemed to imply that the options to hit harder, go DTL, or lob didn't exist. All I stated was that if neither of those options existed for a person, then that person was playing hopelessly above their level.

As a general rule, I never return serve from any farther back than I feel is necessary to handle the pace/placement of it. I assume that any return that isn't well placed will be poached, if not the first time I return it poorly, the next time for sure. Though I have seen lower level female dubs players (3.0 and even some 3.5s) get away with half-hearted returns of serve in women's dubs only to get a rude awakening when they step onto a mixed court and float those half-hearted returns over the middle.
 

roadto50

New User
But I can't help but conclude that doubles is far easier on the body and puts less demands of speed and endurance, by several factors, even if you play hard-core doubles with shading and net rushing. And I notice that UTR (but not NTRP) has separate ratings for doubles and singles, implying it is a separate game.

So how different are these skills? Is it really a separate game? It just seems that doubles inherently allows weaknesses to be covered up that singles doesn't, making me think a win or loss in doubles does not mean as much as singles.
Doubles is definitely easier on the body. I can play a without taking a drink. I'd die if I tried that in singles.

I used to think doubles took less skill than singles because I shared your view, that doubles inherently allows weaknesses to be covered. But having played more doubles lately at the 5.0 level, I disagree. Singles emphasize consistency. Doubles emphasize precision. There's things you can get away with in singles that you couldn't in doubles and vice versa. A bad return will be punished by the net person in doubles. That's not necessarily true in singles if you have the legs and can cover.

On that note, yes your weakness can be covered in dubs, but it can also be magnified. It's only covered if you have a partner capable of covering it. As an example, you could have bad movement but if your partner has incredible coverage (I see a lot at 9.0 with a 4.0 W and 5.0 M line up) then your lack of movement is covered. If you both have terrible movement, it's only made worse.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Your original post that I quoted seemed to imply that the options to hit harder, go DTL, or lob didn't exist. All I stated was that if neither of those options existed for a person, then that person was playing hopelessly above their level.

As a general rule, I never return serve from any farther back than I feel is necessary to handle the pace/placement of it. I assume that any return that isn't well placed will be poached, if not the first time I return it poorly, the next time for sure. Though I have seen lower level female dubs players (3.0 and even some 3.5s) get away with half-hearted returns of serve in women's dubs only to get a rude awakening when they step onto a mixed court and float those half-hearted returns over the middle.
Ok. What I meant by "didn't exist" was that you've tried them and they didn't work.
 

RyanRF

Professional
Doubles is definitely a different skill set. It emphasizes different things, and IMO technique is less important than tactics.

There are many players in my group that I beat comfortably in singles, but go even with in doubles. I actually don't mind this. Doubles play can accommodate a wider range of skill and fitness levels. If not for doubles, the number people in my area I could play competitively with would be cut in half.


As to which is easier or harder... I'd point to the pro tour. Occasionally you'll see two singles players pair up and go far. How frequently does the opposite happen?
 

Mark Bosko

New User
The biggest difference is doubles is a team sport vs individual competition. At the highest levels (pros), singles/doubles players have all the shots and movement. Obviously serve and return of serve tactics varies for singles vs doubles, and doubles has more set plays for poaching and you see more lobs. Stamina (longer matches, more balls hit) and court coverage (more court to cover) has more of a premium in singles.

You see recreational doubles players standing around because - take your pick: terrible shape, low level tennis ability, don't understand the game, there for social reasons, lazy, or ready to move on to pickle ball.
 
As to which is easier or harder... I'd point to the pro tour. Occasionally you'll see two singles players pair up and go far. How frequently does the opposite happen?
That's not an equivalency though since it is not true cause and effect. The better players play singles for the money; the doubles players are scavengers. So it could be just as likely that professional doubles players cannot switch to singles since they do not have the raw talent, that is why they "specialized" in doubles.
 

Mark Bosko

New User
That's not an equivalency though since it is not true cause and effect. The better players play singles for the money; the doubles players are scavengers. So it could be just as likely that professional doubles players cannot switch to singles since they do not have the raw talent, that is why they "specialized" in doubles.
Sock has singles talent, there are a few others men & women. $ is an issue.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I normally play doubles since that is much bigger for "rec" "club hackers" (to use the forum slang) but started moving into singles when I was advised my defensive game and fast movement is suitable for it.

I noticed even when playing good doubles teams that I secretly thought that I can beat these guys individually in singles. Of course if I say this aloud I get the "yeah but it's not singles, dude" wisecrack back at me.

But I can't help but conclude that doubles is far easier on the body and puts less demands of speed and endurance, by several factors, even if you play hard-core doubles with shading and net rushing. And I notice that UTR (but not NTRP) has separate ratings for doubles and singles, implying it is a separate game.

So how different are these skills? Is it really a separate game? It just seems that doubles inherently allows weaknesses to be covered up that singles doesn't, making me think a win or loss in doubles does not mean as much as singles.
Separate skills for sure. even the serving strategy is completely different. Volleys and heavy spin serves are paramount in doubles. and hitting returns accurately crosscourt in angles is another skill for doubles. Singles , big 1st serves flatter into spots is better serving strategy. and groundies in crosscourt patterns deep and consistent is important.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Sock has singles talent, there are a few others men & women. $ is an issue.
I believe I remember Sock saying that he would retire if/when he became irrelevant in singles...

I don't know where he is with things lately, as I haven't really heard much from him since last fall or so...

The money's the thing though, right?

In pro dubs, you need a good partner, you need to work out the schedules of two people instead of one to practice together and all that stuff, you split the already lesser prize money, you have to do the same grueling travel as on the singles circuit, you're twice as likely to have an injury/illness sideline your "team" as in singles, though the dubs game isn't as hard on the body, training is still rigorous...

If you can make the same money being 80 in the world in singles as you can being top 5 in the world in dubs (I have no idea if that's ACTUALLY true, I'm just saying...) why would you play dubs if you can play 80 and up singles?
 
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