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

Bjc3345

New User
But does the singles champ also have the same doubles proficiency?

I don't follow college tennis much but thinking about the few who have successfully transitioned to pro [John Isner, Stevie Johnson, Danielle Collins, Macky McDonald, Christian Garin, etc], how many of them were anywhere nearly as proficient in doubles in college?

[I checked McDonald and he won both singles and doubles [w/Redlicki] in 2016. But is that the norm?]
Isner won the NCAA doubles championship. Stevie Johnson won a few pac 10 doubles titles. McDonald you already looked up—actually won both. I didn’t check the other. Nearly all of the top doubles teams in college are the top few singles seeds.
 
For everyone commenting in here, I'm curious how many matches of each you played in the last couple of seasons of league play. In 2018 I played 12 singles matches and 9 doubles. In 2019 it was 6 singles and 8 doubles. Is there anyone with a similar split to mine arguing that doubles is more complex?
2019: 7 singles, 17 doubles
2018: 13 singles, 9 doubles
2017: 8 singles, 14 doubles
 

Creighton

Rookie
For everyone commenting in here, I'm curious how many matches of each you played in the last couple of seasons of league play. In 2018 I played 12 singles matches and 9 doubles. In 2019 it was 6 singles and 8 doubles. Is there anyone with a similar split to mine arguing that doubles is more complex?
I'm known as a great singles player in my area at 3.5. I went 5-0 in 2019 during the singles season 2-0 in the regular season then 3-0 at the district championship.

The irony is when I play up at 4.0, I'm almost always shifted to doubles. Definitely runs counterintuitive than what the other posters in this thread are claiming.
 
I'm known as a great singles player in my area at 3.5. I went 5-0 in 2019 during the singles season 2-0 in the regular season then 3-0 at the district championship.

The irony is when I play up at 4.0, I'm almost always shifted to doubles. Definitely runs counterintuitive than what the other posters in this thread are claiming.
And you didn't get bumped up to 4.0? Going 3-0 at Districts is pretty impressive.

The first reason that came to mind is that the 4.0 team already has better singles players and that you can be paired with a better doubles player.

Also, my argument was never that no singles player can play doubles; only that not all singles players do well in doubles.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
"Doubles don't count as much because they're not as good as the singles players," he told Kimmel. Do you really think the only reason the Bryan brothers weren't successful singles players is because of their speed? Or any other top doubles player? You think those guys were slow?
partly their speed. Partly their skill set That favors quick reactions and skilled hands over ground strokes.

if Doubles tennis paid out more than singles, you’d see the most skilled athletes there. Some would be today’s singles players that developed doubles skills and some would still be top doubles players.

we see the best players playing singles because it attracts the crowds as a more viewer friendly version of the game. Only tennis players appreciate doubles.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
For everyone commenting in here, I'm curious how many matches of each you played in the last couple of seasons of league play. In 2018 I played 12 singles matches and 9 doubles. In 2019 it was 6 singles and 8 doubles. Is there anyone with a similar split to mine arguing that doubles is more complex?

our club men’s leagues have each player on a team playing a set of singles followed by a set of doubles against another team. It’s a 50:50 split.

I do better at doubles than singles because I’m more clever than fast and play the net well.
 
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.
This all day long.

I'm in a USTA 4.0 team league. I live in a small town so there isn't a team locally so I piggybacked on a buddy's team. Sometimes we play together at men's night and we usually crush whoever we play but a couple weeks ago we lost to a couple guys we had no business losing to. My nerves got to me pretty bad and I just wasn't hitting my spots at all and their net guy was eating me alive. To make matters worse my partner plays doubles like singles. He's a pretty aggressive baseline and he's also a big guy but for whatever reason doesn't like playing at the net. Particularly when he is returning which sucks because he's pretty intimidating up there when he does play up there.

If it's just a pick up game or whatever, like someone else said, you can just let 'er rip and have fun and play loose and you usually play better when you do that but I'm doubles it's hard because of the psychology. I think a lot of people conflate aggressive with careless or reckless which is a recipe for failure.

In singles it's so much easier to just play. There's psychology and mental toughness required there too but it's different.
 

Bjc3345

New User
partly their speed. Partly their skill set That favors quick reactions and skilled hands over ground strokes.

if Doubles tennis paid out more than singles, you’d see the most skilled athletes there. Some would be today’s singles players that developed doubles skills and some would still be top doubles players.

we see the best players playing singles because it attracts the crowds as a more viewer friendly version of the game. Only tennis players appreciate doubles.
It would be all the best singles players. The Bryan brothers, with all due respect, would be selling insurance.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
For everyone commenting in here, I'm curious how many matches of each you played in the last couple of seasons of league play. In 2018 I played 12 singles matches and 9 doubles. In 2019 it was 6 singles and 8 doubles. Is there anyone with a similar split to mine arguing that doubles is more complex?
I will bite .... including tournaments not just league (fewer opportunities in league, eg. I am in multiple doubles only leagues including mixed)
2019 10 singles 47 doubles
2018 12 singles 53 doubles
2017 21 singles 32 doubles

My split is not similar but I definitely play singles and the Mixed matches skew the ratio ... I think one of the travesties of USTA league is how few opportunities for singles are available. Our fall leagues and now the 40+ league have only 1 singles line. Weekday league is only doubles.
 

struggle

Legend
The reason that doubles isn't on TV is that TV is driven by many that don't even play.

Those that play, a high percentage, realize that dubs is infinitely more fun to watch.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It would be all the best singles players. The Bryan brothers, with all due respect, would be selling insurance.
I disagree. The removal of speed would allow the folks with the best hands and quickest reflexes and best serves to excel. Baseline grinders like Schwartzman would be selling insurance.

But we'll never know because that's not how tennis evolved.
 

iNeverSlice

New User
I disagree. The removal of speed would allow the folks with the best hands and quickest reflexes and best serves to excel. Baseline grinders like Schwartzman would be selling insurance.

But we'll never know because that's not how tennis evolved.
One of the best returners in the world wouldn't excel at doubles?
 

Bjc3345

New User
The reason that doubles isn't on TV is that TV is driven by many that don't even play.

Those that play, a high percentage, realize that dubs is infinitely more fun to watch.
One of the best returners in the world wouldn't excel at doubles?
Apparently it’s entirely too complex for a singles pusher like Schwartzman. He’s too slow with his reflexes

Plus in singles you don’t have to hit “all of the shots” like you do in doubles so he would be completely out of his element. He just runs around and hits high safe balls to the center of the court.

I do wonder how guys like Federer and Nadal whose doubles experience has been largely playing with microphones on against Bill Gates or retired tennis players were able to each win gold medals in doubles. They must have learned the shots they don’t hit in singles and put a lot of time in studying the complexities of the doubles game. I suppose they are the exception though.


And to avoid any confusion this is all sarcasm level 10/10.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I do wonder how guys like Federer and Nadal whose doubles experience has been largely playing with microphones on against Bill Gates or retired tennis players were able to each win gold medals in doubles. They must have learned the shots they don’t hit in singles and put a lot of time in studying the complexities of the doubles game. I suppose they are the exception though.
Federer has great hands and quick reflexes and a great serve. He'd have been a star in doubles if that was the predominant game played for big money. His game definitely transitions well much like John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis

Nadal won a gold medal playing with one of the worlds best doubles players.

Other gold medals in doubles have been won by doubles masters including Woodford/Woodbridge, Nestor/Laroux, Bryan Brothers.

One of the best returners in the world wouldn't excel at doubles?
I don't think he would. He wouldn't have the net coverage, overhead angles, serve prowess, etc. His career record in doubles is pretty weak.

Again in the end it's unknowable so we all have to agree to disagree. I just think you'd get most of the top guys in there (because they are such elite athletes) but also a few surprises because it would be a different game.
 

Bjc3345

New User
The reason that doubles isn't on TV is that TV is driven by many that don't even play.

Those that play, a high percentage, realize that dubs is infinitely more fun to watch.
Hingis/Kounikova....perhaps. Otherwise, you can’t be serious! I think it’s more fun to p
Federer has great hands and quick reflexes and a great serve. He'd have been a star in doubles if that was the predominant game played for big money. His game definitely transitions well much like John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis

Nadal won a gold medal playing with one of the worlds best doubles players.

Other gold medals in doubles have been won by doubles masters including Woodford/Woodbridge, Nestor/Laroux, Bryan Brothers.



I don't think he would. He wouldn't have the net coverage, overhead angles, serve prowess, etc. His career record in doubles is pretty weak.

Again in the end it's unknowable so we all have to agree to disagree. I just think you'd get most of the top guys in there (because they are such elite athletes) but also a few surprises because it would be a different game.
And the world would never know Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Murray, Sampras and Agassi...among many others as the greatest of all time would be the Bryan Brothers.... ‍♂

I agree to disagree.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I'm known as a great singles player in my area at 3.5. I went 5-0 in 2019 during the singles season 2-0 in the regular season then 3-0 at the district championship.

The irony is when I play up at 4.0, I'm almost always shifted to doubles. Definitely runs counterintuitive than what the other posters in this thread are claiming.
This may be a silly question, but why would a 3.5 player playing up on a 4.0 level team play the singles line? The only reasons I can think of are that you're really a 4.0 playing at 3.5 (waiting to be bumped) or the 4.0 team has no singles players. What am I missing?
 

struggle

Legend
Hingis/Kounikova....perhaps. Otherwise, you can’t be serious! I think it’s more fun to p


And the world would never know Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Murray, Sampras and Agassi...among many others as the greatest of all time would be the Bryan Brothers.... ‍♂

I agree to disagree.
One most only refer to Martina Navratilova (The GOAT) and Johnny Mac to know the truth.

Masters of the craft, no matter the discipline..

Just because the MEN you mentioned are at the top of the singles game doesn't change anything
that is real.

Everyone that plays the game knows. Like i mentioned, singles is so popular on TV due to ratings, mostly
by people that never even play the game.

Otherwise, yes the MEN you mentioned would play dubs instead. It's about $$. (have you ever split a purse?)
 

iNeverSlice

New User
One most only refer to Martina Navratilova (The GOAT) and Johnny Mac to know the truth.

Masters of the craft, no matter the discipline..

Just because the MEN you mentioned are at the top of the singles game doesn't change anything
that is real.

Everyone that plays the game knows. Like i mentioned, singles is so popular on TV due to ratings, mostly
by people that never even play the game.

Otherwise, yes the MEN you mentioned would play dubs instead. It's about $$. (have you ever split a purse?)
People watch singles because it's a much better game to watch. World class doubles is not exactly filled with drama. There are very few long points. Almost every point is bang-bang. The really good points are amazing, but they're few and far between. Singles is much more fan-friendly.
 

Bjc3345

New User
One most only refer to Martina Navratilova (The GOAT) and Johnny Mac to know the truth.

Masters of the craft, no matter the discipline..

Just because the MEN you mentioned are at the top of the singles game doesn't change anything
that is real.

Everyone that plays the game knows. Like i mentioned, singles is so popular on TV due to ratings, mostly
by people that never even play the game.

Otherwise, yes the MEN you mentioned would play dubs instead. It's about $$. (have you ever split a purse?)
Never split a purse but I know half of something is less than something.

Not surprising to me that the few high level singles players that committed to playing doubles (Martina N and Martina H....along with McEnroe) are among the greats of all time at doubles. My point is if doubles were the premier focus the current greats in singles would be the greats in doubles. Not the specialists that we have now. They’d be a cut below because they just aren’t as good.

I play the game and not sure I know what you are referring to in terms of what is real.

For what it’s worth I think doubles is more fun to play. I can play multiple matches in a day. Definitely not more fun to watch.
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
I'm known as a great singles player in my area at 3.5. I went 5-0 in 2019 during the singles season 2-0 in the regular season then 3-0 at the district championship.

The irony is when I play up at 4.0, I'm almost always shifted to doubles. Definitely runs counterintuitive than what the other posters in this thread are claiming.
IME This is true for the 4.0 -> 4.5 playing up as well. And I am assuming 4.5 -> 5.0 too

This may be a silly question, but why would a 3.5 player playing up on a 4.0 level team play the singles line? The only reasons I can think of are that you're really a 4.0 playing at 3.5 (waiting to be bumped) or the 4.0 team has no singles players. What am I missing?
Because he's a better singles player than doubles and might have a fighting chance in singles but if the opposite dbls line is playing at level then they are going to beat the crap out of him while his teammate watches.
Ask me how I know... ;)

Only chance playing singles playing up is if the singles specialist are out sick that day or the captain is sacrificing a line.
 

Creighton

Rookie
Also, my argument was never that no singles player can play doubles; only that not all singles players do well in doubles.
Yes. I get your argument, but I think you're aligning yourself with posters who are making much more aggressive arguments about doubles players being better than singles players.
 

Creighton

Rookie
This may be a silly question, but why would a 3.5 player playing up on a 4.0 level team play the singles line? The only reasons I can think of are that you're really a 4.0 playing at 3.5 (waiting to be bumped) or the 4.0 team has no singles players. What am I missing?
You're missing the argument from the opposing posters in this thread. They're arguing that 4.0 doubles is harder to win at than 4.0 singles. Using their logic, naturally you would play a singles player at singles because he would be better suited for it than the complicated doubles he's not prepared to play.

But like you said, in reality it's generally easier and more effective to put people at doubles that are new to a level or are playing up. Generally, the singles players on a team are among the best players on the team and least likely to be replaced by a player playing up.
 

Crazy Finn

Professional
Speaking as someone who has captained a team that's below 4.0, usually the new guys say "I've mostly played singles, haven't played much doubles." Then we usually give them either singles 2 or doubles 3, because they're probably not good at doubles.
 
Yes. I get your argument, but I think you're aligning yourself with posters who are making much more aggressive arguments about doubles players being better than singles players.
The crux of my argument was not about which class of players is better but the complexities of both games and how different skill sets are rewarded. If you perceive that as aligning myself, so be it.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Foot injuries caused her to lose her speed. Never lost her smarts or skills.
I feel you, but she wasn't a specialist. These people who'd been on the circuit all that time should've thwarted her. She had stronger competition when she was balancing the too. So the doubles field has gotten weaker.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - I. Montoya, *The Princess Bride*

How are you defining "random"? I would define it as picking a partner name out of a hat and then the following tournament, repeating the process.

Looking at Hingis' wiki page for her comeback years, she won 4 Women's Doubles slams from 2015-2017 with two partners: Mirza and Chan. She also won 41 matches in a row with Mirza. Not random at all.

In MXDs, she won 6: 4 with Paes and 2 with Murray [Jamie]. Again, not random at all.

You're missing me. These weren't any established partnerships from before she retired. They were new to her. So they were random. Hell, half of them approached her. She only approached Jamie and Chan. Wasn't like these were people she'd scoped out for years, either.

@Swerve—the first part of my post is McEnroe quotes and then I’m being as sarcastic as I could be. I agree with McEnroe.
Cool stuff. Had a feeling we were on the same page.
 
You're missing me. These weren't any established partnerships from before she retired. They were new to her. So they were random. Hell, half of them approached her. She only approached Jamie and Chan. Wasn't like these were people she'd scoped out for years, either.
For me, random would have been changing partners every tournament and pulling names out of a hat in choosing partners. Winning 41 matches consecutively with the same partner is the antithesis of random to me.

So you're saying Mirza and Paes were random because she did not approach them...but Mirza and Paes certainly didn't pick her randomly, did they?
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
If you define "actual technical skills" to be independent of tactical ability, then yes, you could consider singles to be more demanding.

However, I include tactical ability as part of actual tennis skills which is why I consider doubles, in some aspects, to be more demanding.

It all depends on how you define and look at things.
To me tactics is about knowledge, skill is about execution

There are games like chess or bridge or sailing where tactics do represent a genuine skill, but I think we would be kidding ourselves to portray recreational tennis as being anywhere comparable to those
 
To me tactics is about knowledge, skill is about execution

There are games like chess or bridge or sailing where tactics do represent a genuine skill, but I think we would be kidding ourselves to portray recreational tennis as being anywhere comparable to those
Fair enough.

I wasn't claiming doubles was like chess [a binary outlook: it either is true or false] but rather doubles had more chess-like qualities than singles [a continuum outlook].

I've spent an hour on one move in a chess game before, calculating out 6 or so moves. I'm not claiming this is what I do in doubles. But I do way more calculating in doubles than I do in singles and I think it improves my doubles. One opponent even complimented me on my understanding of court geometry. No one's ever said that to me in singles.

You could argue that high-level doubles players don't think this much and just play "naturally". Again, fair enough: I'm not that good. And even if I was for that particular match, I'd still have a partner to worry about. Now I need to take the partner into account when calculating.
 

Creighton

Rookie
I've spent an hour on one move in a chess game before, calculating out 6 or so moves.

I feel like I do much more strategy like this in singles than I do in doubles. In doubles my opponent's net man will severely limit my options and the points tend to be quicker in general so it's more reactions.

But in singles, I'll think alright, "I'm going to trade two ground strokes to his forehand in the deuce courts so I can open up the ad court to hit it to his backhand then I'm going to move in for a volley."
 
I feel like I do much more strategy like this in singles than I do in doubles. In doubles my opponent's net man will severely limit my options and the points tend to be quicker in general so it's more reactions.

But in singles, I'll think alright, "I'm going to trade two ground strokes to his forehand in the deuce courts so I can open up the ad court to hit it to his backhand then I'm going to move in for a volley."
I do the same thing in singles. But in doubles I have to worry about 3 variables rather than 1, any of which could upset the apple cart.

Anyways, I accept that not everyone views the differences the way I do. I'm glad I can play both competently.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
For me, random would have been changing partners every tournament and pulling names out of a hat in choosing partners. Winning 41 matches consecutively with the same partner is the antithesis of random to me.

So you're saying Mirza and Paes were random because she did not approach them...but Mirza and Paes certainly didn't pick her randomly, did they?
You're basically talking about her in '97 with the bold.

By your logic, I get you, but I'm talking about how she chose partners when she returned. She chose Chan and Jamie on a whim too. Normal doubles partners usually have a warming up period where they craft their relationships before the big tournaments. She was so far above the field that this ain't have to happen. You definitely notice how both those players you brought up declined after she left them too, yeah? No coincidences.

I don't know what Mirza and Paes were about. I was just talking about Hingis.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
What have you done to improve your ‘instinctual’ understanding of doubles? At your level, many of your team-mates and opponents likely have been coached on the proper way to play doubles. Have you read books like ‘The Art of Doubles’? Have you seen YouTube videos on doubles footwork at the net by experts like the Bryan brothers? When I captained USTA teams, I paid for a coach to come and do doubles drills with my team.

You got to work at it to improve in doubles as just playing matches against better players is not going to help you improve. Here are a couple of videos you might find useful to have proper footwork at the net that will then aid in making good poaching decisions.

All the best!
Admittedly, when it is not our 55+ league season, I play relatively little doubles because singles is just more fun, and especially this year as I'm trying to make a good run in the 60's. I've had coaching/lessons and doubles clinics under my belt but I still have the same issues. I believe they stem from not playing doubles up through the various skill categories. It's like I'm missing a fundamental piece of the progression in doubles skill, and that missing piece is in the prime developmental area of 3.5 to 4.0 where players learn how to time and implement the basic foundational movements like poaching, learn how to adapt to not hitting every ball, and develop the ability to instinctively understand where balls should go in specific situations.

Because I have problems instinctively knowing how I should move and where I should hit the ball, I also have problems instinctively anticipating where opponents will move and where they are likely to hit the ball. It's compounded by the compressed timeframe I have to figure it out. When I'm at the baseline and hit a forceful shot, I know that before my ball even reaches the net. In doubles, I don't know that until the ball crosses into my field of vision and I have the ability to see and recognize the shot. Maybe I can get some idea from the movement of my opponents but I'm typically not looking at the guy on the baseline - I'm focused on the opponent at the net on the other side and not the opponent at the baseline.

Thanks for those footwork videos. I've been instructed something very similar to that triangle movement pattern, and do try to be on my toes at all times. I do feel that it's a hard balance for me to achieve in that if I'm moving quickly like that for a few shots in a row but don't hit the ball, it seems to amp me up for the time I do hit the ball, and that results in my high miss ratio on that first shot.

I take it from reading this thread that I'm pretty unusual in that I've gotten to this level without any sort of tennis pedigree in my past. I think it's probably nowhere as apparent in the lack of tactical awareness as what I'm experiencing.
 

HelenCH

New User
I find doubles more challenging. I don't mind having more court to cover, it's having a big court in front of me, only one opponent and not worrying about what my partner is doing and whether my movement interferes with their game that makes singles easier. But I enjoy doubles, maybe one day I get better, I have a good serve to the T lol and his winter season I was planning to get on with it for real. I bought a book and with one of my teammates we signed up for a number of tournaments and challenges that were supposed to take place from November until March which of course all got cancelled, and I haven't been on court since December, so my doubles improvement is postponed))
 
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xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
100% a different game. Easier or not (ignoring endurance) depends on your skill set. The higher up you go, the easier it is. You're more likely to have a full skill set and are better at utilizing it in ways required to be successful in doubles. IMO, it's much easier to train someone for doubles than singles. If you know where to be, where to aim, what to look for, it's pretty simple, you just need to execute your shots. To be fair, the exact same can be said of singles, but doubles cuts out a lot of the setup that is required to put balls away in singles. Yeah, there is serve +1 in singles, but serve +poach in doubles is WAY more potent.
 

Bjc3345

New User
While I don’t agree that it’s 100% a different game (like tennis versus golf -not what you were suggesting I know), nor do I think you can ignore the need for endurance when assessing if something is more difficult or not (singles is definitely harder if for no other reason you need to be fit to play)....I think the other points you make are spot on. And perhaps that is what is leading to some of the disagreements on the board.

At a more advanced level—not sure what that level is exactly (4.0, 4.5, certainly 5.0)—I think it is a fairly easy transition to move to doubles and be successful for someone that is a high level singles player. Yes, it will take some time to get used to the nuances and certain shots you are not as accustomed to hitting...but a high level singles player will have the strokes to do it. For someone who only plays or principally plays doubles it would be very difficult if not impossible to move to high level single and be successful. Aside from the reason they focus on doubles is likely fitness/endurance related already, the shots needed to be hit on the move, consistency of rally’s as well as it just being a bit of a different game is. Doubles specialists at the pro level are that because they couldn’t make it in high level singles or they are past their singles prime and have chosen to focus on doubles.
What does occur to me is that a beginner or intermediate player that has played only singles..when they step on to a doubles court they will likely look out of place until they learn the game and/or develop their strokes. They likely won’t have the return precision, perhaps the net game, positioning/communication, ability to get into a flow with the shorter points, starts and stops, less serve reps....as well as the nerves of having a partner to support many have discussed.

Perhaps that is why there is so much disagreement here?

My case has always been there are nuances and complexities to both. For singles, yes that includes but is not limited to endurance/fitness, for doubles there is the partner/team element and other strategies that develop the more you play. In the end the best singles players will also be the best doubles players (at a certain level). As I love hypothetical arguments that I can’t be proven wrong in...I’m going to say that if the singles game was eliminated 10 years ago and all tennis pros played were doubles. The top 50 would be about 95% of the singles players. Though there may be a rare exception of players that were just so skillful at the doubles game (Leander Paes who may be the quickest net player ever, the Bryan Brothers, Lisa Raymond—-that could possibly break top 50..and the flip side of a few singles players where the game doesn’t translate at as high a level).
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
At a more advanced level—not sure what that level is exactly (4.0, 4.5, certainly 5.0)—I think it is a fairly easy transition to move to doubles and be successful for someone that is a high level singles player.
The level will be the one where your serve starts to be a weapon. As soon as that happens, it makes everything easier for a quick net player regardless of his skills.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
The level will be the one where your serve starts to be a weapon. As soon as that happens, it makes everything easier for a quick net player regardless of his skills.
Yes and no.

At every level there are those whose serves are a weapon (for that level) they make life easy for their partners for exactly 25% of the match.

You still need to deal with the other 75% of the match. If you suck at doubles and constantly hit to the wrong targets at the wrong time you will still be losing 6-2; 6-2 .... but you held your serve, yay.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Yes and no.

At every level there are those whose serves are a weapon (for that level) they make life easy for their partners for exactly 25% of the match.

You still need to deal with the other 75% of the match. If you suck at doubles and constantly hit to the wrong targets at the wrong time you will still be losing 6-2; 6-2 .... but you held your serve, yay.
Presumably your partner also has a serve that is a weapon so now it's a 50-50 equation which is pretty much all high level doubles. Service breaks are just very hard to come by in advanced doubles due to the lethal combination of serve + poach. So now it's 7-6 6-7 10-8.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Presumably your partner also has a serve that is a weapon so now it's a 50-50 equation which is pretty much all high level doubles. Service breaks are just very hard to come by in advanced doubles due to the lethal combination of serve + poach. So now it's 7-6 6-7 10-8.
LOL ... did you look at my record and see how many tiebreakers I play??? But, not high level and not with partners with great serves!
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
My god that was a long answer, and yet it still misses the point entirely. I agree doubles can be confusing to a singles player who is new to doubles. But that doesn't make it more complex, it just means they're very different. Again, maybe some of this comes down to what level you play. You say tons of points are lost because of a shot down the middle that both players think the other will get or a lob that both think the other will get. I say that happens maybe once or twice a set at most.

In this context I'm defining complexity as a wider variety of choices and decisions that need to be made in real-time. It's not even close between singles and doubles. When you play singles often, you're going to see a ton of different styles that your different opponents play, and you need to adjust on the fly against them. And they can change their style in the middle of a match multiple times. But every doubles team I play against plays almost exactly the same style and strategy. Every one. Who wins is determined by who executes better, not by who has superior tactics. Everyone knows and uses pretty much the same tactics. That in itself makes it less complex. I have never left a doubles match mentally exhausted. Never.
Disagree.

In doubles, you have to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies of twice as many opponents. You also have to notice and compensate for your partners tendencies.

I play differently when I have different types of partners, for example. And I have to also figure out what to do with two different opponents, who usually hit the ball differently from one another. And you have to do this when you are touching the ball half as much as in singles.

And you have to make tradeoffs because of your partner. Like, say partner is alley camping And is bad at net. Best serve for me is out wide, which places partner closer to where she should be. But that is opponents lethal FH, which will be tough for me because of the angle On the return. But maybe if I S&V, I can reach the wide return. In singles, it’s easier — just don’t serve to the lethal FH.

If you’ve never left a doubles match mentally exhausted, you’re missing a lot in your matches.
 

Creighton

Rookie
If you’ve never left a doubles match mentally exhausted, you’re missing a lot in your matches.
Or maybe we're just good enough not to have to stress about inconsequential things?

You're definitely making doubles out to be more than it actually is in reality. When you're serving and volley in doubles the last thing you want to do is serve out wide and give the opponent bigger angles to return the ball. Plus your opponents aren't going to be good enough to rip winners off serves down the t down the line.
 

Bjc3345

New User
Disagree.

In doubles, you have to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies of twice as many opponents. You also have to notice and compensate for your partners tendencies.

I play differently when I have different types of partners, for example. And I have to also figure out what to do with two different opponents, who usually hit the ball differently from one another. And you have to do this when you are touching the ball half as much as in singles.

And you have to make tradeoffs because of your partner. Like, say partner is alley camping And is bad at net. Best serve for me is out wide, which places partner closer to where she should be. But that is opponents lethal FH, which will be tough for me because of the angle On the return. But maybe if I S&V, I can reach the wide return. In singles, it’s easier — just don’t serve to the lethal FH.

If you’ve never left a doubles match mentally exhausted, you’re missing a lot in your matches.
If you have a partner that is alley camping AND they are bad at net (this player is not very good)...almost by default you will not be in a situation where there is a “lethal” forehand on the other side of the net and you have the ability to locate your serve the way you suggest.
 

iNeverSlice

New User
Disagree.

In doubles, you have to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies of twice as many opponents. You also have to notice and compensate for your partners tendencies.

I play differently when I have different types of partners, for example. And I have to also figure out what to do with two different opponents, who usually hit the ball differently from one another. And you have to do this when you are touching the ball half as much as in singles.

And you have to make tradeoffs because of your partner. Like, say partner is alley camping And is bad at net. Best serve for me is out wide, which places partner closer to where she should be. But that is opponents lethal FH, which will be tough for me because of the angle On the return. But maybe if I S&V, I can reach the wide return. In singles, it’s easier — just don’t serve to the lethal FH.

If you’ve never left a doubles match mentally exhausted, you’re missing a lot in your matches.
As i said, our disagreement could be because of the difference in levels. I don't play differently no matter who I'm playing with or who I'm against. There is an optimal way to play doubles, and if you're good enough then everyone is playing the same way.
I don't exactly understand your example. Your partner is alley camping AND bad at the net yet you can place your serve consistently and your opponent has a lethal forehand? Is your partner on a lower level playing up?
I'm not leaving mentally exhausted because doubles isn't chess. The strategy is fairly simple and everyone knows it. Executing it can be very difficult, but the strategy is very straightforward.
 
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xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
While I don’t agree that it’s 100% a different game (like tennis versus golf -not what you were suggesting I know), nor do I think you can ignore the need for endurance when assessing if something is more difficult or not (singles is definitely harder if for no other reason you need to be fit to play)....I think the other points you make are spot on. And perhaps that is what is leading to some of the disagreements on the board.

At a more advanced level—not sure what that level is exactly (4.0, 4.5, certainly 5.0)—I think it is a fairly easy transition to move to doubles and be successful for someone that is a high level singles player. Yes, it will take some time to get used to the nuances and certain shots you are not as accustomed to hitting...but a high level singles player will have the strokes to do it. For someone who only plays or principally plays doubles it would be very difficult if not impossible to move to high level single and be successful. Aside from the reason they focus on doubles is likely fitness/endurance related already, the shots needed to be hit on the move, consistency of rally’s as well as it just being a bit of a different game is. Doubles specialists at the pro level are that because they couldn’t make it in high level singles or they are past their singles prime and have chosen to focus on doubles.
What does occur to me is that a beginner or intermediate player that has played only singles..when they step on to a doubles court they will likely look out of place until they learn the game and/or develop their strokes. They likely won’t have the return precision, perhaps the net game, positioning/communication, ability to get into a flow with the shorter points, starts and stops, less serve reps....as well as the nerves of having a partner to support many have discussed.

Perhaps that is why there is so much disagreement here?

My case has always been there are nuances and complexities to both. For singles, yes that includes but is not limited to endurance/fitness, for doubles there is the partner/team element and other strategies that develop the more you play. In the end the best singles players will also be the best doubles players (at a certain level). As I love hypothetical arguments that I can’t be proven wrong in...I’m going to say that if the singles game was eliminated 10 years ago and all tennis pros played were doubles. The top 50 would be about 95% of the singles players. Though there may be a rare exception of players that were just so skillful at the doubles game (Leander Paes who may be the quickest net player ever, the Bryan Brothers, Lisa Raymond—-that could possibly break top 50..and the flip side of a few singles players where the game doesn’t translate at as high a level).
If we include endurance, then there isn't even a contest. I also don't agree that the top 50 would be 95% dominated by singles players, unless we're looking at the top 1000 ATP, though many top doubles players could easily fall into that category. What you need for doubles are primarily the serve, return, and volley. The importance of groundstrokes, movement, and general fitness are drastically reduced. For a LOT of singles players, that just guts the only reason that they're good. Djokovic, Nadal, and obviously Federer would still be fine, but Nishikori? Sure, the top 100 can learn to improve and hit better volleys, but I feel like there's still a good chunk of doubles players that can still stay relevant due to their ability to hit solid returns and volleys. For sure though, a good chunk of the top 50 would be taken up by singles players who already were capable of playing the net and having a good serve/volley or singles players who could learn to improve the needed skills to the level necessary and aren't relying on their movement and fitness to be a strong player.

The level will be the one where your serve starts to be a weapon. As soon as that happens, it makes everything easier for a quick net player regardless of his skills.
More so the level where the serve can consistently be placed and the net player can consistently finish easy shots and first volleys. Unless your serve is able to score a service winner off of half your serves, the easier service game to hold tends to be the one with the weak server with an strong net man rather than the strong server with a weak net man.

Same exact thing holds true in singles. The strongest service games are those with a good serve to set up, followed by a strong first forehand/volley to take control of the point. It's not the ones where the guy hits a big serve then does the minimum with the sitter first ball.

Disagree.

In doubles, you have to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies of twice as many opponents. You also have to notice and compensate for your partners tendencies.

I play differently when I have different types of partners, for example. And I have to also figure out what to do with two different opponents, who usually hit the ball differently from one another. And you have to do this when you are touching the ball half as much as in singles.

And you have to make tradeoffs because of your partner. Like, say partner is alley camping And is bad at net. Best serve for me is out wide, which places partner closer to where she should be. But that is opponents lethal FH, which will be tough for me because of the angle On the return. But maybe if I S&V, I can reach the wide return. In singles, it’s easier — just don’t serve to the lethal FH.

If you’ve never left a doubles match mentally exhausted, you’re missing a lot in your matches.
Maybe you could communicate with your partner that if they don't wanna be at net, to not put them there. Change your strategy and play two back and serve to the returner's backhand. If they want to get better, tell them where to stand and let them have practice at that volley all day.

In the end, this argument seems pretty exclusive to lower level doubles. Then we come down to whether we should limit ourselves to lower level rec doubles, the most played form of doubles, or to high level competitive doubles. Yes, there is some level of adaptation to your partner and your opponents, but there are still plays that are good regardless of your partner and opponents. Maybe the amount of difficulty to execute will shift if your partner has a better/worse serve/return/volley, but the playbook should remain mostly unchanged and you should be continuing on with mostly the same plays.

As i said, our disagreement could be because of the difference in levels. I don't play differently no matter who I'm playing with or who I'm against. There is an optimal way to play doubles, and if you're good enough then everyone is playing the same way.
I don't exactly understand your example. Your partner is alley camping AND bad at the net yet you can place your serve consistently and your opponent has a lethal forehand? Is your partner on a lower level playing up?
I'm not leaving mentally exhausted because doubles isn't chess. The strategy is fairly simple and everyone knows it. Executing it can be very difficult, but the strategy is very straightforward.
I think a solid number of low level servers can place a serve consistently. The lethal forehand can easily be lethal relative to the level, but everything else they have is terrible, or effectively nonexistent in other words.

Execution isn't all that difficult in my opinion (at least relative to singles). Yes, returns are a bit harder, but almost everything else is easier because you are already in position before the opponent hits the ball, or your partner is in position to clean up before your ball is on your opponent's racket. Yeah, defense is harder, but you're realistically not meant to win a large percentage of those points. You just do your best to stay in the point and pray for a gift and move on.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
LOL ... did you look at my record and see how many tiebreakers I play??? But, not high level and not with partners with great serves!
You and I are not at that level yet ;) . We are at the level where the occasional partner has a great serve but generally sucks bad elsewhere in his game to compensate. When players are all good AND have a strong serve, then a singles player will transition easily to doubles.
 
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