Tennis Q and A
I can generally hit a good lob. I usually get it over my opponent’s head in such a way that she cannot smash the ball. But even my best lobs rarely seem to help me ultimately win the point. My opponent is able to track the lob down and loop a reply, and suddenly we’re back to square one again. What can I do to keep the initiative I have seized by playing a good lob?
Your opponent is running towards the baseline, with her back to the net — you are definitely in command of the point. And you will continue to dominate the rally if you do one little thing – move to the net position as your opponent moves towards her baseline. Your moving in for a volley forces an opponent who has her back to the net to attempt a good lob or passing shot, by no means an easy thing to do. Players will often miss in this situation, or present you with an easy volley. But if you stay back at the baseline, she will not be under pressure to do something aggressive. Any half-decent shot will see the rally “back to square one”, as you put it. So as your opponent moves towards the baseline – follow her!
Serving in doubles and serving in singles are two different sides of the same coin.
In doubles it’s vital to get a high percentage of first deliveries into play. If you are forced to hit a lot of second serves, the receiver will be able to pressurize your partner at the net with an aggressive return. A high percentage of first serves in also makes it easier for you to serve and volley – an important aspect of good doubles play.
So what should you do in order to get lots of first serves in?
Add some spin to the shot. This will automatically take some pace off it, while the spin helps with control.
Here’s my favourite practice exercise for working on this aspect of doubles play: play a set of doubles where the server has only one serve per point.
To the non-tennis player, doubles can look just like singles only with twice the amount of players! In fact, there are many subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the two, and the serve is one area where you need different plans for singles and doubles.
Stand and Deliver!
In a baseline rally, should you try to play from near the baseline or from farther back behind the baseline? There are always situations in which you will want to back off and give yourself a little more time, but keep in mind that there are many advantages to taking up a position near the baseline:
1. The earlier you hit the ball, the quicker it will get to your opponent.
2. You will be quicker to move forward and attack a short ball.
3. Your opponent’s shots cannot pull you as wide as when you are farther back.
4. You will be able to hit more widely angled shots.
5. You will be hitting the ball at a higher point, allowing you potentially to attack more.
6. Rallying from near the baseline sends your opponent a message – you are an attacking player!