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||EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:
Return of Serve in Doubles
John Mills, USPTA
You are receiving the serve in doubles - where should you return the
ball and where should you go after hitting it?
In general, do not come forward after being pulled into the corner of
the service square. Stay back and wait for a better opportunity. Also
remember that when you move inside the baseline to return a serve and you
are successful, you should not wait in the "No Man's Land." Either move
forward to volley or move back to hit a full groundstroke or lob.
- In general, when the serve is hit reasonably close to you (a step
or a step and a half away) then you always have the option of moving
forward toward the net to take a volley position.
- If you are returning this serve as in example 1, and you are often
not being successful coming in and making the volley, then your other
option is to stay back (behind the baseline). From here, you can hit a
full stroke or a lob and still go to the net later in the point.
- If the serve is hit well and pulling you way outside the court,
you have two good options. First, you can lob over the opposing net
player. By returning the wide serve crosscourt, you are hitting to a
very small area of the court and your partner will have no clue which
side to cover. If the lob you hit is good and deep, you can take
control of the net. If the lob you hit is short, you can warn your
partner (saying "short") allowing them to move back out of harms way
(playing defensively). When you return the wide serve as a down the
line groundstroke, you are taking away the "poach" and you are
allowing your partner to cut off anything that goes down the middle.
- If the serve is hit so as to pull you toward the center of the court,
throw up a lob. This will give your team time to reposition and wait
for a better shot to attack.
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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.
John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.