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Tips for Getting into the Net in Doubles

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John Mills, USPTA

In doubles - you are back (near the baseline) and your partner is up (near the net). Your opponents are up and back. You can come to the net to join your partner by way of: a serve & volley, a short ball, approaching the net after a serve return, or approaching the net after your partner hits an offensive shot.

  • Scenario #1: The opposing deep player sends you a high ball to the outside of the court. YOUR RESPONSE - return it offensively to the outside of the short player. If it is returned, either you or your partner need to send it back to the same half of the court where the short player is standing.

  • Scenario #2: The opposing deep player sends you a low ball to the outside of the court. YOUR RESPONSE - return it soft and wide ("touch shot") cross court to beat the deep player standing behind the baseline. If the deep player runs to the short ball, you move to cut off the middle. Your partner moves to cut off the down the line.

  • Scenario #3: The opposing deep player sends you a high ball to the inside of the court. YOUR RESPONSE - return it offensively at the feet of the short player who will be standing directly in front of you. If the short player returns the ball, then you and your partner must hit back to the same half of the court where the short player is standing.

  • Scenario #4: The opposing deep player sends you a low ball to the inside of the court. YOUR RESPONSE - send it back defensively in the same general direction it came from. (In general, that will be the deep player.) Note: expect a lob in this position. The most difficult position in tennis to win from is the low ball down the middle. Just return it safely to the deep player to neutralize the rally and wait for a better opportunity to win the point. At this point expect a lob return.

In summation: the biggest reason why "club players" do not enjoy coming to the net is that they get lobbed over too often. These scenarios are designed to prevent your opponents from lobbing you so much when you and your partner are at the net and your opponents are in the up and back positions.

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

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.


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