Doubles From the Baseline
As tennis became a more powerful sport, with young juniors growing up booming groundstrokes from the baseline, it's not uncommon to now see all 4 players playing doubles from the baseline. What happened to the net strategy? What has changed to make a baseliner think they can win doubles by hitting groundstrokes?
Many of the young players have a lot of power from the baseline. Yes they could play net if they absolutely had to, but they are more of a threat from the back court. Plus it’s generally easier to track down lobs side to side rather than running up and back.
The baseline doubles game is turning into a more common strategy amongst young ladies. It’s not so effective in the men’s game or mixed doubles because the woman has less of a chance to overpower the man, and any lady playing mixed is used to more power already. In men’s and mixed it’s generally going to still be true that the team who controls the net will be more successful.
If your doubles partner is a baseliner, and you’re an aggressive net player, you may have to adjust your game slightly. Don’t force a baseliner into a volley position if they are uncomfortable. Instead, use their power to set up the shots at net for you to put away.
And if you come up against a doubles team who always plays back, try mixing up your strategy. Hitting deep groundstrokes to them is playing right into their strength. Try taking off some pace, or hitting high moonballs, and then come back with a short angle volley. Moving the baseliners up and back will take them out of their comfort zone.
Giving up the net is not a good strategy for everyone. However, if you have powerful groundstrokes, it could be a good tactic to throw off your opponent, and often intimidate them.
Have fun on the courts!
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