Racquets Director’s Diary
It’s great to see all the courts busy again now the club has reopened. I hope all Members are enjoying tennis again. The weather has also been lovely, and with the grass courts opening next month and the Padel courts being completed there’s a lot to look forward to at the Club this summer.
Club Championships 2021
We have now set the dates for the Club Championships. This will take place the week of 19th June to 26th June. We plan to have plenty of events so everyone will have a chance to compete, with some social events going on throughout the week. More information will be available in May.
There are still some spaces left in some junior groups for the summer term (19th April until 11th July). Please see the table below to view availability.
Doubles – Return of Serve
A key to winning doubles matches is the ability to break your opponents’ serve. Therefore, a team’s tactics when returning of serve is important.
Players should mix up angle returns cross court with down-the-line returns. Another option is to hit lob returns over the net player down the line. These options keep the ball away from the net player and create a high level of uncertainty for the serving team.
Second shot options
Power – After the server’s first volley both players on the serving team are usually at the net (if the serving team is using the serve and volley tactic). When the receiver stays back, they have several groundstroke options. If the receiver gets the ball again after the initial return a good place to hit the ball is with power down the middle of the court between the net players. Or you can hit the ball directly at the net player to challenge his reaction and coordination.
Precision – When hitting with precision the returner should aim to hit the ball around the players and not between them. They can do this by using a down-the-line shot past the net player, an angled shot cross court pulling the server out wide creating gaps through the middle. Or a lob if the net players are very close to the net. The receiver can also choose to come in off the return and hit a volley as the second shot. This is a great option if you can keep the return low and force the server to play ‘up’ so you can volley down to them giving less reaction time.
Receiver’s partner – Often the second shot will be played by the receiver’s partner. However, if the return is weak the receiver’s partner is put into a difficult volleying situation sometimes referred to as ‘the hot seat’. This is because they are usually positioned at the service line, the opponent’s volley is often directed towards their body or feet. In this situation the returner partner needs to react as quickly as possible and block the ball back, forcing the serving team to hit one more ball. If they can the blocked ball should be directed down the line to the baseline player to avoid giving the net player another high volley. If the returner hits a low angled return the returner’s partner should move forward to try and volley the next ball while they are closer to the net and more central.
If you want to play better doubles you must build these tactical decisions into your game and practice them in your matches.
Dan Lott, Racquets Director