Federer and Wawrinka had to play as a team to win this match despite both being vastly (VASTLY) superior at moving, striking the ball, and playing singles
For most of my tennis life, I have preferred singles by a wide margin to doubles. That gap is closing as I have gotten older and coached 9 non-consecutive years at the high school level. Here are a few very basic doubles tips I have come across for singles first players:
- Talk to your partner about where you intend to serve & ask your partner where she/he intends to serve – This makes holding much easier for your team as knocking off the return is easier if one has a good idea where the return is going
- “If the ball goes up, the ball comes down.” – Gil Downs This is not some proof for gravity, if your opponents float a ground stroke, return, or volley, it needs to be punished. This should end a point in your team’s favor and should add an intimidation factor to your team. Hitting at someone’s feet is a good call here if an obvious winner is not there.
- Be the World Wildlife Fund when returning. Directional returning can prevent poaching.
- Don’t be too macho to lob. I remember playing a lot of mixed doubles and men’s doubles from 2004-06. It was stunning how many fewer lobs 4 men produced on the doubles court. Why? It was not that lobbing was tactically bad, but my guess is that lobbing was viewed as a cop-out instead of ripping returns and/or passing shots.
- Move together. Sometimes when the ball is being directed to one’s partner, it is possible to become a spectator. Keeping some proximity to your partner helps cut off cheap winners from bad positioning.
Now, I need to just take my own advice instead of acting like I am playing singles with someone else on my side of the net.