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In doubles tennis, you and a partner play against a team of two players on the other side of the net, using the full court between the baseline and the doubles sidelines.
Doubles is more of a finesse game and involves a bit more strategy than singles.
Maneuverability and stability are two of the most important key aspects to look for when searching for the best tennis racquet for doubles.
You need to be able to move the racquet around quickly for fast exchanges at the net. You also need to have a decent amount of punch on the ball to put points away and to volley hard-hit shots.
Doubles Tennis vs Singles Tennis
Stamina is not as important in Doubles
The endurance aspect of regular doubles matches is not nearly the same as that needed for singles.
Training time in doubles can best be spent working on your reactions so you can play up close to the net. Working on quick reflexes is key.
Netplay is conducive to a lighter racquet since you can move it around faster when the ball is coming at you quickly.
You have less time to react, so you need a lighter racquet for maneuverability.
Return of Serve
The return of serve in doubles is a lot more important than in singles as you have so much less court to hit into.
The areas are so much smaller because you have an extra person on the court.
You can’t get away with neutral returns as the guy at the net will put the ball away – so you need to be aggressive and put the ball away first.
The lighter racquet will also help you in the return of serve because you can get your racquet head out in front faster.
Perception of the Ball
Doubles players need to see the ball come off their opponent’s racquets more carefully than when playing singles.
The surface is less of a factor in doubles than it is in singles because the ball isn’t bouncing as much.
Going from a clay surface to a grass surface means the ball doesn’t bounce as much either because the ball on grass skids, so you have less time to react.
This factor is just another reason you need a lighter racquet for doubles play.
Take a quick look at some of the best doubles points ever to see the fast-paced reaction time that is needed at the net!
All doubles players must master two shots
The serve and the return are the two most important shots in doubles tennis. Your first volley is super important as well.
For most volleys, you are in between extreme offense or pure defense.
Your choice of volley will more often than not be dictated by the quality of your opponent’s shot.
On difficult shots, you are reacting to the shot -again, calling for a lighter racquet with great maneuverability for your choice in a doubles racquet.
String technology has increased the power and spin of returns for groundstrokes.
The string you use in the racquet you choose for doubles will need to be conducive to the choice you make in choosing the racquet itself.
Fundamentals of doubles tennis
Poach — Poaching is when the net player moves out of position to volley the ball. On most poaches the net player will move from the deuce side to the ad side or vice versa.
Wait as long as you can before making a move. If you leave too early, you run the risk of being passed down the line.
A poach is always a volley shot. The racquet that allows you to react quickly is an appropriate racquet for use in doubles.
Serve placement — Vary your serve placement of first and second serves. You never want to become too predictable. Serve the ball deep and try to go for the returner’s body and/or backhand side.
Serve and volley — Serve and volley is the gold standard in professional doubles. Your opponent will be forced to constantly hit good returns and it will set up your net player for easier volleys.
Divide the court into three zones
Think of the court as divided into three zones or sections – depth-wise. The depth of one side of a tennis court is (net to baseline) is 39 feet. The first zone is to the net and 13 feet back.
The second zone is the next 13 feet of space, which will be around the middle of the court.
The third zone is the last 13 feet until you get to the baseline.
Instead of randomly hitting the ball with no thought in mind to depth, think of which zone you want your opponent to be hitting the return in. If it’s the first zone near the net, you’ll be hitting a soft shot like a drop shot.
If in zone two (the middle of the court) you would hit a groundstroke with very little pace. This is the zone that will catch your opponent off guard.
They will either have to come to the net or go to the baseline because they will be stuck in ‘no man’s land” (in between the baseline and the service line).
Know when to switch
There are occasions when players need to switch sides to cover for the other player. This often happens during poaches, lobs and shots that your partner can’t retrieve.
Secret hand signals help communicate — Have hand signals to show where you want your partner to serve and where the net player is going to move after the serve.
Doubles is a game of control — The doubles player needs to hit with less pace and to encourage a greater emphasis on ball placement.
Seniors playing doubles
Many seniors choose to play doubles because it does not involve quite as much court movement for each player.
Singles can be a game of sheer power and speed. However, doubles competition is athletically challenging and can be very rigorous when played well.
If you are a singles player who lacks finesse, control, and variety in your singles game, then playing doubles can greatly improve your game.
If you are a singles player switching to doubles, you’ll want to look for a good doubles tennis racquet.
Doubles involve using different groundstroke grips. Many doubles players don’t realize that their “singles” grips may put them at a disadvantage.
Western and semi-western forehand grips may be fine for returning serve but once the point has started, it may be more useful to adopt an eastern forehand grip for any groundstrokes on this side.
Also, two-handed backhands are generally not as effective in doubles.
When playing doubles, the two-handed player may have to adopt a grip more appropriate for one-handed sliced backhands.
Best Tennis Racquet for Doubles
There are a number of racquet options that can potentially work well for use in doubles tennis. It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product in your game.
The following racquets may work well for use in doubles tennis.
Babolat Pure Aero Racquets
Revolutionized with the latest in Babolat technology, the Pure Aero builds on the popularity of the Aeropro Drive, which has been one of the most popular racquets in the world for several years.
The latest version gets an update to its Aero modular wing shaft design, called Aero modular 2, making the Aero Pro series one of the fastest frames around.
Woofer grommets with this new technology have been moved to the mid-section of the frame making it even more aerodynamic while also making for increased ball pocketing and trampoline effect.
The cortex system has been updated with the intro of aero modular 2 – now putting the cortex inside the frame. This update dampens bad vibrations while allowing the player to have a maximum ball feel.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for use in doubles tennis.
Frame String Interaction Technology
A strong swing weight allows for a maximum plow through from the baseline and unlimited power. The last update is the addition of Frame String Interaction (FSI) technology.
The pure Aero has an updated version of this technology called FSI Spin, which has a more open weave in the string bed – as well as oblong grommets for enhanced string movement
- Standard length – 27 in
- String – comes strung with addiction 16 at 53 pounds
- Grip size-4 ½ inch
HEAD Graphene 360 Speed MP LITE Tennis Racquet
The Speed MP Lite is the lighter version of the Speed MP and perfect for a competitive doubles player who wats the MP characteristics but with easier handling and maneuverability.
Just like the Speed MP, the new Graphene 360 provides greater stability and optimized energy transfer for more power, thus more ball speed.
You’ll find it easier to maximize stroke speed in the service of pace and spin.
At the net, the quick handling and near even balance help keep the racquet steady when redirecting higher levels of pace.
In addition to the fast and whippy feel, the combination of spin, power, and presicion makes for effective serving.
- The 16/19 string pattern adds the right amount of spin
- Endorsed by Novak Djokovic and Sasha Zverev.
- Grip size-4 18 inch
- Weight -300G
- Tension –recommended tension range 48-57 pounds-optimum 53 pounds
- Head size-100 sq in
- Stiffness- 63
- Power level-low to medium
- Racquet colors- Black/White
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @luckybusiness