Doubles Lineups

Sometime back, we discussed the concept of which court the offensive-minded doubles partner should

Brian G.
play. I agreed with great American doubles specialist Brian Gottfried, who said the attacker should return from the deuce court; and you should put the “steady-Eddy” partner in the add court.

The argument for that set up is: let the attacker be aggressive in the deuce court and rely on the steady returner to get the ball in play when it counts. On the other side of the argument is none other than Roy “Emmo” Emerson, who believes it should be just the opposite.

While playing with a New Hampshire friend, we reviewed this topic again with a new perspective. He said, assuming you are talking about a pair of righties playing together, the attacker should play in the add court… not for his return of serve, but for the strokes AFTER the ball is in play.

The add-court attacker would be the one taking the overheads in the middle and being more aggressive at the net with his (usually) stronger forehand volley.

Emmo (L)

That adds some good ammunition to the Emmo argument.

7 thoughts on “Doubles Lineups

  1. Personally, as much as I respect Emmo’s great tennis mind, I am with Brian Gottfried on this one. If you put the attacker receiving in the ad court, he is likely not going to get to use his great attacking skills all that much against a decent team. This is because the steady-Eddie guy in the deuce court does not have the firepower to force a good return most of the time, so all things being equal, there will be lots of ad-ins that the attacker has to face against him. The smart play in that situation is for the attacker NOT to go for 100% (or even 90%) of what he has got on his returning shot, but to hold back a bit, maybe to 70% or at most 80%, just to make sure the ball gets in play. This, then, fundamentally neutralizes the very purpose and perceived strength of putting the attacker in the ad court. I don’t care if you have a return second only to Agassi, if you are an attacking style player but you are constantly facing just hatving to get the ball in play in order to make sure you stay in the point, you are going to let up somewhat and lose your edge. Ergo, Brian Gottfried — and the traditional wisdom — are clearly right about this one.

    Marty – My thoughts, exactly! geo

  2. It seems you always want the pressure on the better of the 2 players and the better player usually can be steady or agressive depending opon the server and the situation. I always want to have the best return of serve taking both add in and add out. Emmo is my man.

    Bill – “Better” could be steadier OR more aggressive. Yes? geo

  3. I personally think that it is more important to have the player play the side that he returns serve better on because as you and I have always said George, The return of serve is the most important shot in the game. If you can’t get the ball in play, you can’t win!!!!

    Dick – there is something to be said for “the comfort level”… tks ,,, geo

  4. Yes, I agree with you, George. By aggressive in doubles, I mean the ability to cut off the return of the return of serve with the forehand volley put-away as well as the mobility and aggressiveness to field overhead smashes.
    Nick – yes, i agree, it is more than just the return of serve that comes into play. geo

  5. (from a Newk Camp friend)
    George – my comment has little to do with the content (although, like Emmo, I favor the aggressive guy on the ad court). It has to do with the spelling of “ad”. It’s an abbreviation of “advantage”, which means it should be spelled “ad” and not the word “add”, which has nothing to do with advantage.

  6. Geo- the best of both worlds is steadier and more agressive.
    Rarely do you see 2 equal partners.

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