Your doubles partner is returning serve and you want to help win the point; but when should you be aggressive and cross to pick off a shot? Chuck Kinyon and I got a “lesson” on and off the court from tour pro Hank Irvine yesterday in our quarter finals match with him and partner (current World 70s Doubles Champ) Evert Jonsson.
The Role of the Non-Returning Partner
First, my opinion on what that “off-returner” should be doing …
1) Stand on the service line and watch the serve to his partner to call that line,
2) Do NOT then automatically start moving forward toward the net,
3) But next check the net man to see if HE is poaching and will be putting one at your feet,
4) If the net man is not poaching, then watch the incoming server to see if he has a high volley that he will be driving at you,
5) If not, then and only then, think about being aggressive and cross.
When To Cross
And here comes the lesson from Hank Irvine, he showed/told us: do NOT cross to the middle when the incoming server is hitting a half-volley; because he is already late on his stroke and it is easier for him to then go down the line behind the poacher.
But if your partner hits a good return and the incoming server is hitting a low volley in the air, THAT IS WHEN you should look to be aggressive, cross to the middle and put away a volley.
Chuck and I played well vs. this veteran team; but they played better and took the match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
What Made Hugh Thompson Throw His Racquet?
On the next court to us, the #1 seeds of former World #1 Hugh Thompson and Jerry Thomas had their hands full with our local team of Rich Tarrantino and Paul Veltman. Our guys gave them fits and frustration (have you ever played Rich T?)… Rich and Paul took the first set and were up a break in the second… only to lose the match in a Ten Point Match Tie Breaker.
For other results and the full draws, please click HERE.
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