You are at the net and your doubles partner is serving. He hits his first serve, follows to the net, as you move tighter toward the net to be aggressive. But the returner hits a lob deep over your head… while you and your partner stare at each other, thinking the other will be covering it. Whose responsibility is it?
Aggressive Net Man
I was playing a doubles match with a very solid (5.0) teaching pro as my partner and he insisted “you cover all your own lobs.” But as you watch the successful tournament and pro teams like the Bryan Brothers, you see the net man is the aggressor and the server can frequently cut across the court (on his way to the net) and more easily cover the lob.
Communication is Key
During the point, you or your partner should QUICKLY yell, “Yours!” or “I got it”; so there is no confusion. But even before the match starts, you should iron out with your doubles partner who you think should cover the lobs the net man cannot reach in the air.
In a post-match lunch discussion, Keith Butterfield pointed out a key factor is the speed and placement of the serve… he says, if the server hits a harder and/or well-placed serve, the net man can and should be aggressive – and the server can easily cut across the court to cover the lob on his way to the net.
But if the server has a slower serve and is charging hard to the net (like we say about some of our friends, “he is trying to get to the net before his own serve does!”), he cannot stop and get back to cover the lob over in the opposite court.
What do you think?
Who Beat a French Open Champ?
At the end of September, Dave Wendt and George Dalphon won the Virginia Senior Men’s Category II Championships held in Alexandria, VA, 7-6, 6-7, 6-1. They beat Fred McNair (who reached the World No. 1 doubles ranking in 1976, teaming up with Sherwood Stewart to capture the men’s doubles titles at French Open, the German Open and the Masters). Congrats!!
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