Playing Doubles First?

Noble, Larry, Joe, me

Is it better to have tournaments schedule singles in the morning and doubles in the afternoon… or just the opposite?  One tournament player suggests a change might be welcome.

Hello George, a recent The Mid Atlantic tournament showed 65 doubles at 11:00am and singles at 2:00; I’ve never seen that before.

Playing doubles first has several benefits:

  • The singles players do not have to worry about being unfair to their doubles partners if the singles becomes a war of attrition.
  • If a singles player is injured, three people are not left onsite twiddling their thumbs.
  • The withdrawal can be communicated and new schedule known with less inconvenience.

Have not thought this out – these are just my first thoughts.   By the way, college dual matches start with doubles

Winder Bill

My Thoughts

Not only do I think that it is a good idea to play doubles in the morning; but I think the popular use of the Ten-Point Match Tiebreaker in lieu of a third set should be used in SINGLES more than in doubles.

Granted conditioning is a factor in tournament play; but let’s not push it beyond the reasonable… is it smart for a 65 or 70+ year old player to push themselves to play a three-hour singles match in the Florida heat?  I think not.

Your thoughts on both??

PS On Naples City Tournament… STILL are waiting for the lower bracket to play their match!!

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7 thoughts on “Playing Doubles First?

  1. I agree with Winder Bill. Playing doubles in the morning and singles in the afternoon where tournaments offer both makes sense for all of the reasons noted, plus a few more:

    * Doubles warms one up for singles. Just ask John McEnroe. It’s like an intense practice session, albeit with points and consequences, and allows one to work on strokes like volleys, overheads, lobs and second serves (in lieu of hard first serves) that typically get less practice in a singles warm up.

    * The sun positioning can be more severe — i.e., lower on the horizon and more in one’s eyes — in the morning than in the afternoon. (PS. This is frequently a problem at Tennis Fantasies at Newk’s). Scheduling doubles instead of singles in the morning makes it easier for players to deal with the sun. Why? Only one player per team needs to deal with the bad sun per match at all, assuming the serving pattern does not change from set to set. Also, if a team has one righty and one lefty then theoretically they can avoid most sun positioning problems entirely. And the fact that doubles serves are usually hit from different positions along the baseline than singles serves allows the servers to move around a bit more to avoid the sun in their eyes and to sacrifice little in serving advantage for the team. This is much harder to do in a singles match because moving too far to the left or right of the center when serving in singles opens up too many angles to be exploited by the receiver.

    * Psychologically, a good doubles match gets one in the mood for the intensity of singles — at least it does so for me. If I win in doubles, then my self-confidence is up and I usually play much better in singles afterward. But oddly, if I lose in doubles, there is not an opposite effect. Instead, if I lose a doubles match that I felt I should win or at least had a good chance to win, this normally gets my adrenaline pumping and I want to do better in singles afterward to redeem myself. However, if I play singles before doubles and I lose in singles, then I tend to get down on myself and kind of despondent and it takes a lot more soul searching for me to get re-motivated for doubles afterward. Perhaps this is just me, but after 65 years of putting up with my silliness I know myself pretty well.

    Marty, good adds! thanks, george

  2. In the pro’s, singles are always played first and doubles after. The way I see it , you put a lot of energy in playing the singles first and then you can sort of relax in the doubles where you don’t have to move around as much. Bob Fougere

    Bob, what if your doubles partner does NOT also play singles, is your “relaxing” fair to him? thanks, george

  3. I think it would depend on where you put you personal emphasis. I personally put mine into singles (though I can see the time approaching that will change) so I would be wary putting out to much energy before a singles match in the hot sun.

    I can see this is definitely a selfish point though because there are 3 others involved.

    Randy Beerman

    Randy, yes, talk to me in ten years! Thanks. George

  4. As a grinder who seems to do as much running in a doubles match as in singles I believe I would be at a distinct disadvantage playing against someone who is fresh and not entered in doubles. No matter how long I play in singles, I still have the legs for doubles. I’m doubtful my body would hold up the same if I had a tough doubles match first.

    Andy, you have to run a lot in doubles because you team up with slow, old guys like me! Thanks. George

  5. George, I get the feeling you are saying as we get older doubles becomes more important to players than singles. Are more people playing doubles than singles? However, it does seem that by playing doubles you are going to be more tired for singles. Perhaps those who put more importance on singles would just not play doubles. I find conditions worse in afternoon with sun, wind, heat, and courts usually not as good. Perhaps it’s worth trying in a division, you volunteering the 75’s?

    Larry, I agree with all that you write and yes, I would love to see an experiment in the 75s! Thanks. George

  6. Don’t know if this fits but I will ask it hear. Conversation is doubles or singles first. I am playing a grass court level 2 tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona next week. Tournament starts on May 30 runs thru June 4th. 6 days average temp somewhere between 100 and a 105.

    Draw is 15 players in 60 and over. Tournament director has decided to have us play 1st round singles at 11:45 and 2nd round singles (not consolation) at 5:15 same day with 3rd round (semis) next morning at 11am. I am just starting to play tournaments again and am surprised at us playing so much in that temp. Tournament director said he trying to get us done so he would have plenty of courts for open division later.

    Is playing this many singles this quickly common assuming no weather issues?


    Randy, i have NEVER seen a senior tournament make you play two singles matches in one day (that was not rain-delayed). My advice: be very, very careful in that dry desert heat. george

  7. From a purely physiological basis, it would make sense to play doubles first. We know that a good warm-up will stay with you for 4-6 hours. Therefore, a reasonable length doubles match would be an excellent warm-up for your singles match and would stay with you in the afternoon. Also, from an injury stand-point, fatigue-type injury would be reduced by playing doubles first. It is also noted that at NCAA , doubles are played first.

    Larry. Good advice from a professional trainer! Thanks. George

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