In doubles, it is usually the smartest shot to hit up the middle; but you have to sometimes change that strategy to prevent your opponents from totally clogging the middle. So, what do you do?
The Wide Roller
From either the deuce or ad court, one shot to practice for doubles is the wide roller that gently crosses the net and lands in the alley. It can be hit with topspin (which I think is best) or with a gentle slice. So if your opponents are expecting the drive down the middle, their focus (and their bodyweight) is leaning to the center; and this gentle shot can take them by surprise.
Fastball/ Curve Ball
Like in baseball, the pitcher has to be able to come inside regularly with a hard fastball (that is your hard drive down the middle); in order to then set up the batter for the breaking curve on the outside corner (your roller in the alley).
According to Aussie legend Roy Emerson, to hit the forehand roller cross court, you have to do two things: hit the ball on the outside and aim to cross the net at the center strap.
Another option when your opponents are looking for the hard drive down the middle is to put up an offensive, topspin lob over their heads. If their bodyweight is leaning forward, expecting the hard one at them, the soft one over their heads can be very effective.
Other thoughts on these options?
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