Tuesday morning started chilly, but with some great doubles tips from Luke and Murphy Jensen…
How to Play Doubles Better
- The first key factor is to COMMUNICATE with your partner… before, during and after the match.
- If you watch football, you will see both the offense and defensive teams HUDDLING together before each play to be sure they all know what the play is.
- Should be the same in tennis.
- The server is the “quarterback” of their team and the returner is the same for their team.
- The server tells his partner where he is planning to put the ball; and the returner tells his partner whether he plans to go cross court, lob, or drive it down the line.
- Identify who on your team is the “put-away player” and who is the consistent one who always gets the ball back in play.
- Identify also who on the other side of the net is the “pigeon,” the weaker player (or sometimes the bigger hitter, who is erratic).
- When you and your partner are at the net, you should be close enough that you could touch racquets – so that you both can cover the all-important middle.
- If the opponents beat you down the line once or twice, that’s OK; but if they can do it regularly, then you need to adjust your positioning to cover that shot.
- As a team, you “follow the ball” … if your shots go wide in their ad court, you both shift right; and if your ball goes wide in their deuce court, you both shift left; and I your ball goes down their middle, you both pinch to the middle.
- When your partner is returning and goes cross court, your job at the net is to first focus on the opposing net player… hold your ground, if they are picking the return off; but if it gets by them, close to the net (unless your partner’s return is a high floater).
- When you partner lobs over the opposing net player, you hold your ground until you see it is over their heads … and then you close to the net.
- When the brothers were 11 years old, they went to a Roy Emerson clinic and asked, “Mr. Emerson, what is the best kind of return of serve?” Emmo replied, “The one that goes in!”
In our morning doubles match, I was again teamed with Marty Judge vs. the challenging combination of Jeff Makevich (one of the three Chicago boys who join us for dinner every night) and YOUNG Chris xxxx, who was probably in his 30s and relatively new to tennis — but boy, could he run!
They started serving and were erratic; so Marty and I took an early 3-0, two-break lead. I then served a multiple deuce game, which we lost and that turned the tied and it quickly became 3-3.
We broke them again and served for the first set at 5-4; only to be broken again. We broke them one more time and after not converting three set points, I was able to serve it out for a long 7-5 win.
The second set was another long one in time and points; but we were able to focus in the end to run out the last four games for a 7-5, 6-2 victory in two hours and fifteen minutes.
Our victory was one of very few for the Wankers … losing all but two of the singles matches, our team lost “the day” to the Musclemen 17-12. And the Kangaroos bested the Dunnies 17-14.
Tuesday afternoon, we played our next round of doubles vs. Newk’s Kangaroos; and I again teamed up with Marty … this time, vs. the challenging father-son team of Rich and Ken Tarantino.
Their style of play is for Rich to get every ball he can back in play until young gun Ken can crush a winner past (or through) us. Even though we played well, their style succeeded for a 6-4, 6-3 victory (in just under two hours).
At the end of this first round, our Wankers are trailing Newk’s Kangaroos 7-4; and the Musclemen lead the Dunnies by the same score.
Tomorrow morning, we will play the singles portion (plus those of us doing doubles only) to decide the “Day 2” winners.
Dinner and Evening
Dinner was Italian night, with chicken parm and lasagna followed by Doc Eden returning to the podium as Commissioner of the Australian Boat Race beer drinking contest, improving his record of nasty joke ratings.
And then, more insightful conversation about women’s tennis, tennis legends, and classic Emmo and Snake stories (the “cork” story from Emmo and Case’s “special housing in Denver” story).
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