Early in a doubles match, you crush a soft second serve at the opposing net player; but it catches the top of the net and falls on your side. Was it a bad idea? No, I think it will pay dividends later in the match.
Sending a Message
Even if you missed that ball at the opposing net player, it sends a message to both the player and the server … “give me a soft second serve and I will really attack it!”
What does that do? First, it has the net player ready and leaning forward expecting the same attempt on the next soft second serve … and therefore, they are more susceptible to the lob. Or, they move back several feet from the net to give themselves more time … and give you the opportunity to hit a SOFTer ball to their feet.
It also makes the server self conscious and wanting to protect their partner; so they will either take something off their first serve or try to put more onto their second serve (and risk double faulting).
“Show them your forehand”
Roy Emerson gave me that advice early on at Newk’s annual camp. He says, on a big point, like the server hitting a second serve in the ad court, with the score being ad out… (if you are a righty) stand in the alley and “show them your forehand.”
When the server sees that, they will probably try to beat you down the middle or hit that small part of the service box that will make you hit a backhand instead. Either way, they are now taking a real risk.
Ask anyone who plays doubles with me… about half the time, that move will earn a double fault!
What do YOU do to “send a message” – or if you are on the receiving end?
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