Sending a Message

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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3 thoughts on “Sending a Message

  1. George, You have turned into a mild mannered intimidator!! I agree that there are many things we can do early in match to set things up for later. It’s like a pitcher throwing inside early in the game.
    I hope you’re safe and healthy

    Steve, yes… safe and healthy … and getting tennis deprived! thanks, george

  2. I like to send the (not so subtle) message to the net guy that “You need to earn my respect up there” and that I am going to keep you honest!

    Jim, i remember one year at Newk’s camp, Mark Woodforde said he used to go at or over the net man once per return game. thanks, george

  3. Great idea. Playing often with Ron Munchnik he suggested the returner’s partner to move to the middle of the court. Actually if the returner hits a really good shot right at the net man, he will often miss the volley but if he does happen to get it , most of the time it will go right to the returner’s partner if he in the middle or even right back to the returner giving him also a good shot. Rarely does he get to hit that great angle for a winner especially if he is not expecting the shot. It also helps if the returner tips off his partner he will go right at the net man when the 2nd serve is soft. And all the stress it causes the net man in terms of where to stand and more uncomfortable to poach also applies.

    Dave, great points. When i do my stand-in-the-alley return, i always alert my partner to cover the middle. thanks, george

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