If you are a doubles player, you and your partner have had this conversation before: who plays which side? 75 percent of players prefer their forehand, so if they play on the deuce side, they can rip the forehand return of serve cross court. But if they play on the ad side, they have the forehand in the middle of the court for offensive and defensive situations.
There is more to this than the typical deuce versus ad side decision. Yes it is partially about who has a better forehand versus who has a better backhand, but there is more to think about.
►Who has the better volleys and is more aggressive at the net? Let’s get that player, assuming they are right handed, on the ad side. Ad side (righty) volleyers have their forehand in the middle, allowing for more aggressive net play. Poach with the forehand, protect your partners backhand and look to dominate.
►Who moves better? The player who is faster, has better reflexes, sees the court best and can cover the most ground should play the ad side. Again, this is assuming they are a right handed player. The ad player will have more middle responsibility with their forehand. And can also cover lobs while running to the deuce corner with their forehand. Not to mention their forehand in the middle of the court to rip offensive shots out of the air for down the middle tweeners.
►Who is strong under pressure? The ad side player will be receiving the ad in and the ad out points, critical points to win games and matches. That player cannot let the moment get too big and tighten up on the important points. Poor swings come from tense bodies. Get the player who is cool under pressure on the ad side.
Maybe it is time to have a new conversation with your doubles partner. It may mean practicing a bit to get used to a shift in thinking and playing, but following these three simple concepts will unlock more W’s in the win column.
Mark Santucci is director of adult tennis at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. He came to Roosevelt Island after 10 years as director of tennis and operations, director of junior tennis and director of adult programs at Yonkers Tennis Center. A native of Rhode Island, Santucci was the captain of the Marist College Tennis team, where he helped lead his team to a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. He can be reached by e-mail at MSantucci@AdvantageTennisClubs.com.