Tennis Doubles Strategy – Foundation for Tennis Doubles

Tennis doubles strategy is an important foundation for a winning tennis game. Doubles matches in tennis may not be as popular as the single matches but it has its own prestige as a game in the world of sports.


Tennis doubles is played in the same court surfaces (clay, grass and hard) as in single tennis matches. However, its court dimensions are bigger than the single tennis court. Below are some of the tennis doubles strategies.

Know the basics principles of doubles

Knowing the basics of doubles tennis strategy is vital to win a tennis match. As much as possible play more on the net but prevent your opponent to do so. Hit low balls forcing your opponents to hit high ball. Always aim for a spike in the net after a rally. A spike (like in volleyball or badminton) will definitely earn your team a point.

When you are in the baseline position, play with the player who is positioned farthest from the net but if you are in the net, target the player nearest to the net. Make use of your strengths and at the same time use every strategy to expose your opponents’ weaknesses.

Always hit the ball in the gap between your opponents. This can result to their confusions as who is to hit the ball. Be alert and be ready to any possibility and position yourselves accordingly based on your opponents’ position.

First serve matters most

A powerful and accurately placed first serve is always a very important tennis doubles strategy. The best way to win a game is to do well at the start. A powerful and accurately placed first serve in doubles is very crucial because it is the best way to set your net game. You will be able to prepare better to play the net game with a first serve than with a second serve. Missing your first serve can also frustrate your partner which might affect his or her play.

Right target

The right target is a tennis doubles strategy that can help a team win points. In a tennis doubles match, the best target is your opponent’s feet. Targeting your opponent’s feet will set him off guard and if ever he is able to return the ball, you have more chances to be in a better position and better preparation than your opponents.

Crosscourt return of serve

Don’t try to be flashy and attempt too many passing shots when you return the serve. Hitting a crosscourt return is a better doubles strategy. To be more effective in your cross-court passes, hit the ball low and of course cross-court and land the ball around the service line (dipping to the opposing team’s feet). Another thing to remember to avoid deep returns especially if the player who is not serving (server’s partner) is a mobile person. If you do so, there is a big chance that he will poach (means he will hit the ball that is supposed to be hit by his partner).

Good defense

If your partner is serving, your role is defense. Your partner’s good serve will be useless if you cannot return the ball (after your opponents’ return serve) to your advantage.

When your opponent as on serve, aside from an ace your best enemy is the partner of the server. Your defense is very important here. You should be very attentive with his return because he could hit an easy winner if the serve is executed perfectly. Be aware of the types of return your partner does after the serve (but do not watch him!). This should give you an idea on the type of shot the server’s partner is going to apply. Like for example if your partner‘s return is high and wide, you should defend your tramlines (alleys) because it the best possibility that your opponent will target.

Your opponent is the focus not your partner

Focus your eyes on your opponent, and not your partner. One of the biggest mistakes a player can do in tennis double matches is to watch your partner as he returns the ball after the serve. If you do this, you will miss your opponent’s attack because your focus was on your partner but not on your opponent’s side. Focus your attention to the net player and observe his movement for a possible volley. You will be more prepared in case your opponent hits a volley.

Strategic Placement

The main objective is to target the most vulnerable player of the team or target the weakest spot of the court (weakest spot means the part of the court which can create problems to your opponent’s return like gaps between them). When you are away from the net (baseline), your target is the server’s half court. This is to avoid server’s partner who is near the net. This player can be dangerous if you hit near him.

Movement coordination

Another important tennis doubles strategy to consider your team’s movement coordination. The movement of both players in a team should be well coordinated all the times. It is important not to leave a big gap between you and you partner. If your partner is forced to move far right, you should also move right to cover the gap. This will lead a space in your left side but it is safer this way to avoid a straightforward winner in the big gap space between you and your partner.

Defense and attack

In tennis doubles, you also have to be ready to take every opportunity to win points. Rather than watching your partner as he hits the ball, take your time to watch your opponents’ movements and be ready to hit another shot if you find even the smallest opportunity.

I formation

The I formation is a tennis double strategy to apply if the server in your team serve is weak or when the opponent’s serve return becomes deadly. In this situation, you have to think of an alternative strategy to counteract that deadly serve return.

I formation double tennis strategy can be attained with the server’s partner (partner of the player who is serving) squatting down low near the net at the center line of the court. The server does his serve just behind his partner. This I formation tennis doubles strategy will create confusion to the opposing team as to where the net player of the serving is going to position himself.

Counter attack to opponents’ lob game.

The lob is the best doubles tennis strategy to counteract a net play, so expect you opponents to play lob if you are playing in the net. Continuous lob shot can frustrate you and your partner so you better do something about it.

The Australian formation

The Australian formation is a tennis doubles strategy which is used to win a quick point but it can also be very risky, so it is not advisable to use frequently. However, if your team decides to make use of this tactic, the server should position himself near the center line. This is to cover more angles to give the returning team a harder time.


Good communication is a part of tennis doubles strategy that is indispensible. Forget about playing doubles if you and your partner cannot communicate each other during the game. Good communication is a vital part in playing tennis doubles matches because it enables each player to contribute to the team’s success. Through good communication, both players in a team can produce well coordinated movements, thoughts and actions.

Net play counter attack

Generally, the serving team engages in net play after a very good serve. Beforehand, when you return a serve (you are facing the server’s partner in the net), the best strategy is to target the server because he is the most vulnerable at this stage after hitting the serve. If your opponents were able to return your shots and they are now positioned in the net, you can still make them vulnerable. This time, you can hit a lob forcing them away from the net, or you can hit the ball right in between the two players.

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