When should you break the rules of percentage doubles?

Percentage doubles is winning doubles. From the pros to recreational players, the teams that win most often are almost always the teams that hit high-percentage shots, rely on sound strategy and avoid unnecessary risks.

However, there may be times during matches where you and your partner will find yourselves in situations that call for unconventional attacks. In addition, you need to keep every opponents honest by varying your strategy from time to time. So when should you break the rules of percentage doubles? 

The Full-Swing Serve Return

When returning serve, your primary goals are to get every ball back and to place it well—low against a serve-and-volleyer, deep against a baseliner—so your opponents don’t get an easy ball to attack. To go for an outright winner on the return of serve is generally a low-percentage play. But if you’re facing  a weak serve and are comfortable with your return, it can be an intimidating shot to occasionally go big.

I recommend taking a bigger swing from the deuce court (for right-handers). From this side you can move around the serve and rip a big forehand crosscourt, over the lowest part of the net. Plus, you’ll have the additional width of the alley to give you a little more margin for error. Be sure to play the score and pick the right point for this aggressive play, like with a 15-40 lead.


Greg Moran is the Director of Tennis at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, CT, and author of the Tennis Beyond Big Shots books.