Doubles is too often—and unfairly—considered a hacker’s game that doesn’t require as much movement as singles. The doubles court is wider than the singles court, but you have a partner to make up the difference.
With that safety cushion, it’s easy to fall into lazy footwork habits. But to be successful in doubles, movement is just as important as it is in singles—and you also have to coordinate your movements with your partner.
High-level doubles is incredibly fast and requires quick feet, explosive recovery skills and great anticipation. “The game between shots,” according to seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, is everything you do after you’ve hit your first shot that prepares you for your next shot.
Here is a key doubles movement to master so you can win that game—and the match.
Serve and Volley
Serving and volleying in doubles isn’t only about having a great serve—although it helps. Your primary goal should be to place your serve accurately and move into position quickly.
Once you’ve served, you have time for roughly three or four running steps. By this time the ball has traveled across the net and the receiver is about to hit the return. Now is the time to make your split step.