Tennis players should view the tennis court as a blank canvas and you are the artist with all of the creativity. The key to being a great returner in doubles is to be very creative and mix up your returns. Listed below are all of the best returning options for doubles players from your best to worse returns.
Return Cross Court Deep
It’s always great if you can return a ball right back to the server deep into their court. If done successfully, you will give the returner no time to react immediately after they serve.
Return Cross Court Short Angle
Hitting the return cross court short with an angle can catch the server off guard and force them to run forward barely getting to the ball. If they are reaching for the ball then there is a strong possibility of them popping it up for your partner or you to pick it off.
Lob Cross Court Deep
This play is effective if you are playing against someone who serves and volleys a lot. I wouldn’t suggest this for every play but every so often to keep them on their heels and potentially pinned back on the baseline. If you can execute this lob well enough then they may think twice about closing in so quickly.
Chip and Charge Cross Court
If you are a master at slicing then chipping their serve with underpin and charging the net can be very effective. This play could take your opponent by surprise and force them to come up with a great shot. They may even take their eye off of the ball because they are so focused to see what you are doing as you charge their way. It may even force them to just make an error.
Lob Down the Line
Lobbing the net player down the line is always a great option as it puts the other team in disarray immediately after the return. It also forces the server to have to run that ball down if the net player can’t get to it. If this play is used well, there is a great chance that there will be a lob coming your way for you to put away, so be ready and look for it. If you are playing against a team that does not move very well then that lob will not be coming back at all.
Passing Shot in the Doubles Alley
Using this play can be risky but can be very effective if done right. I like to use this play toward the beginning of my matches to send a message to the net player not to poach. Even if my team loses the point, it may be worth it because that pesky net player may think twice about making any moves because of that one shot you hit. This shot can also work if there is a player who likes to stand very close to the center of the court. Hitting down the line will force your opponent to move more toward the line to free up your cross-court returns. One last way this will work is that element of surprise. Every once in a while you may catch that net player sleeping.
Right at the Net Player
The final play is for you to go right to the net player. By hitting right at your opponent one of three things will happen. One, they will get handcuffed and hit back a weak volley. Two, they will be getting out of dodge to avoid the ball. Three, you are going to hit them. It is a part of the rules. Please remember that tennis is a gentlemen’s sport so please make sure you apologize if you hit your opponent. As you can see this play is way down on my list, our intention is never to hurt anyone so please be mindful before doing this play. One measly tennis point is not worth risking a long time friendship.
Next time you are on the court be sure to try all of these great return options. Paint that beautiful picture with your great creative mind. Outwit, outplay and outlast all of your opponents with as much variety a possible. Keep on Playing!