A Singles Fan’s Guide to Doubles Tennis

There is nothing quite as good as watching a game of tennis. Whether you’re on the court, on a hill sipping Prosecco and eating strawberries with friends, or in the garden with the TV balanced precariously on the wall – the nail-biting drama of tennis season is an integral part of the British summer.

I am a singles tennis fan, I have grown up playing it and watching it each year. Recently, however, the mysterious and sometimes baffling game of doubles tennis has stepped into the limelight. And, for a die-hard singles fan, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it…until I watched it.

Fast-paced, strategic, and addictive to watch, doubles tennis has opened a whole new aspect of the game that I had previously overlooked.

THE RALLY

The rallies in doubles tennis are incredible – the speed, the drama – it’s thrilling to watch. Think of the nail-biting moments when a singles player goes up to the net and double it. With double the players, rallies by the net take place at neck-breaking speed… your neck, because it’s so fast you can barely keep up. In fact, all you’ll manage to do after a rally is pick your mouth back up off the floor just in time for the next set.

THE TACTICS

Horia Tecau of Romania serves playing with Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherland in the Final Of The Gentlemen's Doubles against John Peers of Australia and Jamie Murray of Great Britain during day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2015 in London, England.

No game of tennis is polite. In singles, it’s about finding your opponent’s Achilles heel and kicking it repeatedly. The game requires as much mental strength as it does physical. And doubles tennis is no different. The pressure is, if possible, even higher as you have a team mate to support – and potentially let down.

The courts are also wider, as the tram lines are counted as ‘in’. With more space to move, there are also more angles to hit the ball at. This gives the player’s much more tactical agility and us a more entertaining game.

THE TEAM

Netherlands' Jean-Julien Rojer (L) and Romania's Horia Tecau (R) embrace after beating Britain's Jamie Murray and Australia's John Peers in the men's doubles final on day twelve of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon

What surprises me most in a doubles game is the team. The ability to read your partner in a high-speed game, to know instinctively what they will do and, thus, what you should do to support is astounding.

If you’re as excited about watching doubles tennis as I am, don’t fret – with world #1 doubles player, Jamie Murray, going from strength to strength with his partner, Soares, this year promises to be an epic one. With the Aegon Championships on its way and Wimbledon hot on its heels, we have a lot of doubles tennis action to look forward to.

If that wasn’t enough, the Murray brothers might even be set to take on the world in the Olympics and, with each at the peak of their career, a gold has never looked more likely.

The doubles game requires a different set of abilities to singles. Speed, agility, and telepathic-level team skills are all needed to make a winning pair. All we have to do is sit back, relax with our Champagne and strawberries, and enjoy our new favourite game.

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