Tennis Doubles Rules: How to Play Doubles?


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Tennis as a sport can be played among two people (in a singles match) and four people (in a doubles game). In the doubles game, the player and his partner have to play against the opposite team of two players, on both sides of the net. In the doubles match, the players have to make use of the full court that lines between the baselines and the double sidelines.

Tennis Doubles Rules

Serves in the Doubles Match

For the serving team, one of the partners should begin the match by serving the ball first. The player on the opposite team receives the ball on the right side of the court. The partner on the opposite team will receive all the serves on the left side of the court. The player who started the server should serve throughout the game. 

If the player on the serving team serves first, the opposing team will serve the second game, then the partner of the serving team will serve the third game and the partner of the opposing team will play the fourth game. The player who served first will serve again on the fifth game and the game continues so on. The same order of serving is followed throughout the entire game.

Must Read: Tennis Serving Rules

Receiving the Ball in the Doubles Match

When is the chance of one of the teams to receive the ball, the team can decide which player will receive the first ball? They should maintain the same sides for receiving the ball for the entire set. But the players can switch sides for the next set. During a service, a server’s parent should not get hit with a serve, failing which, a fault is called. Also, of the receiver on the opposite side is hit with the service, before the ball bounces, then the server wins the point. In the returning shots, either member of the doubles team can hit the ball. The partners need not alternate the hits.

The Doubles Tennis Court

The biggest difference between the singles and the doubles tennis game is the tennis court. The playing surface has four long lines that run across the length of the court and lie perpendicular to the net. The two inner lines are the singles sideline and the outer stripes of the doubles sidelines make the double court, which is 9 feet wider than the singles court. The baselines remain the same for both the singles and the doubles game and except for serves the goal of the players is to hit the ball within the doubles lines.

Check out: Top 5 Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners 2021

Rallies in the Doubles Match

When the players are busy taking the balls in the rally, either player may handle the shot. Except for the serves and the service returns, one player can make the team’s shots at any point. The players typically divide the court into zones and play the ball within their zone. The rules for the game are the same as that of the singles game, except for the size of the court. The team has to hit the ball once, and when the teammate hits a return, it should not touch the player, else the team will lose the point.

Doubles Positioning in the Court

The position of the players in the court will decide their winning strategy. Before the match begins, the player and his partner can decide how they can divide the court during the rallies. The simple strategies are to divide the court up and back method or side to side method. If one of the partners is serving, the other partner can stand near the net and remain there throughout the point, to intercept the rally of their opponent and to win a volley.

The player who server has to remain near the baseline after the service, to handle any balls that are hit over and past your teammate. Also, the partner can stay near the baseline as well, to take the balls that are hit on the other half of your side of the court. 

Serving on the Deuce Court or Advantage Court

Before starting to play the game, the players can decide to receive serves either on the right side of the court or on the left side of the court. The right service courtside is termed as the deuce court and the left service is termed as the advantage court. After deciding on this, each player on the team can return the serves from their allotted service court. Switching the service courts to receive the serves is not entertained until the set is over. After the set is over, the teammates can switch the service court sides to start a new set. They can also switch sides at the start of a new set. 

Tie-Breaker in a Doubles Tennis Match

The same tie-breaker scoring for a singles match is followed in the doubles game as well, with one exception. Similar to the singles match, the two-point rotation starts after playing the initial point. But instead of two, four-player participates in the two-point serving rotation. The rotation continues until a team wins the tie-breaker game. A team should score a minimum of seven points along with a two-point advantage to win the tie-breaker game.

Do read: Tennis Scoring: How to Keep Score in Tennis

Mixed Doubles Games

In the mixed doubles game, one male and one female player will be playing on each side of the court. The rules and the guidelines however remain the same as that of the doubles game. 

The Winning Trick for the Doubles Tennis Match

The most important winning trick to master the doubles tennis game is communication. Players in the doubles tennis match should communicate rather than speculating the movement of the ball. As the ball comes flying from the opponent’s side, only one of the players can strike the ball. If both the racquets touch the ball, then the point goes for the opponent’s team. This it is important that players communicate adequately among each other to ensure that only one racquet touches the court, and they win over their opponent.



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