When I was a kid first starting out on my tennis adventure i only ever played doubles as a bit of fun , i had no real skill when it came to the two on two format , yet it netted me my first city Championship. When i turned 15 , just three years after i starting playing , my buddy from Fremantle Dale Jones and i won the City of Melville Doubles Championship against the best team in the State for the 18's age group. In the semi's we defeated Ken Mcreery, a Country Week Singles Champion and Tim Burrows , a player who from memory had been ranked as high as 1 for 16's in WA. It was an extraordinary win as we saved a match point and won 7-5 in the third, we then won the final in straight sets. Yet doubles was simply a novelty.
As the years have rolled by and with living in a Region as i do all Tournaments are a two on two format , one that i am not comfortable with but with no choice , it's that or don't play . The art of doubles is one that requires angles , dinks , lobs , finesse and a requirement to keep it cross court , away from the net player. Singles is up and down hitting more often than not with an option to close into the net to create an angle if you are not one of those players that only go to the net to shake hands , the two forms of the game are chalk and cheese.
The last two Tournaments i played in locally were 'educational' as i finished second at The Albany Open to two young fellas who played predominantly from the baseline , but did it to perfection and the Katanning Men's Doubles to two wily veterans. Peter Rundle and his cousin Graeme are two guys who know the art of doubles and we were no match for them , yet we won our first 5 matches with surprising ease.
Whenever i play a doubles comp i simply try to gain knowledge as to how i can be as good as some when i am their age as most of these guys are 52-55 , very experienced and knowledgeable , in the 'prime' of their careers as far as court craft goes. I am ok at doubles but i never dominate , never have done, i simply try to play a good brand of singles cross court and hope it will be competitive enough , most times it is yet i struggle against teams that know the intricacies of two on two. Do i look upon this as a failure? Never, it's a part of tennis that i always find intriguing , a mind game , always trying to better my last performance so i remain philosophical . Singles is my game , that may seem strange as i just turned 45 yet i am physically fit enough to still hit with the young blokes , that's the key to singles , the legs , they need to feel young enough to keep going.
Doubles will help with your volleying without a doubt and can help you move into the net with more confidence when you are playing singles so i treat doubles tournaments in a different way as i do singles. I treat a singles loss as a personal defeat , perhaps a mental as well as physical defeat whereas a doubles loss is never too hard to shake off . Mindset in tennis is a huge thing and you need to always put things into perspective when analyzing your own performances.
Personally i feel i still have a lot to learn in the game of tennis and losing sometimes in a format i am not comfortable with is now looked upon as something that is no longer the 'end of the world' as it was when i lost as a kid , especially in singles . I find the game now days educational and gaining knowledge is still high on my list of priorities as it naturally helps with teaching the game also , but boy am i looking forward to my next singles Tournament, the true physical and mental test..........