Monday, 1 May 2017


Spare a thought for those Tennis Professionals out there who are trying to make a living out of playing the two on two format. Singles is beyond a lot of those players though some try their luck in the qualifying events and may win a round or two but most doubles experts don't trouble the score board too much in singles.
Gone are the days when guys like John McEnroe entered both singles and doubles in Grand Slam events and actually came away with both trophies as Mac did at both the US Open and Wimbledon. In fact JM won the Wimbledon Mens Doubles AND Singles in '81, '83 and '84 as well as the US Open Mens Singles and Doubles in '79 and '81.
His partner for those doubles titles Peter Fleming once said that Mac could win a title with anyone as he was under no illusions as to how good a player he was himself. Fleming was no star, just a steady player who's partner was possibly the greatest doubles player of all time.
So to the current playing climate, it will never happen again, if it does it would be a miracle but the chances of a player winning the singles and doubles in a Mens Grand Slam Championship would be about as rare as rocking horse sh.. .
Why ? It's simply too tough on the body plus the guys who are playing doubles now days are nothing short of brilliant at their trade and are way too smart for singles players who play doubles for a bit of fun plus some extra pocket money. Even players who return as well as Djokovic and Nadal are no match for the players who know how to finish a point in doubles.
The amazing run of Arneodo and Nys which I wrote so fondly of on this site just recently typified how guys who know the art of the two on two format can out smart even the best doubles combinations in the World on any given day and those two owned a combined doubles ranking of over 1000. Singles players may trouble a great doubles combination but will not consistently win, it's almost impossible due to the way the brain is programmed as far as a tennis professional is concerned.
John McEnroe was such a genius that he used the same tactics in both singles and doubles and it worked but no one plays like that anymore so being a baseliner in singles will only get you so far in doubles. Being a serve and volley exponent will only get you so far in singles but it will quite possibly get you a long way in doubles. Sorry I am stating the obvious here.
Examples ? Monte Carlo; Bopanna and Cuevas won the event. Bopanna is a doubles guru, age 37 and just knows the intricacies of two on two, he is in a word, brilliant. Cuevas is a singles player proven by his dismissal of Wawrinka in the third round at Monte Carlo in two sets but he can play doubles, that's an understatement as he is ranked 25 in the World for Mens Doubles.
Next tournament, Bopanna and Cuevas get beaten first round by Peers and Kontinen and everyone knows just how good those two are at doubles but it typifies my point, it is an impossibility to consistently win at doubles.
You may have a great run and win a few titles but with the variation of combinations now days it is too hard to get a read on a pair, it's more like a raffle as to how you will go particularly with the short deuce and third set super tie breaker format in the smaller events.
Doubles also seems now to be an 'old man's' event with the combined age of 69 winning in Barcelona just recently ( Querishi and Mergea ) and a combined age of 60 winning in Hungary ( Baker and Mektic ). The older generation know their limitations so are basically just drilling in practice for doubles situations.
There is no point in them even trying to qualify for singles events, they would be classed as 'cannon fodder' yet they can still beat players ranked in the top ten for singles more often than not in doubles.
Doubles is an art form with so many angles created by an ability to take the ball early and to see things unfolding at the blink of an eye whereas singles is a grind more often than not where the fittest player wins.
Not enough emphasis is put on the genius of a World class doubles player, their matches are simply treated as a curtain raiser for a singles match but if you take the time to watch a doubles match between two teams who know their stuff it is a sight to behold.
We may never see another Jonny Mac play as long as the sport exists which is a shame because Mac was a freak show as far as talent was concerned, a genius who won 77 singles titles and 78 doubles titles.
He had that success because of his style, a style that will never be replicated to that point of perfection ever again due to the current game that nine times out of ten rewards the players who only go to the net to shake hands.
The evolution of tennis............

No comments:

Post a Comment