Tennis Doubles Strategy

Doubles require you to be smarter with your strategies as it’s a more finesse game than a singles match.

It takes time for a singles player to become accustomed to playing in a doubles match as you have more room to move and there are more pieces in play.

Here are the best tennis doubles strategies to try with your partner!

10 Tips To Win Tennis Doubles

10 Tips To Win Tennis Doubles

1. Lobbing the Return Serve

When To Use

The strategy is to create instant chaos for the opposing players in the doubles matches. Use it when you’re looking for an opportunity to pick off a weak reply. Use it on the first serve return. This is a good trick to learn if you want to get better at playing tennis

If you’re playing against players who bear down tight on the net or have weak return for the put-aways, lobbing the return save is an excellent strategy to mix it up.


It’s a surprise move, which causes the team on the other side of the net to be caught in surprise. Furthermore, due to the sudden mix-up, it forces your opponents to change their tennis doubles positioning as the first serve return is the hardest to anticipate.

Ultimately, changing their strategy enables you to score a few more points in the tennis game.


It does take time before you can apply it in an actual match. You have to ensure that it’s over the non-dominant shoulder of your partner, so if you weren’t able to execute it properly, you won’t accidentally hit the net player.

Make sure to practice this tennis doubles strategy in practice matches before trying it on the court.

2. Taking Over the Net

When To Use

Use this tennis doubles strategy to force the opposing players on their heels, making it challenging for them to return difficult low percentage shots. 

The taking over the net strategy is a common tennis doubles strategy used by the Bryon Brothers. At the end of the match, you are only a few feet away from the net. 

Use net strategies when you can consistently play a close net game as it places pressure on the opponent.

Taking Over the Net


Volleys are near the net, so they’re easier shots to perform, meaning you’ll score more points. In addition, it gives you better net angles, allowing you to smash the tennis ball down into the court.


The strategy only works if you can position yourselves close to the net. Finding the right timing to do that requires experience as your opponent may make shots that force you two to stay at the baseline. 

If not, you may be giving free points to your opponents, making it harder to break serve.

3. Attacking the Middle of the Court

When To Use

Use the attacking middle of the court strategy in variation to your down-the-line and wide crosscourt hits to surprise the opposing team. Even those who are just starting out playing tennis can easily learn this strategy.


When the tennis ball bounces down the middle of the court, it creates confusion, which causes the opposing players to rush towards the center of the court.

As soon as that takes place, you and your teammate can close in on the net in preparation for the next shot.


To pull this off, you and your partner need to be capable of hitting short and sharp angles precisely that’s far away from both of the opposing players. 

If you can’t do this effectively, you might give the opposing players an opening to hit sharp angles.

4. Aiming for the Opponent’s Feet

When To Use

You aim at the net player’s feet. It’s the perfect opportunity to score a point when you return a shot by focusing on your volley target.


Using this technique makes the doubles game to your advantage because a soft volley is a low percentage shot at returning than the high volleys.

If you are close to the net, you can hit lower and harder, reducing the other team’s chances of returning the shot.


There is still a possibility that your opponents can return the shot as getting close to the net may be difficult, depending on the flow of the doubles play.

On the other hand, you’ll force the net doubles player to give you a defensive shot return up in the air, which you give you the chance to put away.

5. Poaching & Faking Out Your Opponent

When To Use

Poach when the net player crosses the opposing side of the court to cut the tennis ball. 

The poaching and faking out your opponent’s strategy when playing doubles works best if you have a reputation as a tennis player who patches.  

Your opponents are likely to anticipate your move, so you stir things by faking out the opposing player. 

You do this by taking a big step towards the center line of the court as if you are about to poach their shot.

It’s a good idea to poach in the first few games.



It’s an effective approach in applying pressure to the other tennis athletes. It may force them to change their course of action, which they may lob or do a down-the-line power shot.


To maximize this doubles tennis strategy, your partner needs to know when you will use the technique. Creating a signal of some sort with your teammate can help you have control of the doubles game.

If your partner is late in catching the signals, the poach and fake-out strategy won’t help you establish your doubles tennis match’s momentum.

6. Using Standard Doubles Formation

When To Use

The standard doubles formation is one player at the net while the other player stands a couple of feet away from the doubles alley. The formation is the most common because it is the best formation to do in most cases. 

You can use this anywhere between 75-90% throughout your doubles strategy. You can then add different variations to keep the opposing players off balance.


The standard formation enables you to hit deep and more consistent groundstrokes crosscourt. There is also a player who covers the lob, and a net player to attack when an opportunity arises. 

As you are playing doubles, the baseline player is given a higher margin of error as well.


The timid net players don’t want to associate with the formation. It doesn’t favor you as you want your rivals to go through the player at the net.

An experienced team can use your standard formation as momentum to bring easy to return crosscourt shots.

7. Using Australian Formation

When To Use

The Australian Formation happens when both the serve and the net player are standing on the same side of the tennis court, so half of the court is open. 

The best way to use the formation is when the opposing players are giving you strong crosscourt returns, causing you to lose most of the points. 

Using this formation forces the player to go down the line where returns are more difficult. 

Another great time to use the formation is when the server prefers hitting groundstrokes from one side of the court.

If you have a weaker backhand, you will benefit a lot from this strategy as your opponent will have no choice but to return serve to your forehand side.

Australian Formation


When a returner has a weak down-the-line return, the Australian formation is used to force them into a low winning percentage shot, which causes plenty of errors. 

If you are using this on the ad side, the server will use forehand groundstrokes when they are right-handed.


You have half of the court wide open. Hard down the line return may be a winner unless the server moves fast.

8. Using the I Formation

When To Use

The I formation happens when both the net player and server form close to an I, which is a great tactic. Then, the net player stands on or nearby to the middle service line. 

The server stands near to the center as well. You have to communicate with your doubles partner before the game to determine which direction you and your teammate moves after the serve, usually with hand signaling.

A good time to use is when you are getting into the rhythm while taking advantage of the standard formation. The I formation gives a good variation. It’s best to use it three to five times per set.


The returner does not know what the net player will make, placing pressure on the returner to have a good return.

With the I formation, you can force the other side to have plenty of missed returns.


If the returner can hit a solid down-the-line shot, the chances of the shot being a winner are high.

On the other hand, it may put the team off balance for a few exchanges.

9. Moving Side to Side at the Net

When To Use

The moving side to side at the net formation is the ideal doubles games strategy at the net. You move laterally at the net. The best time to do this is when the opposing players are getting ready to hit a groundstroke as it puts pressure on them. You can master this move by practicing with your partner or even when you’re practicing by yourself


Tennis athletes are trained to avoid hitting the net player in doubles, so the chances are they will change the direction of the shot. Or they have no choice but to hit a lower percentage shot. 

The doubles strategy causes a lot of unforced errors, which frustrates the opposing team. If you are faking, there’s also a chance to get an easy volley technique to score a point.


Finding the opportunity to position yourself from side to side of the net is difficult, so it’s essential to have a keen eye and wait for the perfect time to do so.

You need to practice the net position many times. Or else the plan might backfire.

10. Hitting Your Opponent’s Weakness

When To Use

Most tennis athletes have a weak groundstroke, and the other half of players have a weak backhand. Use the strategy when you have identified the opposing player’s weakness. 

You can keep the shots away from the player’s forehands helps a lot, and it’s mainly when the player is returning your serve in tennis matches

You can aim for the deep corner close to the doubles alley and within the doubles line

Hitting Opponent’s Weakness


If the players have a dominant right hand, you aim down the T, where the center service line and the horizontal service line intersect perpendicularly. 

Conversely, if the opposing players are left-handed, you must serve out wide to the player’s backhand. It makes opponents uncomfortable.

The one-shot is enough to destroy your opponent’s rhythm.


Finding the opportunity to hit your opponent’s weakness will take time as your opponent is already fully aware of their weak points.

Therefore, they make sure they don’t leave any openings where you can exploit their weaknesses.


You can win doubles tennis with a weak partner by using simple, aggressive net play. 

It is an effective strategy because if you play offense, the less time the opposing net player has to expose the weaker player.

A surprise aim for the middle net strap also makes them taken aback.

The left-handed player needs to be on the ad side. Meanwhile, the right-handed player is on the deuce side.

The hand signals used by the payers in a doubles tennis match are used by the net player, which gives signals where the server should hit the shot and where the net player moves right after the serve.

You stand at the net in doubles at tennis when the team is serving. Your teammate is close to the net while you are standing close to the single sideline serving.

Professional tennis players look for partners that complement their playing style. For example, a big hitter matches well with a consistent returner player to balance their strengths and weaknesses when playing tennis. 

The legendary doubles team-up is Roger Federer And Rafael Nadal. (1)

The Key to Winning Tennis Doubles

The key to winning tennis doubles is choosing a partner that complements your playing style, taking advantage of the second serve as it’s their weakest, and aiming to have the highest first-serve percentage.

Playing mixed doubles calls for an entirely different strategy. It is because in mixed doubles, your strength and speed greatly vary.

You need to work closely with the team’s tennis coach to hone your doubles tennis skills. 

It’s essential to research your competitors as well, so you can focus on training for strategies that work with the best.



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