Men and women can team up to play doubles.
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Playing doubles is a good introduction to tennis if you're a beginner. You don't have to cover as much ground when you team with a partner, as opposed to playing singles. Additionally, if you play with a more experienced teammate, he can offer immediate feedback and advice when you make a mistake, so you can learn while you're playing. But even if you're a beginner, you need to know the basic rules of doubles tennis so you don't feel lost on the court.
Aside from the obvious fact that doubles tennis is played by a two-person team, the biggest difference between singles and doubles is the court. The playing surface features four long lines that run the length of the court and are perpendicular to the net. The two inner lines are the singles sidelines. The outer stripes are the doubles sidelines, which make the doubles court 9 feet wider than the singles configuration. The baselines remain the same for singles and doubles. Except for serves, your goal is to hit the ball within the doubles lines. As in singles, the baseline and sidelines count as part of the court.
Serving and Receiving
The singles sidelines also form the outside lines of the service courts. This is the only occasion when the singles lines come into play during doubles, because the service courts remain the same. At the start of each set, you and your partner must decide which player will serve first. If you serve first then you continue serving for the rest of the game, switching between the right and left halves of the court, as you would in singles. Your partner will serve during your team's next service game. When the opposing team serves, you and your partner must alternate as the returner. The receiver's partner may stand anywhere on the court she wishes during the serve, as long as she doesn't hinder the server.
During a rally, either player may handle any shot. With the exception of the service and the service returns, one player can theoretically make the remainder of the team's shots during a point. In reality, you typically divide the court into zones and play any ball within your zone. The rules for rallies are the same as the singles rules, except for the size of the court. Your team may only hit the ball once, so if you're near the net, for example, and your teammate hits a return in your direction, make sure it doesn't touch you as it passes, or your team loses the point.
Before you begin a match, you and your partner should decide how you'll divide the court during rallies. The simplest strategies for beginners are the вЂњup-and-backвЂќ and вЂњside-to-sideвЂќ methods. If you're serving, for example, your partner can stand near the net, then remain there throughout the point, hoping to intercept an opponent's shot and hit a winning volley. You remain near the baseline after your serve and handle any balls hit over or past your teammate. Alternatively, your partner can begin near the baseline as well, on the other side of your court. Each of you then plays balls hit to your half of the court.