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Top Five Doubles Tips for the Receiver

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Doubles Tip for the Receiver #5: If the server's partner isn't attacking returns sent across the middle, hit fairly hard a bit wide of the middle. The server may hesitate, expecting his partner to take the ball, and then will have very little angle to work with, often setting your partner up to move forward and put the next ball away.

Doubles Tip for the Receiver #4: Send the incoming server a mixture of heavy topspins, heavy slices, and flatter shots; each spin flies through the air differently and bounces off the volleyer's racquet differently. The volleyer will often hit a heavy backspin into the net, for example, because the spin pushes the ball downward off the volleyer's strings.

Doubles Tip for the Receiver #3: If the server stays back, try some high, deep topspin returns, especially to the backhand, then come right in to pick off an often weak reply.

Doubles Tip for the Receiver #2: Dare the server to hit to your strong side by standing way over on your weak side. The most common example is to stand almost in the alley on the ad side if you have a strong inside-out forehand. The server will see what looks like a big opening up the middle, but her serve will angle toward you, and you should be able to step over and hit your favorite shot. Alternatively, the server might miss a lot of serves trying to find the tiny slot still open to make you hit a backhand.

Doubles Tip for the Receiver #1: If the server comes in and the server's partner is aggressive, use one of these returns: Short and wide will force the server to volley or half-volley up, where your partner will often have a chance to put away a volley. Down the line into the alley is often a difficult shot, but it's also a clean winner if the server's partner has poached or isn't alert. Hard and right at where the server's partner starts is often a winner if the server's partner poaches and often a difficult shot for him to handle even if he stays put. Lobbing over the server's partner is an excellent play, especially on the deuce side, where whoever retrieves the lob will probably have to hit a high backhand.

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