The Disappearance of the Doubles Game

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The Disappearance of the Doubles Game

Where has all the doubles gone, long time passing?

Where has all the doubles gone, long time ago?

Where has all the doubles gone?

The ATP has pushed doubles over a cliff.

Oh, when will they ever learn?

Oh, when will they ever learn?

Is the ATP trying to wipe doubles off the face of the map, or is it trying to revamp the game for new generations?  Unfortunately, doubles frequently plays the ugly stepchild to the singles game. 

I guess the media thinks we prefer to watch the monotonous baseline rally game that is singles rather than the electrifying attack game that is doubles. 

Except for the rare display of talent from Federer and Nadal, I don’t think I’m overstating myself when I say if you’ve seen one singles match, you have seen them all. 

I want to see some doubles and I don’t care if the top 30 singles players aren’t playing.  Doubles has stars of their own. However, I wouldn’t know that from watching TV—they don’t broadcast doubles matches.

Take the Bryan brothers for example—cute, energetic, and American.  They never stop bouncing, and they employ the chest bump on a regular basis. 

Still ranked No. 1 after collecting their sixth grand slam title at the 2008 US Open, could you ask for a better face to market the doubles game?  I think not. 

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m the only one with a hunger to watch doubles matches.  Maybe the rest of you are content watching the same singles point on repeat, but I doubt it. 

In 2006, the ATP changed some rules in the doubles game.  The changes included a super tie break in place of a third set and the employment of no-ad scoring to speed up the tempo of play. 

The ATP states the changes will entice more singles players to play doubles because the matches are shorter in length.  Furthermore, they claim this will allow for more doubles matches to get time on the show courts. 

If destroying the sanctity of doubles is the only way to save the game, I think the ATP needs to reevaluate their goals.  The ATP isn’t saving doubles—they are pushing the game off a cliff. 

As a college tennis player, I never understood why doubles continually got the shaft.  In college we play three doubles matches and six singles matches. 

For doubles, we only play an eight game pro-set.  The singles, however, is a regular tennis match, best of three sets.  I understand the logic behind the college format—there is not enough time to play a full match for both singles and doubles.

But still, no one would ever suggest that we play a pro-set for singles, it is always assumed that doubles can fulfill that role. 

Singles gets put on a pedestal in the tennis world and I don’t understand why.  I wish more people had the opportunity to see the doubles game in action.  They would realize—as far as quality and entertainment are concerned—it rates just as high or even higher than most singles matches. 

I’ll admit some of my bias is coming out—I love to volley and thus, I love to play doubles.  I’m sorry but I rather end the point quickly at the net instead of being the last one standing from the baseline. 

Doubles is all about the attack—cutting across the court to poach.  In doubles you can play different formations: regular, Australian, I, or even two back.  Doubles lends itself to more experimentation, and in return, results in more excitement for the players and viewers.

Where has all the doubles gone, long time passing?

Where has all the doubles gone, long time ago?

The ATP may not appreciate the doubles game, but it doesn’t mean we have to fall in line with their ludicrous views.  Grab a rope and throw it to the Bryan brothers—we need to pull them away from the edge of that cliff.

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