In this excerpt for his book, Game, Set and Match, noted tennis journalist Mark Hodgkinson outlines the Bryan Brothers principles of doubles that have made them the most successful team in tennis history, based on his exclusive interviews with Bob and Mike.
Serve high first serve percentages, and use the body serve.
You need a higher first-serve percentage in doubles than you do in singles: "In singles you can serve 50 per cent and be fine, but in doubles you need to serve high 70s."
"So a lot of the time we won't go for the flat bomb. We will take off 10mph. We'll go for the higher-percentage serve."
The body serve is great in doubles: "It cuts down opponents’ angles and jams them and reduces their options, and that frees up your partner at the net to poach. Also, when you go for a body serve, you're not going to miss the serve wide so that helps to keep your percentage up."
Have a plan for every point: "We make a quick signal before the point. It really helps the guy at the net to know where his partner is going to serve, as then you have a bead on the return."
Mark Hodgkinson is a tennis journalist and author based in London. Formerly the tennis correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, he has written biographies of Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl. An editor for TheTennisSpace.com, he has also written for GQ, the official programs of Wimbledon and the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals and the BBC. Click Here to write to him at The Tennis Space!
Game, Set and Match
Game, Set and Match is the unprecedented collection of tennis tips from over 30 of the game's superstars, legends, and tour coaches including Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Bob and Mike Bryan, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, Paul Annacone, Toni Nadal, Boris Becker, Robert Lansdorp and many others. Covering every aspect of the game, this book is a fascinating, insightful, and invaluable resource for tennis players worldwide.