Advanced Positioning in Mixed Doubles
One Picture, One Important Mixed Doubles Lesson
A picture can say a thousand words, but I’m just going to make one important point about how to play mixed doubles. This was from the Australian Open Mixed Doubles Final. Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal (far side of picture) took on Ivan Dodig and Sonia Mirza. Here are my takeaways from this picture:
Cabal is taking a lot of risk here. It looks like Dodig has an easy forehand in the middle of the court, yet Cabal is standing dead center. There appears to be a Big Opening for Dodig. However, they’re in the middle of the second set, and Dodig has been hitting way more balls to Spears, who sometimes gets overpowered by the Croat’s forehand, so Cabal doesn’t want to give Dodig an easy target to do so. He gives Dodig an easy target going the other way, which Dodig doesn’t really want to go for, and if he doesn’t do enough with this shot, Cabal will get his racquet on the ball and win the point. What happened? Dodig goes for the inside-out forehand into the open court and misses it in the net!!!
You could say Cabal went for a low percentage play. He was out of position, especially when his opponent has an easy forehand. But I say Cabal was getting himself in the game! If he had stayed on his side, he would not see the ball. It would go back to his partner in the back, Dodig/Mirza could move forward and take over the net, and get a better chance to win the point with a volley. Cabal took some risk and it paid off! Cabal/Spears went on to win the match in straight sets! Now, here’s one more picture, Cabal and his partner reacting after the point:
Brad Breakstone Associate Tennis Professional
Brad Breakstone grew up in Bedford, NY and played four years of varsity tennis on the Fox Lane High School team. A psychology major at SUNY New Paltz, Brad played Division III tennis all four years and was among the top 3 singles and first doubles throughout his collegiate career.View Profile