Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Never underestimate the value of a familiar doubles pairing (2)!

I first wrote on this subject over 20 months ago, and it's as true now as it has always been. At the time, I was about to start my only season (to date) of men's doubles in the Ultimate Tennis flex league , and my ALTA partner and I - who'd gone 4-1 during the spring season - went on to win our division so decisively that they wouldn't let us play in the playoffs.

Last Friday night, as the USTA League's spring mixed season began, I got to play with a favorite partner of mine. Except for an ALTA match here and there, we haven't been able to play mixed doubles together since the fall of 2011 (when my USTA rating got bumped up half a level). But since we are now playing COMBO 7.5 instead of regular 7.0, we are an eligible pairing once again. Good thing too since I think we only ever lost one USTA match together, and that was in the State of Georgia tournament's Round of 16.

As I was relating Friday night's win to a fellow teammate, our pairing is like "hand in glove", and we won 3 and 3. There was a point in the match where we were down 2-3 love-40 in the second set, but then didn't lose another game. It's funny because - looking about our preferred game 'styles', e.g. on paper - we're not a natural pairing. Each of us prefers to play back - she is a great lobber while I prefer to rip forehands - but we are both tall and adequate at the net, all court players if you will. But we've played - and won - enough matches together that we BELIEVE we will win, and each have enough confidence that our partner will come through with a winning shot at the right time, such that we've lost very few matches. In fact, earlier this year in ALTA, we won a match at A-8 , line 2 together - against the team that would win our division - even though we hadn't been paired in over a year (except in practice).

So, I'll say it again - especially for team captains, you can't overestimate the value of a tried-and-truth doubles pairing!

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