Is a mirror of the times, the media focuses more on the top singles players rather than on doubles players. Even if it is surely more fun to play and watch compared to singles, doubles is put in a secondary role and only considered in the news in occasion of team competitions as Davis Cup.
Yet, it helps to socialize, to develop skills and widely practiced in tennis clubs all over the world, although mainly by adults over fifty years of age.
The country that appreciates doubles the most is the U.S.A for various reasons:
they have an all-together higher average sport culture;they give a great importance to college competitions in which doubles often determines the final score;the average age of players in sports club is quite high, so by having to cover “only” half the court they are more likely to be able to move easily.
For the younger ones, it’s an important, holistic, growth opportunity. It helps expanding the technical knowledge, various strokes are made from different parts of the court, so the tactical sense is enhanced. With some logic and a proper guide, the shot selection according to the situation becomes easier to understand. It also helps to develop a conscious learning. It favours the control of emotions; young people play with less pressure thanks to the support of a partner with whom they share responsibilities; they don’t want to look bad, so they tend to be more focused and composed.
Nevertheless in tennis schools, doubles plays a minor role due to parents and coaches being influenced by the media which leads them to be oriented almost entirely to individuality and singles.
But doubles is spectacular, at pro level it could be possible to have three or four times more highlights in comparison to singles. The prize money is very respectable in important tournaments so why is the media coverage and crowd watching the matches substantially lower?
Many of the best ranked doubles players in the world result in being carneades, mainly unknown to the majority of the regular fans, unless being great singles players. This happens for men and partially for women. A top doubles ranked player would have difficulties in being ranked in the top 50 in the world singles ranking.
I would like to suggest a few considerations for all the enthusiasts:
managed differently, could doubles be a way to further promote tennis?
In the case of a positive answer, would it be suitable for the international organizations to “force” the participation of top singles players?
I leave the asnwers to everyone’s sensitivity. In this case a debate could be useful to give a more clearly defined connotation to a discipline that nowadays, does not have a logic considering the costs-benefits ratio.
As a coach and passionate about this sport I’d like to stop hearing sentences like it happened to me years ago at a Grand Slam event when a player told her partner before a doubles match: “Don’t worry if you are not feeling well, you know we are playing just to get the cheque of the first round!”