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Talking with Doubles Expert Will Boucek

Talking with Doubles Expert Will Boucek

So many club players love doubles and come to tournaments like the Miami Open to see great doubles in action. But why isn’t it shown more on television? Why aren’t doubles players celebrated more and covered in the same way as singles players by the media? ATP and WTA Doubles Strategy Analyst, Will Boucek, Founder and CEO of Tennis Tribe set out to answer these questions and to bring the respect to doubles that it deserves. He has written extensively on doubles strategy and interviewed the top doubles players on the WTA and ATP tours. He even wears a T-Shirt that he designed that says, “Watch More Doubles.”    

Above: Will Boucek, Doubles Expert/Founder of Tennis TribePhoto: Adam Ross / Florida Tennis.

Florida Tennis caught up with Boucek when we interviewed one of the top doubles teams, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. Boucek’s questions were very analytical and detailed - you could tell right away that Ram and Salisbury were intrigued by the questions. After that interview, Boucek was kind enough to speak with Florida Tennis about his passion for doubles.

Three quick takeaways from this discussion. First, do not play doubles against Will Boucek unless you’re looking for a tennis lesson. He is a pleasant person but it’s clear that when he steps on the court (his doubles laboratory) he will immediately find and exploit your team’s weaknesses. Second, his knowledge of doubles strategy is incredible. If you want to play better doubles at any level, this is your go to guy. Third, a lot of his insights and knowledge are available on his website and other forums such as his Doubles Only Tennis Podcast, for free. If you want to take it to the next level there is some additional content for sale at Tennis Tribe.

Florida Tennis asked Boucek what he considered to be the worst mistake that is routinely made by club doubles players. Here is what he had to say: “Covering the alley. Net players are covering the alley too much. You should squeeze the middle, instead. So too many players are thinking that they need to cover their half. And that's not how good doubles is played. If you watched Ram and Salisbury today, there were several points, in some of those extended rallies, where they're crossing and switching sides and it's so beautiful to watch if you really know what's going on. So, covering the alleys, there's two issues with that — one is that most balls go through the middle of the court. So as the net player you want to cover the middle of the court. The down the line shot is much lower percentage. And I think for whatever reason, we feel worse when we lose a point getting burned down the line. So people cover the alley and then their partner loses the point at the baseline. People seem to accept that outcome better even though they're both worth only one point. So, it's really just kind of a math problem. I majored in math in college. You really have to count each time you go to the middle. If they tried to go down the line and missed versus they tried to go down the line and made it or sometimes they'll try to go for a bigger angle cross court and you forced an error. It’s not just, oh, I got burned down the line, so I’m gonna start covering it, which is too simplistic, and that's how most players think.”

You can find Boucek’s insights, strategy sessions, interviews with top doubles players and podcasts on his website, Check it out if you want to learn more about doubles and remember, Will Boucek wants you to “Watch More Doubles.”


Adam Ross is a contributing writer for Florida Tennis. He is a volunteer for the USTA Florida and the Vice-President of the Tennis Collectors of America/TCA. He welcomes your questions and comments at Top photo, featuring from left to right: Miami Open Men's Doubles Champions Matthew Ebden and Rohan Bopanna: Miami Open / Hard Rock Stadium.

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