Flip to a television channel broadcasting a professional tennis match and it is nearly guaranteed that you will be tuning in to a singles match. Maybe it’s the versatility needed for singles; or maybe having too many stars on the court prevents anyone from standing out; or maybe it is some other reason – but practically no one cares about doubles on that level.
The only famous doubles team that I know is the American duo Bob and Mike Bryan – better known as “the Bryan brothers” – and that’s only because DJ Khaled’s song “All I Do Is Win” is pretty much about them.
The whole dynamic changes when tennis is played as a team sport. At the college level, there is usually a split between which mode players enjoy more: do they like the solitude and responsibility of singles, or is doubles – where they can cooperate and hopefully share their victories – more their style?
Rather than try to decide for myself which is better, I emailed the members of the Geneseo tennis team and asked for their opinions. Here are their responses:
Senior Clarissa Bohlmann (who – I might add – is back in her homeland of Germany after spending the fall semester at Geneseo): “I prefer playing doubles because it’s first of all more fun with someone else that can cheer you up or motivate [you] and shares the game with you. Also, I think it’s more of a commitment, as you are responsible not only for yourself, and cannot just give up without giving up the other person as well.”
Sophomore Harpreet Aujla: “I prefer to play doubles because I love to volley and play at net.”
Freshman Maggie Hale: “I enjoy doubles more because tennis is such an individual game that it is nice to have a partner on the court.”
Freshman Karli Hollins: “I prefer to play singles. I enjoy singles better because I don’t have to depend on another person to make a shot and I have control over each shot I make.” (Although Hale and Hollins might differ in their preferences, when they share a court it doesn’t seem to affect them; they are a combined 13-3 on the year.)
Freshman Ooha Kambhampati: “I think I would say I prefer to play singles. Singles is a more individual game so I can depend only on myself for mistakes and strategies. Singles is also where I feel the most comfortable playing because it’s something I can focus on. It’s a lot easier for me to play when I do not have to wonder what my partner is going to do next and how I can help them to win the point.”
As for me, I like singles. I went undefeated my senior year of high school in singles – no big deal.
Regardless, both styles of play have their merits, as each case has been made here.
The Knights play next on Sunday April 6 when they will travel to face Hamilton College.