Mixed doubles

What is the definition of Mixed doubles in tennis?

Mixed doubles is a unique form of tennis that combines both male and female players on the same team. In mixed doubles, each team consists of one man and one woman, creating an exciting and dynamic gameplay. While this format is less common in professional tennis due to the separate organization of men’s and women’s tours by the ATP and WTA respectively, mixed doubles remains a popular and enjoyable format for recreational tennis players and fans alike.

These matches follow the same basic rules as traditional doubles matches, with a few adaptations to accommodate the mixed-gender teams. Players must strategize and communicate effectively to combine their individual strengths and weaknesses, often leading to entertaining and unpredictable outcomes. Although less common in professional tennis, some Grand Slam tournaments, such as the US Open, still feature mixed doubles as part of the competition.

Key Takeaways

  • Mixed doubles tennis features one male and one female player on each team.
  • The game follows most of the traditional doubles rules, with slight adaptations for mixed-gender teams.
  • Despite its rarity in professional tennis, mixed doubles is popular among recreational players and is occasionally showcased in Grand Slam tournaments.

Basics of Mixed Doubles in Tennis

Mixed doubles in tennis is a variation of the sport, featuring teams comprising one man and one woman. Just like in singles and traditional doubles, the objective is to win points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court, making it difficult for the rival team to return it.

The tennis court dimensions and match format in mixed doubles are the same as in regular doubles:

  • Court dimensions: 78 ft × 36 ft (23.77 m × 10.97 m) with a doubles alley on each side
  • Match format: Best-of-three-sets

Strategies and Techniques

In order to effectively play mixed doubles, teams must employ specific strategies and techniques that differ from traditional doubles. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Communication: Constant communication between partners is essential to coordinate movements and shot selection.
  2. Serve and volley: As in regular doubles, players should aim to rapidly approach the net as soon as their partner serves the ball. This can put added pressure on the receiver to return a low-volley shot.
  3. Positioning: Positioning in mixed doubles can significantly impact a team’s success. It is common to see the stronger player, usually the man, playing at the baseline while the other player stays closer to the net. However, both players should be comfortable alternating positions during a point.
  4. Playing to strengths: Mixed doubles teams should focus on playing to each partner’s strengths. For instance, a player with a powerful serve should aim to deliver forceful serves that set up advantageous shots for their partner.
  5. Targeting a specific opponent: In mixed doubles, it is essential to identify which member of the opposing team is weaker and focus on targeting them to increase the chances of winning points.

The key to success in mixed doubles lies in effective communication, positioning, and exploiting each partner’s strengths while strategically targeting the weaker opponent. By mastering these tactics, mixed doubles teams can significantly improve their overall performance. Mixed doubles remains an exciting and unique way to enjoy the game of tennis.

Rules and Regulations

Scoring System

In mixed doubles tennis, the scoring system is identical to traditional tennis. Points are awarded as 15, 30, 40, and game. If the score reaches 40-40 (deuce), a player or team must win two consecutive points to secure the game. A set is won when a team reaches six games, with a difference of at least two games over their opponents. If the set reaches a 6-6 tie, a tiebreak is played to determine the winner.

Service Rotation

The service rotation in mixed doubles is unique in that it must alternate between male and female players. The serving order is decided before the match begins. One team chooses which player will serve first, and the opposing team decides the receiving order. After each game, the serving order rotates among the four players, maintaining the male-female alternation.

For example, if Team A has players A1 (male) and A2 (female), and Team B has players B1 (male) and B2 (female):

  1. A1 serves to B1
  2. B2 serves to A2
  3. A2 serves to B2
  4. B1 serves to A1

This rotation continues until the set is completed.

Court Boundaries

The court boundaries in mixed doubles are the same as in regular doubles tennis. On the tennis court, the tramlines (outer doubles lines) are used, making the court wider than in singles. The doubles court width is 36 feet (10.97 meters) compared to the singles court width of 27 feet (8.23 meters) source. The length of the court remains the same at 78 feet (23.77 meters).

During a serve, the server must hit the ball into the opponent’s service box, which is diagonally opposite the server’s position. After the serve, players can utilize the entire doubles court area for play.

Strategies for Success


Effective communication is essential for mixed doubles success. Both partners should constantly inform each other about their intentions, such as calling out which player will take a particular shot. Clear and timely communication can help teammates avoid confusion and capitalize on opportunities during the game.

Positioning and Movement

Proper positioning and movement play a significant role in a successful mixed doubles strategy. When serving in doubles, it’s crucial to concentrate on the T (center) and the body of the opponent on the service return, making it more challenging for them to execute an aggressive return.

It’s also essential for the net player to maintain an active body position, constantly adjusting their stance based on the ball’s location. This movement helps prepare the net player to execute quick volleys and intercept the opponent’s shots more effectively.

Here are some key positioning tips:

  • Stand closer to the center line when serving or receiving to cover more court area.
  • Move in unison with your partner to maintain good court coverage.
  • Be ready to shift positions based on your opponent’s shot selection.


In mixed doubles tennis, exceptional teamwork is vital for success. Partners should have complementary strengths and be able to support each other during the match. A well-coordinated team can exploit the weaknesses of their opponents, putting additional pressure on them and increasing the chances of winning points.

Some tips for improving teamwork in mixed doubles include:

  1. Practice together regularly to develop chemistry and understand each other’s play styles.
  2. Create a game plan based on mutual strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Motivate and support each other throughout the match, regardless of the score.

By focusing on communication, positioning and movement, and teamwork, mixed doubles teams can greatly improve their chances of success on the tennis court.

Influence on Professional Tennis

Notable Examples

Mixed doubles is a game format in tennis, where each team consists of one male and one female player. Although this format is less common in professional tennis compared to singles or same-sex doubles events, there have been some significant examples of mixed doubles partnerships. The 2019 Wimbledon tournament saw siblings Venus Williams and Jamie Murray playing together, following the earlier partnership between Serena Williams and Andy Murray.

The Williams sisters have been a successful mixed doubles team in the past, having secured two Grand Slam titles playing together. Furthermore, Roger Federer and Martina Hingis represented Switzerland together during the 2001 Hopman Cup event. These notable examples illustrate the potential for exciting and unexpected partnerships in mixed doubles tennis.

Impact on Audience

The audience’s interest in mixed doubles events is positively influenced by the unique partnerships and dynamics present in this format. Combining players from both the ATP and WTA tours allows for the possibility of intriguing pairings that would otherwise be unlikely in a competitive setting. The presence of top-ranked players from each tour can generate additional excitement for spectators.

In addition to the excitement provided by the player combinations, mixed doubles tennis showcases different playing styles and strategies. The format requires tactical adjustments for both male and female players, as they must adapt their play to complement their partner’s strengths and weaknesses. This variation in strategies and techniques adds another layer of excitement to the game for the audience.

The rise of mixed doubles events in exhibition matches and select tournaments also offers a unique opportunity for spectators to enjoy tennis in a more relaxed and entertaining atmosphere. Matches are often characterized by lighthearted moments and good-natured banter, providing a contrast to the intensity found in singles and doubles matches. This distinctive environment contributes to the growing interest in mixed doubles tennis among fans and enthusiasts.