A few months after I first picked up a tennis racket, I was thrown into a round robin of mixed doubles. An alarming experience, to say the least. I barely had groundstrokes, let alone volleys, and didn’t even know where to stand.
A pattern quickly emerged. My partner would leap heroically around the court, hitting all the balls, until I got lucky / unlucky enough to hit a ball, causing it to sail wide. It didn’t take me long to figure out that watching, rather than playing, was safer for my team – and my ego.
Subsequent matches confirmed the pattern. And it wasn’t just me; I observed other teams where men hit 90% of the balls, running energetically in front, behind, and nearly through their female partners.
I started wondering: Why do women bother playing mixed doubles?
It took years for me to understand the benefits and, yes, even the fun, of mixed doubles. I’d like to share what I’ve learned.