After the doubles matches are played, the singles line up against one another. The players from each team are ranked, with the number-one seeds playing each other, twos playing each other, and so on. Although the rankings can change on a weekly basis, it is rare for a coach to manipulate the playing order to improve his odds of winning.
Singles and doubles
In the NCAA, singles and doubles differ in the way they are scored. A singles match is composed of three sets, and whichever player wins two secures a point for his team. In contrast, there are three doubles matches, and each is composed of a single set. The set is played until one team gets eight points and is ahead by two. The team that wins at least two of the three doubles matches earns a single point for their team. Because the doubles matches are before the singles matches, this point is useful in boosting team morale.
A second difference between the two is the area played on the court: The court is narrower for singles matches.
The clean sweep
A perfect match would be to win 7-0, with one point coming from the doubles games and six from the singles matches.
Under one roof
Until April, the Yale tennis team competes mainly indoors. When it goes outside, the conditions change — the ball bounces differently, the strings contract less and the athlete must deal with elements like wind and rain.
A home away from home
Right now, the indoor facilities by the IM fields are under renovation. In the meantime, the two teams have been using a facility in Woodbridge, Conn. Because they are borrowing space, the women practice from 6 to 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, and a bit later on the weekends. The men practice from 9 to 11 p.m. Fortunately, the new facilities should be up and running by the end of Spring Break. The new space will have eight indoor courts, with scoreboards and cameras on each one. There will also be a built-in speaker system to allow players to listen to music during practice, new locker rooms, new team meeting rooms with flat screen TVs and improved viewing areas for spectators.
Tanned, buff and most beautiful
Over spring break, the men’s team heads to California, and the women’s team heads first to Colorado and then to California. The trips will prepare the athletes for their all-important Ivy season, which begins after break. They come back tan, in shape and — for those like Rory Green ’08 of “50 Most” — beautiful.
Both teams are close with one another. There are brothers — Connor ’10 and Jeff Dawson ’09 — on the men’s team, which makes for an unusual dynamic.
The woman’s team has specific sayings that members use to fire each other up. Inspired by the movie “Miracle,” the girls have the captain shout out “Who do you play for?” and the rest of the girls respond by yelling out “YALE!”
The women’s team is suffering from injuries right now. Both Sarah Lederhandler ’10 and Lauren Ritz ’11 sat out last weekend’s matches, leaving them with the bare minimum of six players. Fortunately, the two girls should be back in action in time for the start of the Ivy Season.
Last year, the Bulldogs finished fifth in men’s tennis and second in women’s tennis.
Janet Kim ’09 for the girls, Mike Caldwell ’09 for the guys.
Forehand: For righties — a swing that crosses the body from right to left.
Backhand: For righties — a swing that crosses the body from left to right.
Sweet spot: The part of the racquet that produces the best hit.
Game/Set/Match point: Think of it as “check” in tennis — the winning player only needs one more point to win.
Ace: When a player wins a point on the serve.
Tennis scoring: each individual point, instead of simply being 1, 2, 3 and 4, is “love,” “15,” “30,” “40” and “game.” The exact origin of this scoring terminology is unknown.
Deuce: game tied at 40-40.
Advantage: when an athlete has a one-point advantage over another. The player with the advantage plays for the set point.