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Mixed Doubles Tennis Rules: A Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever wanted to try mixed doubles tennis but weren’t sure where to start? Playing tennis with a mixed doubles partner can be challenging yet extremely fun and rewarding! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding the mixed doubles tennis rules and strategies is key to leveling up your game.

This comprehensive guide will cover all the basics for excelling at mixed doubles. What are the rules and scoring? How should you position yourself on the court? What are some top serving and return tactics? Let’s find out!

Mixed Doubles Tennis Rules and Scoring

Before getting into court positioning and playing strategies, the first step is understanding mixed doubles tennis serving rules and scoring format.

 The rules are mostly the same as a traditional doubles match. Here are the key things you need to know:

The Basics
  • Mixed doubles is played between two teams of two players, with one male and one female on each side.
  • Matches consist of the best of three tiebreak sets, or 3rd set super tiebreak.
  • Standard tennis scoring of 15, 30, and 40 applies in mixed doubles, or sudden death where the player wins on deuce.
  • To win a game, you must win at least four points and have a two-point margin over opponents
  • Tiebreaks, up to 7 points (or with a 2-point margin over opponents) decide the set if both teams reach six games each.
  • When it’s sudden death, the play is gender to gender.

Serving Standard

  • At the start of the match,  the male players usually serve during the first game.
  • After the first game, serving alternating between female and male players on both teams.
  • During tiebreaks, serves alternate between female and male players after every two points.

Mixed Doubles Tennis Court Positioning

Setting up in the right formation on the court is critical in mixed doubles. Due to the different strengths of male and female players, carefully planning where each person stands during service and return games can make a huge impact.

Here are some of the most effective mixed doubles tennis court positions to utilize:

Classic Serving Formation 

After a player serves, a good mixed doubles formation is for the male player to come on to the ad court and the female player to the deuce court.

Why this works: Male players often have a stronger serve, so it’s harder to return aggressively down the line. 

Returning Formation

On the return, the male player typically retakes the ad court to cover a wider area with their agility. The female player stands closer to the middle of the deuce court to poach any short returns aggressively.

Why this works: The female returner’s strength is consistent in the deuce court, while the male returner covers more of the court with good reflexes. This balanced formation pressures the serving team.

Pay attention to your partner’s strengths and weaknesses when deciding on court positioning in mixed doubles tennis. Some variations can work as long as your team coordinates effectively. 

Now, let’s get into key playing strategies!

Essential Mixed Doubles Tennis Strategies

Making use of your team’s talent is vital in mixed doubles tennis. Implementing the right serving, returning, and net play strategies can lead your team to victory.

Here are some of the top tactics for successful mixed doubles matches:

Smart Serving Tactics
  • Males should serve wide with a slice to the female’s forehand, to open up the deuce side of the court, and then target this weaker side.
  • Females can take advantage of serving hard into the body of male opponents since they usually stand close, and let their male teammate poach easily
  • Both servers should recognize who the weaker returner is and apply more pressure to that opponent’s side.
Aggressive Returning
  • When receiving against female serves, take control early with deep, aggressive returns.
  • Blocking returns is a valid technique if a male opponent has a powerful serve.
  • Focus returns down the middle to gain control of the point quickly.

NetPlay is Vital

  • The male player should look to poach aggressively at the net when possible to put away volleys.
  • The female player should focus more on consistent, solid volleys to keep the point going.
  • Calling the switch when the return is headed down the middle mixes things up.
  • Move as a team and anticipate where the return is headed.

There are so many strategic possibilities in mixed doubles tennis. Being aware of your strengths as a duo is key to applying the right tactics at the right times during matches.

Helpful Tips for Effective Mixed Doubles

Finally, here are some additional pointers for both beginning and experienced mixed doubles tennis players looking to step up their match by partnering up with a female or male counterpart:

  • Communicate constantly with your partner:  Discuss your teamwork strategies beforehand and maintain dialogue during play on shot choices and positioning
  • Play to your strengths: Make the most out of what each player brings regarding power, consistency, net skills, etc.
  • Cover weaknesses: Know what areas your mixed doubles partner struggles with and work together to shore up deficiencies
  • Adjust positioning: Pay attention to opposing weak links and move around to target them
  • Vary shot selection: Mix power and angles to keep your opponents guessing. Catch them off guard with an occasional drop shot, lob, or sneak attack at the net.
  • Respect differences: Understand that men and women have varying styles of play. Accept those contrasts in tempo, spin, and raw power.
  • Have fun out there: The lightheartedness of mixed doubles is part of its appeal. Keep things lively, and don’t be afraid to laugh off mistakes.

While mixed doubles tennis takes some adjusting from singles play regarding rules, scoring, tactics, and finding the right chemistry, mastering it can take your tennis game excitement to a whole new level!

At Tennis 360 Meydan, we offer adult group tennis lessons catering to all levels – from beginners learning the basics to experienced competitors seeking to take their game to the next level strategically. Under the guidance of expert coaches, you can tailor court positioning, communication, and tactics specifically to your playing styles when competing in mixed doubles tennis.


From positioning fundamentals to advanced poaching tactics, these tips will have you working seamlessly with your partner in no time. Now that you know the essentials of rules, scoring, court positioning, and strategies – it’s time to put your tennis skills into action! If you are looking for an excellent tennis academy in Dubai focused on helping you take your tennis skills to the highest level – Tennis 360 has you covered! Our passionate coaches are ready to help you form a winning partnership on the court!