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On the serve, the men definitely don't hold back. On net exchanges, there is some level of restraint against aiming the ball directly at the woman. The women in mixed expect the balls to come to them a lot of the time so they are probably more alert during the matches than the men, and more than they would normally be in womens' doubles.

At the Hopman Cup, some of the top male players still feel a little uneasy playing against a woman, mostly because they're not used to it. They tend to hold back and not strike the ball at the other woman to put away shots, thus resulting in some unusual errors. Marat Safin had this problem this year. He said he was never sure if he should hit or serve the ball hard to the woman or not. Goran Ivanisevic had the same level of restraint when he played mixed there a few years ago. That was, until Martina Hingis returned most of his hardest serves... and also aced him!
 

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I've seen a lot of mixed doubles and they definitely do not take it easy. In fact they keep trying to attack the woman and hit lots of balls to her because they assume shes weaker, but most of the time women can hold their own. They do serve at the women full power, if they dont they disappoint their partner. I remember recently watching Nenad Zimonjic in the final of the AO mixed, he was serving at 200+ kph at Martina Navratilova, even though shes an old 47 year old woman! I've also seen some men drill the ball into the opposing woman's body. They just cant hold back at this level, because theres a lot at stake and they have to do everything they can to win. Everyone expects it from them.
 

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Fantastic said:
On the serve, the men definitely don't hold back. On net exchanges, there is some level of restraint against aiming the ball directly at the woman. The women in mixed expect the balls to come to them a lot of the time so they are probably more alert during the matches than the men, and more than they would normally be in womens' doubles.

At the Hopman Cup, some of the top male players still feel a little uneasy playing against a woman, mostly because they're not used to it. They tend to hold back and not strike the ball at the other woman to put away shots, thus resulting in some unusual errors. Marat Safin had this problem this year. He said he was never sure if he should hit or serve the ball hard to the woman or not. Goran Ivanisevic had the same level of restraint when he played mixed there a few years ago. That was, until Martina Hingis returned most of his hardest serves... and also aced him!
I find it hard to believe the part "Hingis returned most of Ivanisevic's hardest serves" when you know Ivanisevic often serves 20+ aces/ match in the men's game or he was serving always at the same place in this match.
What I've notice is that the top players tend to serve not as hard in doubles than in singles.
 

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spudrsca said:
I find it hard to believe the part "Hingis returned most of Ivanisevic's hardest serves" when you know Ivanisevic often serves 20+ aces/ match in the men's game or he was serving always at the same place in this match.
What I've notice is that the top players tend to serve not as hard in doubles than in singles.
There is a reason for this- and Ivanisevic obviously didn't understand it, or was incapable of varying his service- too grooved on smacking the bomb, probably. In doubles, moving the serve around the box with more spin than usually used in singles is a better tactical play. Think about it- the returner has to go crosscourt well over 90% of the time, and usually the server is coming in to pressure the returner with a volley. It's easier to groove on returning a hard, flat bomb in doubles, no matter how hard hit, than it is to groove on returning a ball that keeps coming at you with a different look. It also gives the server more time to close in tighter for that all-important first volley. A flat bomb can come back at you just as fast as you hit it.
 

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This thread is old! Thought we can start discussing this again?

So what do we reckon? Do men go easy on women? I personally don't think so...
 

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They don't take it easy. It just so happens that the men who tend to play mixed doubles aren't going to have the fastest serves and the hardest groundstrokes. If they did have those things, then they would be playing singles.
 

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John McEnroe's mixed doubles partner, Mary Carillo, would yell at him because he wouldn't attack the opponent's female.
Mary would say "They are attacking me, so you have to attack her to protect me."
Much as I disliked McEnroe, he simply wouldn't attack the much weaker female.
 

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No they definitely don't take it easy on the women, nor should they. On a related, I think one of Hingis' most amazing career achievements is that she made 7 Mixed Slam finals and won all 7 of them. And with her mediocre serve. Amazing really.
 

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They don't take it easy. It just so happens that the men who tend to play mixed doubles aren't going to have the fastest serves and the hardest groundstrokes. If they did have those things, then they would be playing singles.
Rubbish! There are plenty of men playing doubles only who have big serves and huge forehands - Michael Venus is the obvious example. You will not find ONE opponent who likes facing him, and that includes mixed doubles as well. He and Angel Chan have twice been runners-up in the US Open final, and I'd give them a big chance of winning the Australian Open if they play together (they were seeded No 1 in New York). No way does he ever take it easy on his female opponent.
 
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