Doubles (sport)

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The doubles is a game variant in some ball sports in which two players compete against two other players. The best known of these sports are racquet sports , with rackets are played.

The world's most famous sports in which doubles are played are tennis , table tennis , badminton and squash as well as their all-round competition in the racketlon sport.

A special form is the "mixed doubles", also known as " mixed ", in which one woman and one man play per team . However, the term mixed also refers to mixed-sex teams of two or more athletes who are not referred to as doubles for various reasons (see below).

The game variant of the same sport in which only one player plays against another player is called singles . The terms singles and doubles are generally used in racket sports in which exactly these two variants are played, e.g. B. not in beach volleyball, in which the standard line-up consists of two players (called team or team).

In sports without a ball, other terms are common for the variant with two athletes acting together, e.g. B. Two-man (boating, artistic cycling), two-man team (track cycling), synchronized jumping (water jumping), pair skating (figure skating).

In sports that play doubles, there is also competition between teams of two. In this competition, the two players on the teams each play two singles against the two opposing players; the fifth game is doubles.

Exceptions, meanings:

  • In table football (not a setback sport) the competition variants are also called singles and doubles.
  • Football tennis is played in the variants singles, doubles and triples, American handball in addition to singles and doubles with three individual players playing against each other.
  • In several ball sports ( boccia , boules, etc.), foreign-language expressions for doubles have been adopted in German-speaking countries, and doubles are sometimes used, with both players in a doubles acting one after the other and not at the same time.

The most famous sports in which doubles are played


In badminton, a different field size applies to doubles, the field is 92 cm wider than to singles (6.10 m compared to 5.18 m), but a second service line shortens the 13.40 m long field only to accept the service at both rear ends by 76 cm in length. As in tennis and squash, the service changes from right-diagonal to left-diagonal and the ball may be played by either player on one side after serving and receiving it.

The tactic in doubles in badminton is primarily aimed at dividing the responsibility for long and short balls between the two players. This is especially true for the mixed doubles, in which the man is responsible for the back of the field due to his greater reach.


In squash the double is rather played rarely. A larger playing field is officially planned for doubles, but since many sports facility operators do not have any larger courts or movable walls, doubles in squash is often played on individual fields.

In doubles, the players either split the forehand and backhand sides, or divide the field into a front and a back half. Both players may hit the ball in any order and frequency during the rally.


In tennis, the playing field in doubles is the same length as in singles, but wider, 36 feet (10.97 m) compared to 27 feet (8.23 m) in singles. The service and acceptance alternate after each point from right-diagonal to left-diagonal and after each game, strictly alternating between the four players. After serving and acceptance, the ball may be played by either player on either side, either directly from the air ("volley") or after a single landing on the side of the field of the accepting doubles.

Table tennis

Table tennis is the only one of the four most famous double sports to have exactly the same field (table) in doubles as in singles. In contrast to tennis and badminton, the service in table tennis only has to be played diagonally in doubles, also in contrast to tennis and badminton always on the right half of the table on the server side and then on the right half of the table on the receiving side (single stands for serve and Acceptance of the whole table for table tennis). In addition, in contrast to the three other table tennis sports, the ball has to be played alternately by the two players on one side.

The tactics in table tennis doubles are based on the fact that most players are significantly stronger on their forehand side , especially in attacking play, than on the backhand side and that the right-hander on the left can play most of the balls in doubles with the forehand. If there are two right-handers, the player on the left at the beginning is responsible for the offensive game. The combination of a left-hander on the right and a right-hander on the left is usually of great advantage for table tennis doubles. If a table tennis doubles consist of a right-hander and a left-hander, they often use this advantage in that the right-hander moves to the left after his own serve or assumption and the left-hander standing behind him takes the right side.

When generally applicable rules were formulated for the first time in 1924, there was no talk of doubles and mixed games in today's sense: only single games are played, including mixed games . "Mixed" meant a game between a woman and a man.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Doppelspiel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Rules of the game badminton. (PDF, 211kB) In: . Badminton Regional Association of North Rhine-Westphalia, accessed on March 16, 2019 (rules, valid from August 1, 2006).
  2. Squash rules, singles and doubles
  3. Table tennis rules, singles and doubles
  4. DTS magazine , 1957/1 West issue p. 14.