The importance of the doubles pointBy Elliott Propes | 09/18/2015 4:53pm
05-09-15 WTE NCAA Championship Round 2 vs Clemson Danielle Spielmann Luicelena Perez. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics
A head-to-head match is determined by the first team to win four of seven points. Six points are decided by singles matches amongst both teams, but the first point is determined by three doubles matches. The first team with two doubles victories grasps the first point and, what Alabama coach Jenny Mainz believes, the momentum.
“I think the doubles point often times sets the tone for the match,” Mainz said. “It’s not to say sometimes you have to be resilient and fight your way back into the match if you drop the doubles point, but our record when we win the doubles point is almost impeccable.”
Over the past two seasons for Alabama, 87 percent of the time, the winner of the doubles point reflected the outcome. Only five times last season did the outcome not reflect the doubles point, and the season before had a smaller number of just two times.
“When you go into singles, you and your teammates have so much more confidence when you get that first doubles point,” junior Erin Routliffe said. “It’s like a big jot of energy that our whole team thrives off of.”
Routliffe and senior Maya Jansen have been all over headlines for their doubles play over the past two seasons. The pair has won back-to-back national titles and is just coming off a trip to the U.S. Open Grand Slam tournament. Though they lost in the first round, they both competed against tough opponents from around the globe to qualify.
“It was a dream come true, and I think ever since every tennis player was younger and growing up, your dream is to play in the Grand Slams. That’s what, every day, we are working towards,” Routliffe said. “We lost, but the experience was amazing.”
While they are doubles national champions, they want a team national championship. Mainz explained how much it helps the other players on the team in practice against the best in the nation.
“They’ve contributed so much to our confidence in the doubles point, we will look at them and we know that they have got it,” senior Natalia Maynetto said. “And that is a huge confidence factor, knowing that we’ve got one point down, because we believe in them that much.”
Jansen has torn her hip labrum and will have to sit out the entire fall season. Mainz said she has rebounded well from the surgery and is very hopeful for her return. In the meantime, she explained that it gives a chance for other players to play with Routliffe and pick her brain this fall.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for Danielle Spielmann or Andie Daniell or whoever else it is to have the opportunity to play with Erin and learn from her,” Mainz said. “If she’s willing to help and have that mindset especially with her experience, she can really make an impact.”
Alabama is sending four players to Waco, Texas, for the Baylor Invitational this weekend to kick off the fall season.