Successful doubles play -- whether it be men's, women's or mixed -- is based on two players acting together as one. My brother John and I won at Wimbledon in 1980 because we followed the basic principles of doubles and executed them properly.
Choose a partner who is able to complement your game. The first step is simple: ask the candidate which side (forehand or backhand) he or she prefers to play. If you like to hit forehands, try not to play with another forehand player. The premise that the stronger player should occupy the ad court is an old wives tale: play the side on which you're more comfortable.
The matter of where to stand on the court is something many doubles team neglect to analyze. The server should stand halfway between the hash mark and the doubles sideline, allowing him or her to cover any wide return (see diagram). The partner stands near the net -- in the middle of the service box -- and is ready to volley away a return.
The receiving team is positioned differently. The serve returner stands on the base line, looking to hit his or her preferred shot. The partner is on the service line (towards the middle). The extra room allows the returner a bigger angle in which to hit and enables the person at net to see the serve "in" or "out."
Once the ball is in play, movement around the court is what doubles is all about:
* Always move together; cover for your partner and expect him/her to cover for you.
* Attack your opponent with shots that will spread the unit apart and create openings.
* Try to get to the net first; the team in control of the net generally will win the point.
* Alternate hitting from one side to the other to create an opening in the center.
* Lobbing is a good tactic. It is the best way to remove a team from the net.
Finally, a word about mixed doubles. Use the same basic principles of regular doubles. A man should not hit easier to a woman, and should not play back to the man. Go for the opening, wherever it is and whoever is there. No one should compensate for the other; play your own shots. This style of play keeps everyone happy and interested and makes the match a lot of fun.