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Two of a kind

Drama in doubles play can be as tense as a marriage

Posted: Thursday March 29, 2007 11:14AM; Updated: Thursday March 29, 2007 11:14AM
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Since they began their partnership in 2005, Samantha Stosur (bottom) and the author have combined to win 16 doubles titles.
Since they began their partnership in 2005, Samantha Stosur (bottom) and the author have combined to win 16 doubles titles.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
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Over a 13-year pro career, Lisa Raymond has won 62 doubles titles, including a career Grand Slam. She and her current partner, Australian Samantha Stosur, are currently ranked No. 1 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Lisa writes for SI.com on alternate weeks about her career, life on the tour and other tennis news and notes.

Doubles anyone? The Sony Ericsson Open is in its second and final week in Key Biscayne, Fla., and the doubles draw is packed with top teams and big names. With doubles on the mind and given the name of this column, let's cut to the chase and talk doubles.

There are a few questions I am repeatedly asked when speaking about doubles, including, "How do you find a doubles partner?" or, "What makes a successful partnership in doubles?" These are great questions on any level, amateur or professional.

First and foremost let us get one thing straight -- doubles is a relationship! It's a business partnership that must also consist of chemistry. You want to gel and come together as one, all while trying to master the art of communication. Sound familiar?

The ability to laugh and have fun with your partner makes the partnership that much more effective. If you are out there in the trenches, battling together for a win, you don't want to look to your partner with contempt. Don't laugh -- this happens more often than you think!

A doubles partnership is like marriage, and just like the ebbs and flows of any relationship, it's packed with drama. Writers for Days of Our Lives would be green with envy given some of storylines behind these partnerships! You have the serial, non-committal singles. Breakups are prevalent and divorce is rampant.

Some divorces are due to irreconcilable differences, others to affairs when one partner is caught lying and cheating with a future suitor, while some just "fall out of love" with the union. Another common motive for a divide is thinking that greener pastures exist elsewhere.

Just as in a relationship, teams may seek therapy or advice when going through tough times. Partners often talk to their respective coaches -- who themselves often have to double as therapists -- about their concerns, while others may talk to fellow players.

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