The answer is no; however, a double fault on some occasions is not as bad as others.

The serve is the one shot that you control, and it goes awry when you are stressed and or unfocused.

You may be tense because of a physical ailment that causes pain, the weather conditions may be making you uncomfortable, your opponent is playing like the human backboard, or it simply is one those days when nothing is going as planned.

You lost your focus because of a bad call; perhaps you are disappointed that you did not capitalize on any of those four break point opportunities you had in the previous game and now you can’t stop thinking about those missed opportunities, despite the fact that you are about to serve; or you are distracted by things in your personal life, totally unrelated to the tennis match.

The one thing I know from playing tennis is that the slightest loss on focus away from the tennis ball/court results in an error. The loss of focus could be as brief as two seconds and that distraction is enough to generate an error on your part. So, I admire the focus that the top players have, which allowed them to win so many big titles. Yet, even the top players can lose their focus, especially in the big tournaments when much is at stake. They are not immune to the negative physiological and psychological effects of pressure.

The worse time for a double fault to occur is when you are serving to stay in the match. You serve a double fault and the match is over. That double fault negates all the hard work you did to force a deciding set tiebreak and crushes your spirit. Your opponent on the other hand hesitates to be too jubilant at winning the match this way and limits his/her celebration at the victory.

While not as bad, this still hurts, serving a double fault when you are serving to stay in the set. You serve a double fault and the set is over. Now you must work even harder to win the next set.

Another time when a double fault can really frustrate you, when you just broke your opponent’s serve and you are serving to consolidate the break; however, instead of consolidating the break of serve, you served a double fault and lost your serve, giving the break right back to your opponent.

The only time that serving a double fault is not so painful is if you are 40-0 up and after the double fault you are still up 40-15 and then you serve it out, holding your serve despite the double fault error.

Serving a double fault once or twice in a match is okay; however, a string of double faults in a match can create doubt about your serve and lead to more double faults. There was recently a match (08/2019) where a top ten player (Alexander Zverev) served twenty double faults (no surprise, he lost the match). When this happens, you lose confidence in your ability to serve, which negatively impacts every other aspect of your game. Even your most reliable shot goes awry.

They call it “the serving yips” and you don’t ever want to catch them because it takes a long time to fully regain your confidence in your serve and even then, when you get stressed or anxious, the serving yips can crop up again [INTERESTING FACT: while the yips are often associated with performance anxiety, there is real neurological condition (focal dystonia) that can affect specific muscles and cause the yips].

SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally originals (Alexander Zverev)

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