Martina Navratilova Doubles at Any Age – and the Whistler

Martina and Jim

Martina Navratilova – Doubles at Any Age

If you’re a doubles player, you won’t want to miss this free video from Will Hamilton where she shows you her “Newt Ball” volley, which is a type of volley she hits from no man’s land, when she’s coming from the baseline to the net…

But it was back in 1992 when I introduced the Whistler to Martina.

To explore with her a way to serve that is closer to the model used by Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer (as well as Milos Raonic)

Whether or not the Whistler made a difference – that is another story, but it has led me to years and years of study on the serve as well as the mechanics of an overhand throw.

Now Martina will now share her boundless doubles information.

But at this end, I believe in most cases, improving your doubles game is about growing your skills – which will enable you to expand your tactics.

To quote Pancho Segura (famous coach of Jimmy Connors), “You cannot execute tactics unless you have all the shots”

At our club, most players of any level, play to a certain style, but generally without the guile of better players – who can play “tactical doubles” because they can:

  •             Finesse lobs in the deuce court down the line over the net players head
  •             Create angles to create space on the opponent’s court
  •             Take the ball early when returning second serves
  •             Prepare on all sides of the ball – for sidespin, backspin, flat or topspin
  •             Relish, own, and have mastered the drop shot
  •             Confident spinning serves



  • John Mauzy

    Reply Reply May 16, 2016

    If “The Whistler” hasn’t been outlawed, where can it be purchased?
    Great DVD instructions of Jim’s have been used to improve my game.
    Thanks. Keep up the good instructions.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 16, 2016

      John – they are not presently in production – but I have worked with Zepp and now with TuringSense on similar applications – do stay tuned and thanks for your nice note

  • Rodney McNeal

    Reply Reply May 13, 2016

    Martina lost to Steffi in 1988 and 1989;She WON Wimbledon in 1990 by beating Zina Garrison.

  • Ron

    Reply Reply May 13, 2016

    Hi Jim,
    Loved your comment about Martina’s service motion and the difference between hers and Steffi Graf’s. The big difference is the power Steffi generates with forearm pronation.
    Can you comment more on your statement that what matters most is the impact of the strings on the ball at the peak of the swing, not before or after?

    While studying my own swing, I notice that more effective spin is created when the strings contact the ball just before maximum height (vertical). Your statement implies that spin is imparted at the vertical point of impact. Am I splitting hairs (or strings)?

    Thanks in advance for your comment. Your analyses are always succinct and based on sound biomechanical and physical principals.


    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 13, 2016

      Ron – I may have misspoken – wasn’t trying to say that contact is at the highest point for often servers have the racquet angles slightly off line – but rather that as regards acceleration the Whistler showed that Martina had more racquet speed after contact meaning she was swinging and hitting forward rather than up – does that make sense?

      • Ron

        Reply Reply May 14, 2016

        Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense. In fact, it describes my situation as well: I believe I also swing forward rather than up. Flat serves with little spin that go long. Not good for a lefty.
        I could have used the Whistler as a way to monitor the serve!
        Thanks for taking time to answer personally.

  • john

    Reply Reply May 12, 2016


    Interesting video.

    Could I ask which racquet you are using/holding and the strings please?


    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 13, 2016

      John – this was her racquet not mine – and I think it was a Yonex – I just put the Whistler on her racquet

  • Noushin

    Reply Reply May 12, 2016

    Many thanks for sharing your experience!

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