Here is a thoughtful article by Nic Brown (assistant professor of English at the University of Northern Colorado, and the author of the novel “Doubles.”) about why most people only watch professional singles tennis but play doubles themselves. He says the teamwork required in doubles adds an element of camaraderie and joy that you just can’t experience by yourself. Personally I love the doubles net game, which in singles is just a minor part of the contest. What do you think?

WHAT’S the last great tennis match you saw? The three-day Isner-Mahut marathon at Wimbledon last year? Almost any Federer-Nadal pairing? Odds are you’ve caught a classic. During weeks like this, when the world’s best players descend on Flushing Meadows, Queens, for the United States Open, tennis can seep into the country’s consciousness through some sort of sport osmosis.

But unless you’re a genuine tennis fan, and a particularly odd one at that, it’s unlikely you can recall a single doubles match. Why should you? The sport’s neglected stepchild, doubles tennis receives little attention. You might have heard of Bob and Mike Bryan, American twins who hold 11 Grand Slam titles and are the only things close to real stars on the circuit, but I doubt you’ve seen them play.

There are some obvious reasons doubles doesn’t draw more fans. It’s harder to build allegiances to shifting teams than to a single player. And doubles suffers from a lack of star power. Once, this wasn’t the case. John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Arthur Ashe — all regularly played doubles. Now, few top players, under pressure to keep pace with the inexorable rise in the game’s physicality, can risk an injury moonlighting in doubles.

But there’s something deeper at work. Think harder, and I’ll wager you can remember a classic doubles match after all. Maybe that spring weekend when you and your wife played your neighbors in the park? Or in high school, when you and your brother challenged two too-tan girls to a game? I vividly recall the last doubles match I played. My friend Katherine and I were losing, but I wasn’t concerned about that; I was more worried about whether she was going to kill me because I kept running in front of her to flail wildly for the ball when it was clearly on her side of the court.

People spend more time playing doubles than watching it for a reason. It parallels too closely the struggles of our own lives: working with others; toiling in the shadows; getting second billing. Not getting paid enough. Maybe we don’t watch doubles because we are all doubles players. When we’re relaxing on our couches, it’s the escape into the fantasy of singles tennis that we want, with its amplified and simplified clash.

And so we forget that doubles is such excellent theater. With two players trolling the net and the other two staying back, the “butterfly shape” (as David Foster Wallace described it) of today’s baseline-heavy singles game splinters into some cubist sketch as angles proliferate and tactical options multiply. It’s as if the game has been projected through some cosmic kaleidoscope, everything fractured, more colorful, more complicated, perhaps even more beautiful.

At this year’s Open, fate seemed determined to keep people from watching. The Bryan brothers, favorites to defend their title, lost in the first round. The women’s draw, often buoyed by the Williams sisters (when not absent because of illness or ennui), had to place this year’s hopes on not-so-famous names like Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko.

But if you persevered in watching doubles, you would have seen something memorable. It was last Saturday, the second round of mixed doubles. The best mixed doubles team in the world, Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan, were playing Jack Sock and Melanie Oudin, two American teenagers on the fragile cusp of enormously promising careers. What I expected to be a shellacking turned into a match so tight I could barely breathe. What was most compelling wasn’t how Oudin and Sock manhandled their opponents, but rather how they behaved toward each other.

After each point, they smiled coyly, giggling. On changeovers, they chatted until one took a sip of water, at which point the other would too, as if to avoid any awkward silence. They looked like two freshmen on a first date. Once, Oudin almost hit Sock with an errant ball and I felt my own cheeks begin to blush. The whole thing was so endearing I forgot about the Serena Williams and Mardy Fish matches I’d been yearning to see. Best of all, Sock and Oudin played 65 minutes of unbelievable tennis, and won. Last night, in the mixed doubles finals, they won their first Grand Slam together.

It’s sad that more tennis fans didn’t tune in. But it’s sadder still to think that Sock and Oudin played so well they’ll soon, like many before them, cease playing doubles at all.

Doubles players don’t set out to be doubles players. They are almost always excellent singles players who, for one reason or another, find themselves temporarily failing to excel. But that’s one of the things I love about doubles. It allows players who may not be stars on their own to keep doing what they love, and sometimes lets them win. There’s a lesson here. (You hear me, Congress?) It’s called teamwork. It gets things done that you can’t do alone.

For one moment, imagine you’re playing doubles right now. There you are, on your cracked neighborhood court. Your wife is at the net. You inhale and serve. Let’s say it’s an ace. Suddenly your wife is running toward you. She jumps. Now she’s in your arms, elated. Maybe you go on to win the match, maybe you don’t, but one thing is certain: in tennis, love usually means nothing, but in doubles it can mean just about everything.

Nic Brown, an