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Top Pickleball Players of USA

Top Pickleball Players of USA
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Pickleball, a sport that has vaulted from obscure suburban basements to one of the fastest-growing pastimes in America, is a confluence of accessibility, competitiveness, and community well-being. Conceived in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, the game was originally a family activity dreamed up on the fly by kids bored with their summertime diversions. Though it spread like wildfire, its originators could hardly have fathomed how widely pickleball would be embraced by players of all ages, bound by its simple rules, campaign-like kinetics, and accessory-quickness of play.

The game is contested on a badminton-size court over a lower tennis net, with the amalgam of paddle and plastic ball with holes. Its rules are an amalgamation of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong – making it as easy to learn for a newcomer as it is difficult to master for the serious player. This realization of synchrony of simplicity and strategically has turned pickleball – which is so-named for the inventor’s pet poodle – into a coast-to-coast craze.

In fact, its surging player base has now led to national and international tournament circuits, an increasing number of centers, courts, and country and tennis facilities, and communities, public parks, and private clubs – even in the near term. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), pickleball has seen “big jumps” in both “casual” and “core” participation, with millions of Americans now making it a point to whistle around pickleball, a testament to its broad-based adulation.

And at the root of this bandwagon of sorts is the band and its circled-bikes-like nature. Googling Popular or Reddit or Trade may not find anything more “Best” or “Greatest” than “Pickleball”: The Best Best Best All The Time, every time.

But as the story of pickleball winds its way to drone-ply young bucks, old-photon-strained maestros, and distoryline-blasting younisses, the Greatest features Bold Move Bell Shield. U.S. Pickleball will feature weekly some of the most notable domestic talents in the sport, highlighting their achievements, creations, and the bounteous states they run down.

The Evolution of Pickleball

The story of pickleball’s evolution from improvised backyard game to a fast-growing, international competitive sport is a testament to its powerful appeal and adaptability. In 1965, on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum set out to provide their families with a game that could be played by everyone, regardless of age. The trio fashioned pickleball from elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, implementing a badminton-sized court, a lower net, paddles, and a perforated plastic ball that would be well-suited to amateur players. The game’s name, recounted with a measure of whimsy, is that it originated from the Pritchards’ family dog, Pickles, who would run off with the stray balls, or, perhaps, from the term “pickle boat,” which refers to the last boat to return with its catch in rowing and symbolizes a combination of different elements, much like the game itself.

Pickleball’s appeal eventually transcended the Pritchard family’s backyard. In the 1970s, the sport began to formalize, with the establishment of rules and the first pickleball tournament in 1976 indicating a growing competitive scene. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), which was formed in 1984 to promote the sport and standardize rules, facilitated further growth through the 1980s and 1990s.

Consider the 21st century, though, pickleball’s true turning point. The sport has blown up in the United States and abroad. Its broad appeal — it’s easy for a wide range of age groups and skill levels to play, it’s social, and equipment and court construction are relatively low-cost — has led communities to convert tennis and badminton courts for pickleball, while physical education programs have included the sport as well.

The advent of professional circuits and international competitions reflects pickleball’s new level of recognition in the sports world. Year after year, tournaments such as the US Open Pickleball Championships and the PPA Tour scene are bringing in thousands of spectators – not to mention hundreds of playing competitors. Its inclusion in multi-sport events like the State Games of America further validates just how much pickleball has arrived.

Perhaps most importantly, the worldwide community of players, coaches, and enthusiasts that drive the game reflect how it has become a highly respected sport worldwide. Its journey from driveway pastime to highly competitive sport reflects the universal appeal of something that’s so great, anyone can play. And while it’s impossible to predict the twists and turns that will take it from here, if the first 50 years are any indication, it’s going to be a memorable game to watch.

The Young Phenoms of Pickleball

A new generation of pickleball players is making its mark on the sport, revolutionizing play and shaping the future through its unparalleled skill and ambition. You might call these young phenoms, who play with promise and the competitive drive, world champions.

Anna Leigh Waters: The Prodigy

Anna Leigh Waters is the embodiment of pickleball youth, her rise to fame a testament to the potential of those following in her footsteps. Waters went pro at the age of 12, her already illustrious career studded with titles from national and international tournaments. A blend of aggressive play and intelligence for the game has made her a nightmare for opponents, as she consistently out-dices them to 11. Success, though, is not without sacrifice, as Waters spends her weekdays traveling tens of thousands of miles across the globe, following a routine that would test even the most experienced veteran.

Hayden Patriquin: The Rising Star

One of the standout young talents is Hayden Patriquin, who has quickly become a rising star in the world of pickleball. Patriquin’s quick reflexes and ability to play the strategy of a seasoned pro is well beyond his sixteen years. Whether it is his play in National tournaments or his ability to go toe-to-toe with the best in the game, his achievement is a telltale sign, that a new era is upon us in pickleball.

The Impact of Youth on Pickleball

The success of players like Waters and Patriquin is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it underscores the notion that this sport is one of the few games where players of any age can enjoy success. More importantly, they serve as an example of possibility of greatness, regardless of your age. Another byproduct of their arrival to the competitive scene, may be the fact, that these young guns may be giving the sport, a needed shot of adrenaline, that is forcing not only their peers, but those in front of them, to innovate in terms of how the game is played.

As pickleball continues its ascent, it is sure to be forever changed by the dynamic and inventive young phenoms of the years to come. When their ranks swell with such earth-movers as Crimson Aquatic Club member Sarah Waters (CT), Creekside Middle School’s Nick Busic (IN), and 12-year-old Kooper Smith (GA), their stories cripple-strike any doubt in the connection between age and competitive potential. Thus emboldened, our sport should remain among the most ambitious and accepting communities in sports history, defined by fiercely competitive play and untold camaraderie, with players of all generations as well as those yet to come.

The next time you’re feeling the love around your local courts, look no further than the youngsters already living it out!

Pickleball Pillars: Veterans’ Domain

In the competitive world of pickleball, Tyson McGuffin and Dayne Gingrich rise above — not just because they’re at the top of their game, but also for the mark they’ve made on the sport’s culture and community.

These seasoned players bring a wealth of experience from other sports, and they’ve used that to rise to the top of the pickleball world, but more importantly, they serve as mentors and ambassadors for the booming sport.

From newbies to leaders, McGuffin and Gingrich’s journey through the pickleball world is a microcosm of the game — accessible, engaging and changing every day.

Tyson McGuffin’s journey from a professional tennis player to the top of the professional pickleball circuit is one of dedication and transformation. What began as a way to keep his competitive juices flowing, quickly became the passion of a lifetime, and one that has defined his career. The athleticism he honed on the tennis court translated instantly to pickleball, and so did his winning ways. McGuffin enters 2019 and the third year of the PPA tour with a target on his back, as the man to beat in the game he once knew nothing about.

Tyson McGuffin is sponsored by EngagePickleball. McGuffin has taken the sport by storm with national championships, No. 1 rankings in singles and doubles play. But he also has not forgotten to give back. McGuffin has been one of the sport’s best ambassadors with doing clinics and new programs to teach players at all levels to develop their game – not for personal accolades for him, but to make a stronger, more inclusive pickleball community.

Dayne Gingrich is sponsored by EngagePickleball. If you have watched the evolution of Dayne Gingrich in his professional life, you have seen a career move from professional tennis to coaching in that sport, to pickleball. As he transitioned to pickleball, his coaching career blossomed as a player who instantly was in the conversation to be the best pickleball player in the world. He did it by developing and teaching, two major principles byproduct principles not often intertwined with being a top professional pickleball player. Gingrich speaks as a veteran player who has also done a great job engaging the pickleball community with both in person, in clinics and workshops and online platforms to develop players’ mental and strategic games.

The Legacy of Veterans in Pickleball

McGuffin and Gingrich epitomize what separates pickleball from other sports: It is where experience and passion collide, creating a path toward continued growth both as an athlete and a leader. Their impact has been instrumental in taking the sport from a backyard recreational activity to a competitive, tight-knit community.

The contests they dominate underscore the high level of play veterans offer, while their roles as mentors and ambassadors underscore what really makes the game of pickleball: a communal bond. Their efforts have helped carry the sport from disparate athletic backgrounds into one emblazoned with a warm, welcoming community.

For as much as they have given to the game, these veterans’ influence extends to the game’s growth and evolution. Where it goes from here won’t just include their names in the record books, but a community strong with respect, camaraderie and the same love for this good game they had years ago.

Pickleball Powerhouses

Move over boys of summer; for today’s women players, these pickleball sister-like are doing it for themselves – and breaking records while they’re at it! In the booming world of pickleball, female players are leading the charge, setting new standards for excellence and shattering every other record in the book. Influential figures like Lucy Kovalova, Catherine Parenteau and Jennifer Dawson, for example, are inspiring pros who’ve helped break a new trail for women in the sport, to say nothing of setting a new benchmark for success and goodwill on and off the court.

Lucy Kovalova: The Doubles Dynamo

Slovakian import Lucy Kovalova has taken the pickleball world – and the game’s endlessly popular doubles category – by storm. From her days on the collegiate tennis courts to her post-grad career as a pickleball powerhouse, Kovalova has quickly earned a reputation for the powerful groundstrokes and strategic brilliance that have left so many of her opponents in stunned admiration. Yet it is her play in the women’s doubles division, alongside partner Simone Jardim, for which Kovalova has made her biggest impression. Their formidable duo has scored countless major victories together like the US Open and Nationals, and Kovalova’s on-court presence has made more than a few fans for the game among curious onlookers, many of whom are inspired to get out there on the court and play!

Jennifer Dawson: The Triple Crown Trailblazer

A name for the ages, Jennifer Dawson became the first-ever Triple Crown winner at the US Open Pickleball Championships. The landmark achievement stands as a testament to Dawson’s exceptional talent and her transformational role in the sport. Her tennis background has served her well, elevating her to historical heights at the inaugural Triple Crown event, where she was dominant in women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Her pioneering triumph has enshrined her with the sport’s elite and inspired countless women to pursue their dreams on pickleball courts. As she labors to coach and mentor future stars, Dawson is not only expanding the competitive capacity of women in the sport but also proving to be a technical trailblazer, as she looks to propel the level of women’s play to merge with that of men’s.

Elevating Women’s Pickleball

A special few women of the sport, such as Kovalova, Parenteau, and Dawson have now become leaders. The significance of their collective territorial gains in recent months is immeasurable. Through their competitive superiority and in leading to create an improving environment, one that has grown to be increasingly inclusive and increasingly competitive for the female athlete within pickleball, the trio have delivered without their equals. Aspiring young athletes across the country will reimagine gender disparity within the sport and within all accompanying organizations for generations to come.

As pickleball expands, the effects of these and other women will inevitably direct where it goes, crafting a legacy of excellence, equality and empowerment. Women’s success in pickleball today is not just a chance to mark individual achievement, it is the latest in a series of cracks that athletes are starting to carve into norms that have governed women in sports and a sign of how high they are pushing the ceilings of what is possible.

Pickleball Passion

In the fast-paced world of pickleball, there’s nothing quite like a winning doubles pair. Ben and Collin Johns, and Simone Jardim and Lucy Kovalova represent a few of the top doubles pairings in the game today. Their respective playing styles, overall approach, and marquee victories not only define them as individual athletes but also highlight their incredible ability to come together for pickleball excellence.

Ben and Collin Johns: Brothers with an Edge

Drop shot? Crosscourt volley? How about telepathy? In the case of the Johns brothers, that’s quite possibly the truth, as the duo has become one of the top men’s doubles teams in the game. Their journey to prominence includes an impressive resume of national and international titles.

Playing Style and Strategy:

Ben is widely recognized as an aggressive shooter with the power to match while brother Collin’s game is more predicated on strategy and defense. As a result, the duo successfully balances their strategy with a mix of power and placement taking center court. More often than not, Ben’s devastating forehand sets up the aggressive play while Collin’s ability to cover ground on defense means he’s usually in the right spot to capitalize on the opposing team’s shot.

As mentioned, the two have been gold medal machines for the last few years, capturing wins at countless tournaments. While all tournament wins are impressive, the 2018 US Open and Nationals championships truly put Kovalova and Jardim on the radar. Not only did it signal their arrival as the top teams in the game, but it served notice that there wasn’t a duo or style that they couldn’t overcome.

On the women’s side, there are few partnerships that strike fear in the opposition like Jardim and Kovalova have whilst competing together. Their aforementioned list of wins leaves no stone unturned as they walk away as the last women standing in one tournament after another.

Ironically, what makes Jardim and Kovalova such a great team is what makes them such a formidable duo across the net from their opposition. With Jardim serving as the engine that guides their team’s strategy around the court, Kovalova is the powertrain that can kick things up once the plan is set in motion. Together, they control the flow of play, Jardim with the team’s cunning, Kovalova with her brute power. Where they force opponents to beat them is what they make work for themselves – a fatal mixture of exacting dinking, the culprit for more forced errors than we can count, all setting up one more Kovalova winner.

Key Victories:

Together, they are the champions of 11 years of the US Open. They’ve taken home multiple Triple Crowns at the US Open as well. Their five-time win at the USAPA National Championships where they are impossible to beat. Aside from the fact that they place women’s doubles at the US Open; these victories reflect their apparatus to the sport around them to no competition and the extremely high level of excellence that they have established.

The Impact of Dynamic Duos on Pickleball

While it would be impossible to list all of their individual wins, their impact on pickleball would remain clear. These partnerships have been instrumental in driving doubled play to new heights, as their slick strategies and seamless teamwork in countless corners have surely inspired more than a few players to pursue their own doubles excellence. For them, it’s not just about athleticism – it’s about coordination, communication, and taking advantage of every bit of mutual support doubles play. who makes it so compelling and competitive.

A Blending of Emerging Stars and Seasoned Champions

Pickleball features an intriguing mix of brand new talent and long-tenured champions, fostering an environment for the sport to continue to grow. Kyle Yates, Riley Newman, Jocelyn Devilliers, and Lea Jansen are a few players that continue to push the sport’s growth forward as they represent the new wave of talent improving the sport.

Kyle Yates

Although pickleball has a long history in some parts of the United States, Yates is one of the true pioneers of the sport, winning numerous championships and mastering every aspect of the game. Yates stumbled upon pickleball at an early age and quickly ascended to the top. His tennis background was evident from the start, showing off elite level groundstrokes and a serve that you must see to believe. Off the court, he has done his part to bring new, younger players to the sport, showing that a career in pickleball is a truly viable option.

Career Highlights

Multiple US Open Championships in both singles and doubles.

Helped put on pickleball clinics and exhibitions for kids, bringing a new demographic to the sport.

Riley Newman

Riley Newman is quickly becoming one of the best pickleball players in the sport, transitioning from his days as a successful collegiate tennis player. Known for his exceptional play in doubles, his two-handed backhand and dominant play at the net has transformed the role of the doubles player with formidable results in mixed and men’s doubles.

Unique Contributions:

Medal winner in many major tournaments including the 2016 and 2017 US Open Pickleball Championships.

Inventing new strategies of play in doubles, focusing on a dominant presence at the net and the flexibility of his shot-making, including being able to hit powerful kills to end points off balls that were meant to go to his partner.

Jocelyn Devilliers, “The Flying Frenchman”

Jocelyn Devilliers is quickly climbing the ladder of the best pickleball players in the sport, and has a nickname and a French accent to reckon with those accomplishments. His blend of athleticism and strategic shot-making has led him to many victories, most notably in singles, where he’s proving adept in his new sport, even with his youth.

Unique Contributions:

Won major pickleball tournaments with a blend of power and finesse.

Helped to bridge the gap between European and American players through his international play.

Lea Jansen “The Competitor”

A competitive nature and dedication have quickly established Lea Jansen as a leading figure in women’s pickleball. Jansen’s path from tennis to pickleball is not dissimilar to the growing number of professional athletes who have taken to the sport. Jansen’s consistent top finishes in national and international singles and doubles play show not only her adaptability but also her fierce competitive nature. While not an exhaustive list, the unique contributions each of these players has made to pickleball is worthy of mention:

Lea Jansen- Consistent top finishes in national and international play have put Lea Jansen on the map as a premier competitor. Jansen has also been an outspoken advocate for the professional development of pickleball which includes more structured training and competitive opportunities for women.

The impact on and off the court by these players is widespread. It has been felt from their individual and more general contributions to the sport’s growth and accessibility. By their victories, they’ve not only shown the depth of skill and competition in pickleball. But, they’ve served as its ambassadors inspiring new players to take up the sport and strive for excellence.

Emerging pickleball stars help breathe new life and innovative strategies into the game. Wise experience and a bridge to the sport’s roots comes from the seasoned champions. Both creating a mix of energy on the court that has made for a vibrant competitive environment and helped push pickleball forward as a beloved and lasting athletic pursuit.

As pickleball continues to evolve, these players’ stories will undoubtedly inspire future generations, demonstrating the fact that success in pickleball involves not just individual talent, but passion, perseverance, and the joy of competition. Their legacies, brought to life by tournament titles, mentorship roles, and the advocacy each of them continued to offer the sport, further underscore the unique ways in which they all have contributed and allowed their diverse skills to define the essence of pickleball.

The Global Influence

The world’s embrace of pickleball shows its global appeal, transcending borders and cultures to become a worldwide phenomenon. As the sport explodes in countries such as Canada, France, and beyond, international players have left their mark, lending the sport unique styles and elevating the level of competition. Canadian athletes, like Catherine Parenteau, have made major contributions to the sport, showcasing the high level of talent that exists in North America. Parenteau’s success in both national and international competition shows the same competitive spirit and skill that Canadian athletes have brought to pickleball. The “Flying Frenchman,” Jocelyn Devilliers, from France, has added a European flair to pickleball, showing how the sport has the potential to bring athletes from different cultures and continents. His success illustrates how countries in Europe, where the sport has started to take hold, have grown their interest and participation in pickleball. Players from around the world have not only added diversity to the sport, but have also led to an exchange of styles, strategies, and cultures. Their participation has given the sport a more dynamic and competitive feel, forcing players to evolve and rethink what’s possible on the pickleball courts. International tournaments and clinics have become increasingly diverse havens where players from all backgrounds come together to compete, learn, and share their love for the sport. That interaction has engrained an extra dimension to pickleball, making it more than a game, but a worldwide community that celebrates diversity, sportsmanship, and the thing that seems to bring people together all over the world.

The arrival of women and men from every corner of the globe to National and International Tournaments to compete in this sport is more powerful and meaningful than I think any of us thought could or would happen…EVER! One thing is certain – not only will the face of Pickleball never be the same but the hearts of those who play also are critical to the game’s future will be the contributions of these international players. Their unique styles and takes not only make the sport more competitive, but further emphasize the sports communities link to humanity.

Off the Court: Building a Community

Top pickleball players do much more than compete — they’re instrumental in growing the sport’s community through their coaching, clinics, and advocacy. In doing so, they help to fuel pickleball’s growth and make the game accessible to all, while fostering a supportive, inclusive community.

Thanks to coaching and clinics, players get the chance to improve their skills, learn more about the game’s nuances, and develop new strategies. Seasoned champions like Tyson McGuffin and Simone Jardim dedicate plenty of their time to helping aspiring players enhance their own skills, fostering player growth with wisdom gained through years of trial and error. These educational efforts help to raise overall playing standards and develop a broader pool of pickleball talent.

Similarly, players’ advocacy efforts — like those of Kyle Yates and Catherine Parenteau — have gone far in increasing pickleball’s profile and helping make sure the game is accessible to all, both in schools and community centers and active programs globally. These activities focus on the long-term health of the sport, beyond just personal achievement, ensuring that the game’s community can continue to expand and thrive.

Their community-building initiatives — like organizing local tournaments, charity events and social gatherings — serve to bind players together, fostering the sense of camaraderie and togetherness that creates a life-long bond between players while enhancing the quality of the pickleball experience itself. In doing so, these endeavors promote the values of teamwork, respect, and mutual support — all key elements of the game and its community, in and out of the kitchen.

The fact is, we can’t begin to measure the contribution to the pickleball community that top players bring off the court. By investing in the growth of their sport and in cultivating of a positive and inclusive environment, which helps to ensure that the game’s community is exactly that — a community where all are welcome, and friendships made are for a pickleball lifetime.

These players and their dedication to the with the sport both on the court and off help to illustrate the true heart of pickleball — something that lies not in just playing of the game, but in the community at its center.

Where is Pickleball Headed?

Pickleball’s skyrocketing popularity and increasing visibility on the global sports landscape suggests that its path forward is as exciting as it is uncertain. With professional competitions continuing to expand in audience reach and participation, the sport is poised for significant growth and evolution in coming years.

As with any sport, technological advancements in sports equipment and player training will begin to reshape the game in unexpected ways. From smarter paddles that track performance metrics to technologically advanced court surfaces that give players a home-court advantage in every game, technology will not only unlock new dimensions of the playing experience, but fundamentally alter the level of competition in surprising ways. The rise of video analysis and technology in coaching also promises to provide a new depth of resources for player improvement that was previously impossible to attain.

In addition, pickleball’s global community is expanding at an accelerating pace, offering a chance for the sport to extend its international footprint in years to come. The explosion of the sport on a global scale will likely result in the establishment of global tournaments and leagues, and real opportunities for the sport to become professionalized in the way that enables major company sponsorship and mainstream media attention.

Potential Challenges: With rapid growth comes the challenge of maintaining the sport’s inclusive and community-focused ethos. Balancing the commercial aspects of professional pickleball with the grassroots elements that have contributed to its popularity will be crucial. Additionally, as more players and countries participate, standardizing rules and ensuring fair competition will become increasingly important.

Youth Engagement: Engaging younger players will be vital for the sport’s long-term sustainability. Initiatives aimed at integrating pickleball into school physical education programs, along with the development of youth leagues, can play a significant role in nurturing the next generation of players.

Health and Fitness: The sport’s appeal as a low- impact, high-social interaction game positions it as an ideal activity for health and wellness programs. As societies continue to grapple with the challenges of sedentary lifestyles, pickleball can offer an accessible way to encourage physical activity across all age groups.


Throughout this exploration of pickleball, from its illustrious players and dynamic duos to its burgeoning global community and technological advancements, one theme remains constant: pickleball is more than just a game; it’s a phenomenon that captures the essence of competitive spirit, community, and inclusivity.

Players like Ben and Collin Johns, Simone Jardim, Lucy Kovalova and countless others—both long-standing veterans and rising talents—have shaped pickleball’s current ascendancy. Their dedication, not only in playing, but in coaching, mentoring and advocating for the game, is a testament to the role that individuals play in both fostering growth and shaping the unique culture that surrounds it.

Surrounded by the traditional behemoths of American sport—as well as an increasingly global athletic landscape (pickleball’s world championships are just around the corner)—this raucous, paddle-wielding affair seems primed for liftoff. Its very DNA—wrapped tightly in accessibility and community—means it might be the first competitor to truly appeal to the masses. To both the kids and the pros. The underserved and the overwrought.

In front of us is a picture of future bright with innovation, brimming with outreach and expanding to meet the steady stream of players finding the addictive spin of the wiffle ball. As the sport continues to grow, its purest enthusiasts are sure to maintain the delicate balance between “sport” and “too much fun,” changing just enough to stay the same.

In the end, what we were left with is a sport that goes to show the powers of sport — the ability to bring people together, to challenge them, to pit them against one another, and to share in the game playing that comes with that. What began as a game for two entertained friend has become a sport that’s entertaining players around the world, and the love behind it all — the passion, the dedication, the community — is in each and every volley.

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