We are coming through another stretch of consecutive tournament weekends as this is now the 4th pro tournament in a row, with the APP and PPA alternating weekends. The APP is back in New York at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre, which is actually when the MLP draft for 2022 occurred. How the times have changed. It’ll be interesting to see if the APP tries to do anything this year to up the atmosphere. While the facility is a nice one, our recollection is that the big venue led to what felt like a small-scale event in 2022. It’s still important to try to create that intimate environment with fans closer to the players on court and have that felt over a live stream broadcast. The APP seems to slowly be doing a better job of having a better environment on their center court even at smaller tournaments so we’ll see what this weekend looks like.
The boys are back to all square after Slim tied it up last week. Gritty won the toss yet again and elected to pick first for the fantasy draft (not podium picks) this week.
(1) Simone Jardim / Parris Todd (Gritty)
(2) Andrei Daescu / Rob Nunnery (Slim)
(3) Hunter Johnson (Slim)
(4) Parris Todd / Hunter Johnson (Gritty)
(5) Salome Devidze (Gritty)
Gritty – Simone/Parris have won a gold medal in every event they have played together this year. It would be interesting to see how those two would do at a PPA as I would think they wouldn’t hit the podium at a bigger event, but who knows if it was at a tourney without ALW. I went with Parris/Hunter as my first mixed team reluctantly. I wonder if things have been getting a bit stale for them on the APP and I think they will be motivated in NYC as well as after Parris’ silver with Riley Newman. Judit Castillo was in the running for this first women’s pick but I go with Salome because she’ll have the #1 seed, and she’s the best bet for a silver medal floor.
Slim – Andrei Daescu and Rob Nunnery were dominant in their first tournament together, and Andrei has been the dominant doubles player on the APP Tour, so I was happy to take them with the second pick. Hunter Johnson, has dropped a couple of Championship Sundays to his brother Yates, but he is still most dominant and consistent singles player on the APP Tour, and I think with New York being one of the bigger tournaments he may be a little more focused this weekend.
(6) Maggie Remynse / Andrei Daescu (Slim)
(7) Megan Fudge (Slim)
(8) Susannah Barr / Rob Nunnery (Gritty)
(9) Judit Castillo (Gritty)
(10) Susannah Barr / Maggie Remynse (Slim)
(11) Megan Fudge / Alix Truong (Slim)
Gritty – Susannah Barr/Rob Nunnery took down Parris/Hunter last tournament and should be right in the mix for a gold medal. I had them ahead of Remynse/Daescu on my board despite them getting double dipped by Truong/Daescu last time out in Cincinnati. Judit Castillo beat Megan Fudge the last time they played one another so I like that Castillo fell to this spot. Castillo provides less reliability in singles, but I still had her at #2 as I think she has gold medal potential this weekend. The way she comes to the net could bother Devidze and Fudge, depending on what paddle Devidze gets her hands on.
Slim – I am concerned that Maggie Remynse has not been playing much competitive pickleball, but Andrei Daescu has been the dominant doubles player on the tour, and Maggie is talented so I like their chances to get gold. Megan Fudge is always consistent in singles, and I know she will make the podium, and should have a good shot at gold. Again, I have concerns about Maggie not having played a lot of late, and she and Susannah did miss the podium when they played together in Sacramento, but I like them to bounce back this weekend. Megan Fudge has gotten silver in literally every APP women’s doubles event this year, so she and Alix Truong seem like a safe pick.
(12) Yates Johnson (Gritty)
(13) John Cincola / Brendon Long (Gritty)
(14) Andreas Siljestrom / Joey Farias (Slim)
(15) Hunter Johnson / Yates Johnson (Slim)
(16) Bobbi Oshiro / Milan Rane (Gritty)
(17) Bobbi Oshiro / Brendon Long (Gritty)
Gritty – Yates Johnson has been winning gold medals in singles, but I still worry that his floor is lower than Hunter’s. Cincola/Long barely beat McNulty/Mick twice in Cincinnati and then lost to Altaf Merchant and the Gridler at the PPA Atlanta Open – those concerning results aside, I like the certainty they bring as a pair. I go with back-to-back Oshiro picks. Oshiro/Rane should be right in the mix for anything up to a silver, but their partnerships haven’t gone that well in the past given that both are more beta players. Oshiro/Long won a gold in Daytona last time they partnered together and I like the upside this team brings to the table.
Slim – I think Andreas and Joey and the Johnson brothers will be the other two teams to make the podium this weekend in men’s doubles, so to get them with the 14th and 15th picks, seems like great value. The Johnson brother had a rough showing in Cincinnati, but I like them to bounce back in New York. Hopefully if Joey and Andreas make Championship Sunday, Joey won’t have too much fun on Saturday night.
(18) Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez (Slim)
(19) Emily Ackerman (Slim)
(20) William Sobek (Gritty)
(21) Emily Ackerman / Riley Bohnert (Gritty)
(22) Amanda Hendry (Slim)
(23) Jack Foster (Slim)
Gritty – William Sobek getting disrespected by Slim to drop to the 4th men’s slot is good for me. I had him as my #3 male singles player. To be frank, I missed Radzikowska/Nobler in the draw so I would have selected them here over Ackerman/Bohnert. Nevertheless, I like the power Ackerman brings and Bohnert has been steadily improving with her results. Ackerman in an APP field should be interesting all around to see how much her power vs. inconsistencies play out at this level of competition.
Slim – Emily Ackermann has been getting some quality wins in the PPA singles draw, but hasn’t played an APP in a while so I will be very curious to see how she does in APP singles field. Amanda Hendry is coming off of a bronze medal performance in Cincinnati. Jack Foster, has been getting some good wins in singles again lately, it will be interesting to see if he can put together a full day.
(24) Ryler DeHeart (Gritty)
(25) Mario Barrientos / Austin Gridley (Gritty)
(26) Simone Jardim / Stefan Auvergne (Slim)
(27) Ewa Radzikowska / Heather Nobler (Slim)
(28) William Sobek / Martin Emmrich (Gritty)
(29) Alix Truong (Gritty)
(30) John Cincola / Megan Fudge (Slim)
Gritty – Ryler DeHeart never podiums but he gets a lot of wins in men’s singles. Maybe he’ll do it this weekend. Barrientos/the Gridler will be a tough out for any of these APP men’s teams outside of Nunnery/Daescu. I went with Sobek/Emmrich because I like the upside they bring. Emmrich looks legit and he is getting better by the week while Sobek is slotting in to be in the mix for all of these APP events. I debated between Bates and Truong for this final spot before finally settling on Truong as I think her ceiling is higher even if there is a lower floor in singles.
Slim – Getting Simone Jardim with the 26th pick in mixed seems like a steal. With that said though it has been a while since Stefan had a big result, so this will be a big opportunity for him with season two of MLP fast approaching. I will be very curious how Ewa and Heather do this weekend, I think Gritty made a mistake letting them slip to me.
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