The PPA is going across the country to the east coast and humidity of Florida. As we noted in our post on Tuesday, Riley Newman will be with Parris Todd as he and Anna Bright are done for the year. Matt Wright is not at this tournament, so it looks like Newman is going to be teaming up with part-owner of the Hard Eights MLP team, Tim Parks, for a run in the pro division. This is not the first time Newman has teamed up with a non-pro at a pro tournament. He did the same in 2020 at the PPA Championships when Tyson McGuffin was out due to illness and celebrity Randall Emmett stepped in.
We have talked a lot about seeding issues with the PPA. This Riley Newman/Tim Parks situation creates a whole new set of questions as they have the #2 seed with the top 3 best teams on paper in the other half of the draw – Johns brothers, Frazier/Johnson and Koller/Bar. The PPA may have to look into amending their unpublished seeding policy for situations when players without any tournament history or, even PPA points, play a PPA event. If they are fine making exceptions for non-pros, it should not impact the draw this significantly, especially when there isn’t a true double elimination.
Gritty is now only 1 up on the year after Slim won the last draft. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Slim)
(3) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Slim)
(4) Anna Leigh Waters / Catherine Parenteau (Gritty)
(5) Ben Johns (Gritty)
Gritty – Anna Leigh Waters has Hurricane Tyra Black in her first match if Black can win in round 1. Black has not played a singles tournament but it would be something if the newly minted Challenger player could give AL a run for her money. Anna Leigh is a gold medal player with anyone in women’s until we see otherwise and Parenteau is playing top notch with that new Selkirk paddle – the women’s results with Jorja Johnson have not been as good though. Ben Johns should like the slower Florida conditions for singles and has a pretty damn good draw.
Slim – Coming off of a loss to the Johnsons, I have to feel like Ben and Anna Leigh will be motivated and focused this weekend, and that is a problem for their competition. The Johns brothers have been the dominant team in men’s doubles this year.
(6) Federico Staksrud (Slim)
(7) Anna Bright / Parris Todd (Slim)
(8) Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(9) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
(10) Parris Todd / Riley Newman (Slim)
(11) Salome Devidze (Slim)
Gritty – Lea Jansen has been uber consistent. Will the ride continue this weekend where she avoids AL’s half of the draw? The draw is not in JW/Dylan’s favor but they are clearly the 2nd best team. Slow conditions favor the Johns brothers but I have to take a shot with the kids, even if they could easily be out of the medals altogether.
Slim – Federico lost an extremely close quarter finals match to JW Johnson in Minnesota, but he has been the second best men’s singles player this year. I am a little worried about Parris Todd’s lack of high level competition of late, and have concerns her game might be stagnating, but the talent of Anna and Parris was too much to pass up. I have the same concerns with Parris in mixed, but the upside of Riley and Parris is too much to pass up. Salome is always going to be in the mix in women’s singles.
(12) Julian Arnold / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
(13) Julian Arnold (Gritty)
(14) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim)
(15) Lea Jansen / Allyce Jones (Slim)
(16) Jessie Irvine / Jorja Johnson (Gritty)
(17) Catherine Parenteau (Gritty)
Gritty – Speaking of a guy who might like slower conditions, Julian Arnold may benefit from more of his balls staying in with that aggressive style of play both in doubles with Wilson and in singles. Jorja Johnson has not had a good run in women’s in 2023. She gets her Florida Smash partner this weekend in Jessie Irvine, who should also be a very good fit of a partner for her. Parenteau had a hiccup with Mary Brascia a couple of tourneys ago but she is in good form this year.
Slim – The Johnson siblings have shown they can beat anyone, having knocked off Ben and Anna Leigh, but they are still working on finding that level, consistently. Lea Jansen and Allyce Jones have been one of the most consistent teams in women’s doubles this year.
(18) Andrea Koop / Vivienne David (Slim)
(19) JW Johnson (Slim)
(20) Pablo Tellez / Federico Staksrud (Gritty)
(21) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(22) AJ Koller / Dekel Bar (Slim)
(23) Jay Devilliers / Andrei Daescu (Slim)
Gritty – The Pablo/Fed pick is not because I think they are better than Koller/Bar after one good tournament. I chose them because they have the fortune of being in the non-death half of the draw and, in my opinion, are the best of the teams on that side of the draw – Jay/Andrei will be interesting as a first-time pairing though. Jay Devilliers has benefitted from some Tyson McGuffin-esque friendly singles draws in 2023 and he has another friendly one in Florida. Jay’s ability to grind out draws is second to none so I like him here.
Slim – Andrea Koop and Vivienne David are a solid pairing, that fit pretty well together. The pair isn’t going to miss many balls, and could beat any team in the field. They won a gold last year together at a PPA. JW has the talent to beat anyone in singles, but I am not sure that he loves playing singles these days. AJ and Dekel would have gone higher in this draft if it weren’t for the fact that they will likely have to beat both the Johns brothers and JW and Dylan if they want to make championship Sunday. It will be interesting to see how Jay and Andrei play, as both players seem to prefer the left side.
(24) Catherine Parenteau / Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(25) Andrea Koop / AJ Koller (Gritty)
(26) Mary Brascia (Slim)
(27) Dylan Frazier (Slim)
(28) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Gritty)
(29) Mary Brascia / Lauren Stratman (Gritty)
(30) Hurricane Tyra Black (Slim)
Gritty – Tyson is back from his injury. I will say, it is sure convenient that Tyson says he injured himself right at the moment he struggled in the Dreambreaker against Anna Leigh Waters. Based on Tyson’s description of his own injury, as a certified armchair sports doctor, it sounded a lot more severe than this timeline for recovery would indicate. I’m legitimately curious how injured Tyson was. Anyway, this might be too high on Tyson for the fantasy draft but it is a bet on grinding slower conditions with Catherine Parenteau.
Andrea/AJ have the upside to medal as do Bright/Ignatowich. The Anna/James situation will be fascinating to monitor. As hard as it is to lose to your significant other, losing with your significant other is likely even harder. Let’s see how they handle the inevitable losing that will accompany their mixed partnership. Mary Brascia/Lauren Stratman would not be my 6th team without seeing the draw but I like their draw better for an upset medal.
Slim – With the last pick, I had to take a shot in the dark on Hurricane Tyra Black who has managed to get herself drafted to MLP without ever having played a pro tournament. The reviews of her game, especially her singles game are very good. So it will be interesting to see how she does. She may be the start of a new level of athletes entering the women’s game, but as we are seeing these tennis players can no longer just walk into the pro game and gets results, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes her to adapt.
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