Major League Pickleball (MLP) – Live Blog


Of course, we’re going to be doing our best with the live blog over the course of the 4 days of MLP. For some clarity as it does not appear to be on MLP’s website, all games in a match are to 15, mixed matchups are determined by a coin toss for home and away teams with the away team giving their lineup first and the home team have 30 seconds to respond, and the top 2 teams of the round robin make the finals. We discussed the singles tiebreaker in our initial MLP kick-off post that you can find here. What is not noted in our initial post is that if the match goes to a singles tiebreaker, the home team puts their order out first and the away team has one minute to respond.

Another storyline that we had not considered until now about MLP is the problem of having a round robin with only the top 2 teams making it beyond the round robin. There are inevitably going to be some meaningless matches for some teams by day 3 and certainly by day 4. On the other hand, this also means that the round robin overall is more meaningful and that you should have at least 1 team that still has a chance to make the finals in most matches until close to the end of the tournament. We’ll be curious to see how this aspect of things shakes out as the tournament moves along.

We’ll have takeaways on Tuesday instead of Monday this week as the tournament finishes on Monday, Feels like a National Championship game or something!

Monday, November 8th – Day 4, Championships

11:58 pm EST (Gritty) – What a damn match and what better way to end the tourney. 15-14 win for Nunnery and Irina. Irina staved off a really good match point down 12-14. Man that’s heartbreaking for Chimeras. Great tourney. Takeaways tomorrow for you all. Good night!

11:07 pm EST (Gritty) – We thought Ben made an error in going with Irina when they played the Chimeras the first go around and this time he goes with Koop to take down Yates and Waters in a tight one. I’m guessing Ben had put a little more thought into the mixed matches for the finals than he did the round robin.

10:30 pm EST (Gritty) – A motivated Ben is a scary one. Nunnery and him still don’t quite seem on the same page but it did not matter in this one. Koller couldn’t stop pulling the trigger on bait ball after bait ball and made it quite easy for BLQK to cruise to a 15-4 win. Koller played quite a bit with Ben cross court and then was his usual aggressive self, but he needed to be more selective with the two on the other side. All tied at 1-1.

9:58 pm EST (Gritty) – Game 1 is in the books with Anna Leigh and Whitwell coming out on top 15-10. It just felt like they were in control of most of the rallies once they got up to the kitchen. Tereschenko and Koop were on defence more as the Whitwell and Waters together are so hard to attack. Whitwel was rock solid resetting when needed and attacking at the right times. It’s really nice for the beta player to have so much finishing power in a partnership.

4:40 pm EST (Slim) – In absolute thrilling match, the Chimeras punched their ticket to the finals with a 15-14 win over the Pickle Ranchers in the singles tie breaker. Riley Newman, also came within inches of winning it for the Pickle Ranchers, but his attempted game winner on Anna Leigh couldn’t quite find the line. Just to get to the singles tie breaker, the Chimeras had to have Anna Leigh and Kyle Yates, overcome a 14-10 deficit against Leigh Waters and Andrei Daescu, in a match that primarily featured Leigh and Kyle grinding each other.

So that sets up a final of the Chimeras versus BLQK. In their earlier match up the Chimeras defeated BLQK. It will be interesting, to see what the times try do with their mixed match ups in the final. This also leaves the Warriors on the outside looking in, the Warriors won the most games, of any team, but with their two lost matches, they failed to qualify for the finals. You have to wonder if Tyson McGuffin’s food poisoning played a roll in their loss to the Ranchers yesterday.

2:10 pm EST (Slim) – Team BLQK clinches their place in the finals with a 4-0 win over the Lions. While it hasn’t always been easy for them, BLQK is where we thought they would be playing in the finals tonight. The Lions team was showing some frustrations it looked like, in these games, after a weekend, that hadn’t quite gone their way.

12:15 pm EST (Slim) – The first match of the day is in the books and the Warriors take down, Team Rally 3-1. The story with the Warriors has to be Vivienne David, who finished regular league play with a 14-0 record in doubles, which is just extremely impressive. Vivienne partnered extremely well with both Lea Jansen and Zane Navatril in this event. I have to think a long with her much improved play, David’s constant positive energy has to be a real boost, in this team style event. Lee Whitwell based on expectations may be getting all the “MVP” love but, Vivienne and her perfect record has a legitimate claim to it. Though I am sure Vivienne would vote for Lee and her partners, haha.

Unfortunately, this Warriors win, makes the Chimeras versus Pickle Ranchers, the most important match of the day, which puts the question asked by Gritty below, of whether Leigh will play spoiler to Anna Leigh. I have to agree with reader Mark, that it would have been good foresight for the league to keep these family matches away from the last day.

For team Rally, it was the end of a very disappointing weekend, as they failed to win a single match. The chemistry never really clicked for this team, and I have to admit, I was just wrong on the JW and Dylan partnership, I thought they would be formidable in this event, but they never found their stride. I am still very high on both JW and Dylan’s futures, and the mixed results were solid, but this event, showed that there is still a lot of development left for both of them.

10:27 am EST (Gritty) – Before the day starts, I wanted to give some commentary based off a comment from a reader, Mark. This is what he wrote: “MLP made a mistake in their scheduling. The matches between family members (mother/daughter, brother/brother) should have been early in the event, preferably the first round. With one family member out of contention and the other needing the win, they have put those players unfairly under the microscope and through no fault of the players.”

Neither of us considered this issue and it’s a big problem. Both BLQK and the Chimeras need a win and they are in. If the Warriors lose in the morning, it won’t be a problem but Tyson says on Instagram he’s feeling much better today so we have to expect that’s a win. I can’t expect Leigh will be fully engaged even if she is trying to be if a finals appearance is on the line for her daughter. The brother thing there could be an aspect of Collin wanting to show out and maybe it’s not an issue. Mark is right that they should have built this into scheduling. It’s possible they wanted these matchups with all the marbles on the line on Day 4. Definitely a mistake either way.

Sunday, November 7th – Day 3

11:40 pm EST (Slim) – In the final match of the day, the Chimeras suffer their first defeat of the weekend, losing 3-1 to the Warriors, in a match that featured some very tight games. The Warriors were featuring the first sub in MLP history as Rob Cassidy had to fill in for Tyson McGuffin who apparently is suffering from food poisoning. As he always does, Rob Cassidy laid it all out on the line in this match. It was very good showing for the Warriors women in this match as I thought Lea Jansen and Vivienne David both played exceptionally well in this match, leading the Warriors to victory.

9:22 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s a win for the Pickle Ranchers over Team Clean 3-2 in singles. We got some opposite mixed matches and while the women’s one could have gone either way (Callie and Corrine won), I would not have expected Leigh Waters and Daescu to beat Bar and Smith. Maybe I should at this point. We have to ask if Dekel is a men’s specialist considering how freaking good he is there but he’s not getting results in mixed. Callie is a very high end mixed partner and to lose 15-5 to Navratil/David then losing to a number 2 pairing of Leigh and Andrei is not good. He was overrated by us at the time of the draft clearly. AJ Koller is a better MLP player than Dekel and went too low, which is wild to say.

Dekel also played poorly in singled losing the majority of the points to Andrei, including match point. Callie Smith was a beast again winning 6 of 8 points against Riley Newman. Leigh Waters also got some points off Adam Stone. I’d be curious to see stats from the tourney on women vs. men in singles and how many points were won. It has to be pretty close. The women have just ripped balls from the badeline with a nothing to lose attitude. Anyway, 15-14 in singles with Lindsey Newman getting the winning point off Corrine Carr.

8:45 pm EST (Gritty) – Tyson McGuffin has had to pull out with food poisoning earlier today which is a real blow to the Warriors. Rob Cassidy is filling in for him. We thought Cassidy should be drafted but when you lose a top 5 male it’s tough sledding. Must have played a part in their rough mixed loss to Stone/Carr.

Team Rally was a big miss for us this tournament as they go down 4-0 to Team BLQK who seem to have found their stride after a bit of an iffy start. The kids have not been good enough and it’s surprising they have not won any of their matches. The only thing that has been somewhat okay for Rally is their mixed but they did not get that over BLQK either.

The Lions then took down ATX 3-1 as they have shown to be pretty formidable. It could be a different world for the Lions if they could have gotten the singles off the Chimeras this morning but given the landscapw they are likely out of the finals. It seems like we’ll have BLQK and Chimeras there with the Warriors losing Tyson.

6:40 pm EST (Slim) – In match 4 of the day Team Clean pulls the upset over the Warriors 3-2 and the Warriors drop to 0-2 in singles tie breakers when that looked like their strength, the Warriors are showing that this 4 point at a time rally scoring singles is a different game. In the fifth match BLQK rolled Rally 4-0.

4:40 pm EST (Slim) – in match two of the day ATQ took down Rally three games to one and Rally’s struggles continue, as the team just has not helped. In game three team BLQK took down down Pickle Ranchers 3-1 keeping their title hopes alive

11:50 am EST (Slim) – The Chimeras remain undefeated and Lee Whitwell remains the MVP. The Chimeras beat the Lions in the singles tie breaker to take the Lions and again the story was Lee Whitwell more than holding her own against an elite male singles player, this time Jay Devilliers. Lee is 10-0 in her doubles match, and clearly her steady play and leadership are fitting in well with this team, and has been the difference. In their interview after Kyle Yates, while not mentioning us did call out our D grade (it was a D, not a D minus Kyle haha) in the draft. I think at this point Gritty and I are more than willing to admit we were wrong on that one, this team fits very well together, and I think our biggest mistake was underrating Lee Whitwell.

Saturday, November 6th – Day 2

9:32 pm EST (Slim) – In the last match of the day, ATX picked up their first win, with a 3-1 victory over the Pickle Ranchers. To see the Pickle Ranchers lose both mixed matches, was a real surprise, but both of ATX’s mixed teams were firing on all cylinders in this match up.

8:50 pm EST (Slim) – In probably the biggest match of MLP to date, BLQK pulls out an absolutely huge win over the the Warriors. BLQK would have been facing very low prospects of making the finals if they lost this match, so it was a huge win for them. The hero of the match was Rob Nunnery who took 6 of 8 points off Zane Navatril in singles and allowed BLQK to get the singles tie breaker victory. We had thought that the Warriors would have a huge singles advantage over teams, but in this format of only playing four points and rally scoring, we are seeing anything can happen.

7:20 pm EST (Slim) – Team Chimeras remains undefeated beating Rally, 3-1. Chimeras seems very solid, and no doubt their MVP so far has been Lee Whitwell who just remains very steady and solid for them. For Rally, the story has to be JW and Dylan’s inability to get going in men’s doubles. They have just looked out of it in most of their matches, and without a high energy guy to pick them up, I think they are really struggling to find their stride.

6:45 pm EST (Slim) – The Lions stormed back from being down 2 games to none, to beat Team Clean 3-2 winning the singles tie breaker. I hate to beat a broken drum but Adam and Corrine’s inability to beat other team’s second mixed teams is a big problem for Team Clean. Also Dekel’s inability to perform in mixed continues to puzzle me.

5:25 pm EST (Gritty) – Since we left off, the Chimeras were able to win a tight one 3-1 with Nunnery/Koop losing to Whitwell/Koller. From my perspective, the biggest surprise of the tournament is the Chimeras being undefeated but it doesn’t seem lucky at all, other than Whitwell taking those points off Dekel Bar in singles. They are an obvious finals contender.

The Warriors continue to be a wagon winning all 4 games against probably the weakest team out there in the ATX Pickleballers. Loong/Smith have come close to winning a couple of matches but ultimately lose out to McGuffin/Navratil. Grechkina is talented but her level seemed like it was going to be a problem going into the tournament and that has proven true. It’s just amplified even more by the fact that Parenteau/Loong and Loong/Smith can’t get any wins.

Team Clean with a big win against Team Rally who continue to falter unfortunately. Dylan Frazier and Susannah Barr had a tight 15-14 win against Adam Stone/Corrine Carr, but it’s been a bit of a tough road for Barr in this amplified setting. She gets the win in mixed but not the win in women’s losing handily to Carr/Smith. Carr/Stone were a bad combo going into this and that has proven true. It’s also been a rough ride for the kids, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier, as they were up 8 points on Dekel Bar and Adam Stone only to lose 15-13. JW and Jessie Irvine taking down Dekel and Callie is why you don’t break them up yesterday. Not surprisingly, Team Rally did not win the singlesas neither of the females are built for any singles – neither Irvine nor Barr came to the net once in the singles rallies while Callie Smith was able to win some points again versus another male in Dylan Frazier.

1:23 pm EST (Gritty) – This is fun with the Chimeras who we clearly severely misread. Both Whitwell and Kyle Yates proving us wrong. The Franklin ball may be a help but Yates is obviously playing better these days. 2 close losses and a close win in mens. I thought the difference in the mixed match was clearly Irina as the far inferior player. She couldn’t do anything on her own and Ben can’t simply take over in that match up with Anna Leigh on the other end as the female and Kyle playing solidly. Also, maybe Rob Nunnery should avoid saying Ben wants to light Kyle and Anna Leigh up before the match. It may be true but it’s not helpful after they lose. I also could not believe that Team BLQK did not have their match-ups ready going into the match and decided on their mixed pairings in the moment. Irina the wrong choice at the end of the day in my view if Ben wanted that matchup.

12:25 pm EST (Gritty) – Irina being mic’d up is bad for the Irina brand. As Slim noted yesterday, Irina wants to be the funny goofy person but she just isn’t that in reality. Super disrespectful to the Byron Freso who was line reffing sitting on the side at midcourt (which is problematic) but what she said to him was so uncalled for – she finished with something along the lines of should someone deliver you lunch. Then at a very key moment down 13-14-1, Irina and Koop, mainly Irina, made a bad line call. Irina claimed it was way out when the flawed video footage showed it clearly in. Luckily it sounds like from Morgan Evans that the Freestyle Boys stepped in to self-challenge the call and Irina agreed to that. It was in (Ben not wanting to upset his 2022 mixed partner lol?). Anna Leigh is only 14 and it’s tough when it seems pretty clear the other team is trying to cheat you out of a point, but she’s going to have to learn to chill on these things. It’s pickleball and no hawkeye system. Anyway, a heated 15-13 win for AL and Whitwell. We appear to have been wrong on Lee Whitwell, and MLP is better for it. She was more than worth drafting and her personality is top notch to boot.

11:10 am EST (Gritty) – Pickle Ranchers win a tight one 3-1 but I have to start with a pathetic display from Andrei Daescu and then Leigh Waters for backing him up. It’s 9-8-1 for them against Esquivel/Johns in the pivotal 4th game. Johns has a finishing ball and Esquivel yells “Come on!” a split micro-second before Andrei can put a paddle on it. Daescu is clearly not by this scream but he very quickly points to the ref that “hey, hey, hey, she screamed before I touched the ball.” Ref gives them the point as technically Esquivel did, Esquivel/Johns don’t call timeout when they should and lose the next point before calling timeout. Waters/Daescu roll to victory. Who knows what the outcome and it’s high stakes, but I hate this stuff. It’s sad and pathetic in my view. Michelle was right when she said “you guys want that? Go ahead” because no one should want to win like that. Here’s the video:

A couple other notes. Waters/Lindsey Newman is a good combo against these less elite womenms doubles plyers with Lindsey’s defence and Leigh’s power. Teams should make Leigh work up, finish balls at Leigh almost exclusively and drop to Lindsey. There’s noticeable differences in those aspects of the game for them. Also, Andrei won mixed but did not look comfortable in men’s to me. He hasn’t been playing a ton of high level pickleball and it may be showing.

Friday, November 5th – Day 1

9:29 PM EST (Slim) – Day 1 of MLP is in the books, with BLQK winning the last match of the day over Team Clean. I already mentioned it earlier but Team Clean really needs to get some mixed wins from Adam Stone and Corrine Carr, but so far they have gotten them, as Adam and Corrine dropped their game against Rob Nunnery and Irina Tereschenko.

8:28 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s been a tough start for the young guys on Team Rally. JW and Frazier got smoked 15-1 by Devilliers and Collin Johns while both of them lost their mixed match against the Lions. Curious what the decision making behind the switch in partnerships was but I think it was a big mistake to switch the mixed partnerships up. Maybe they wanted to see if they could get a 3-1 win with both mixed partnerships but it backfires on them. JW should be with Jessie Irvine in my opinion. We were both high on Team Rally coming into this but that’s an 0-2 start that’s not super promising. Lot of tournament left but that’s a big hole to come out of to make the top 2.

8:00 pm EST (Gritty) – I don’t have a pickleball comment but I want to give a broadcasting one that’s been bugging me for a while. Slim doesn’t care as much about these things. However, I’m tired of this need for a “traditional” broadcaster. I don’t understand why we keep going back to people like Drew Felios and Dave Benz who we could find 4000 of the same quality across the country. Or even the need to go with people like Camryn Irwin and Michelle McMahon (who is currently announcing with Dave Fleming at MLP) when Lauren McLaughlin who is undoubtedly one of the best doing pickleball broadcasting currently sits on the sideline of non-APP events. Pickleball is new. Why are we trying to be like every other sport on the broadcasts? Dom Catalano and Morgan Evans are on the Grandstand court, and they are a great combo. That’s my Richard Deitsch (yes, a deep cut for sports media fans) comment for now.

7:45 PM EST (Slim) – Folks we have a wagon, the Discovery Warriors! They are now 8-0 in games on the day after sweeping the Pickle Ranchers. It has to be scary for other teams to see them playing so well, because as I said in my preview, I think they have a distinct advantage in the singles tie breaker, but so far they haven’t even come close to needing to go there.

Zane, Vivienne and Lea have to be three of the most improved players over the course of this season and it looks like that has continued MLP as they are all playing at a very high level.

6:15 PM EST (Slim) – There is still a game remaining but the Chimeras have defeated the ATX Pickleballers as they are up 3-0. It has to be a resulting performance for ATX as their number one mixed team of Catherine Parenteau and Tyler Loong dropped their match 15-14 to the Chimeras number two mixed of AJ Koller and Lee Whitwell. This was following Tyler Loong and Patrick Smith blowing an 8-0 lead to AJ and Kyle Yates to lose 15-14. The MVP of the day so far is undoubtedly Lee Whitwell, she and Anna Leigh were dominant in their women’s game in this match, defeating Catherine Parenteau and Yana Grechkina 15-2.

5:00 PM EST (Slim) – In the first blowout of the tournament the Discovery Warriors beat the Lions 4 games to zero. I was fairly high on the Warriors heading into this match, but the 4-0 win is impressive. This result for the Lions will also do little to quiet the questions about Collin Johns.

4:45 PM EST (Slim) – In the third match of the day, the Pickle Ranchers beat Team Rally 3 games to 1. The turning point in this match was Jessie Irvine and Susannah Barr blowing a large early lead against Lindsey Newman and Leigh Waters in the first game of the match. Jessie Irvine seemed to make some uncharacteristic unforced errors in the latter half of the match which allowed the Pickle Ranchers to make the comeback. Andrei and Riley then defeated Dylan and JW, which allowed the Ranchers, who got pick the mixed match ups, to pair the Newmans against Susannah and Dylan, who fought hard against them but were not able to pull it out.

The Pickle Ranchers are going to have to keep finding ways to win these matches 3-1 or 4-0, as they do not exactly have a team of singles players. Despite the loss, I am still high on Team Rally as I think they have four strong doubles teams, but I was a little worried about the JW and Dylan men’s performance, as they are two guys who are hard to get a read on, as they don’t show emotion.

2:30 PM EST (Slim) – Wow! The Chimeras beat Team Clean, in another singles tie breaker, and the story here has to be Lee Whitwell. The Chimaeras made the decision to put Lee, up against Dekel Bar, with the hopes they could pick up points in the other match ups, and when Lee held Dekel to 3 points, the first time they met it seemed, like that was probably about the best they could hope for, but the next time they were matched up Lee, shocked the world and took all 4 points off of Dekel, swinging the match for the Chimeras. Lee’s performance also bailed out Kyle Yates, who lost 7 of 8 points to Callie Smith.

A couple things to watch with these teams moving forward I think, is with Team Clean, can they get some W’s out of Adam Stone and Corrine Carr. They took Corrine for the chemistry with Adam, but they have had poor mixed results lately, and it is started off poorly with Corrine losing both her women’s and mixed matches. If Corrine can’t give them some wins in mixed, they may really regret that pick. On the other side, it was a great start for Lee Whitwell, who won both of her doubles matches and was the hero in mixed, can she keep it going?

I know they will be reluctant to switch it up because both partnerships have experience playing together, but I would be really curious to see what an Anna Leigh and AJ mixed partnership looked like for the Chimeras at some point.

11:50 AM EST (Slim) – In the first match of the day, Team BLQK takes down team ATX Pickleballers, in what was probably a much tighter than anticipated match. Team BLQK won in the singles tie breaker after, after ATX battled back and won both mixed matches after dropping the men’s and women’s matches.

You have to like the fight and aggression that we saw from Yana Grechkina in this match, if you are team ATX or just a pickleball fan. If you are team BLQK you can’t afford to have Ben dropping singles matches. I will be interested to see if Ben sticks with Andrea as his partner, you could definitely tell they had not played together before. Also Gritty pointed out they lost a few point switching on return of serve. I think that’s something teams need to be careful with in general in mixed, especially with the bigger serves these days, is always trying to switch the woman cross court.

I had no idea that singles was rally scoring, except the final point has to be earned on a team’s serve. Definitely sets up for a comeback, and makes it particularly tough if you have a woman trying to serve out against a man for your team.

Final thought, is anyone else tired of Irina’s complaining? She was complaining about people talking while she was hitting in singles, and tried to get one of Rob’s singles points replayed after the whole point had been played out, because of an incorrect score. For someone who often likes to present themselves as the funny goofy one I can’t stand how she is always on refs.

32 thoughts on “Major League Pickleball (MLP) – Live Blog

  • November 5, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Really impressed with Catherine and Yana’s fight, also kudos to Tyler and Catherine against Ben and Andrea. I wonder if the Ben and Andrea combo was a one time thing or if their planning on that the whole tournament?

    • November 5, 2021 at 8:59 am

      No doubt. Yana is very talented and Pat practices with her so maybe he knows something we don’t. We’ll have to see with Ben. Another loss for him in mixed but it looked obvious they had not played together too

  • November 5, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    No comments on Warriors vs Lions?

    • November 5, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Grant, just catching up on that result. Impressive from the Warriors. If this continues for Lions, there will be a lot of Collin Johns questions

  • November 5, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    The singles tie breakers were for sure the highlight of the day for me. Callie schooling Kyle and Lee destroying Dekel was so fun to watch! I really don’t think anyone will be able to take down Discovery Warriors. All four of them are playing so well and there doesn’t seem to be a weak link on their team. I really hope they are able to sustain this level of play all weekend!

    The announcers were driving me crazy today! I love having the players mic’d up but the announcers kept talking over the players interactions so we couldn’t hear them. I don’t need to hear the announcers recap the point I just watched, let me hear what the players are saying! And having the players mic’d is really highlighting who the whiny poor sports are (I’m looking at you Irina and Kyle). 😂

    • November 5, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      The singles was awesome. It seemed like a good idea but having the women get a bunch of points off the men was so cool cuz you’d never get to see it. Lee and the one handed backhand, who knew?!?! She was lights out all day today too. Agreed on the Warriors

      It’s a new thing for them but they do need to let it breeze. Felios was talking during a very important timeout in the first mixed match of the day and it was like come on

  • November 6, 2021 at 9:07 am

    More complaining from Irina on Day 2 against Lee and Anna Leigh. Being mic’ed up isn’t doing her reputation any favours.

  • November 6, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Playing a little devil’s advocate on your take on the Yates/Waters v Johns/Irina match: perhaps it’s time to stop lavishing praise on Ben Johns for covering 90% of the court? That’s a general statement and not directed at anyone in particular. He’s playing with top-level professionals, not 3.5’s, so trust them to handle their business. Poach, get aggressive on floaters…yes. But routine dinks…? Perhaps his partners are struggling because they’re not used to being (practically) pushed off the court on routine shots? Teams are showing they’re not afraid to go behind him or even straight at him so he’s frequently leaving himself vulnerable and his partner in a compromised position. That approach may have worked in 2020 but 2021 has shown that it’s no longer viable.

    • November 6, 2021 at 7:18 pm

      This is a very real possibility. It may be that players are just upping their level and he has to stop trying to cover so much court. It’s definitely problematic in this format where the partners never play with him and you are right that it was an issue today against Chimeras. He probably just won’t feel the need to cover as much court next year teaming up with Anna Leigh

    • November 11, 2021 at 5:35 am

      After the championship of Monday, after the men doubles 15-4, you will not think so. Irena has a bad habit of staying too far from the kitchen line. That’s the problem, not Ben’s poaching.

      • November 11, 2021 at 6:17 am

        1) Ben didn’t play with Irena in the Championship on Monday so I recommend you re-watch so that you can make informed comments. 2) As I said in my comment, the issue isn’t with Ben “poaching”, which is a fundamental skill of a left-side player. The issue is with trying to unnecessarily cover 90% of the court often crowding, and sometimes practically bumping his partner out of position. “Poaching” and taking a routine dink off the paddle of your highly-skilled professional partner are two different things. 3) This was in evidence Monday night because as strong as Ben played, and he did play extremely well, some of the key momentum swings came from his partners’ shot selections. In the mixed match Andrea Koop was able to attack straight across at Yates’ backhand often and successfully enough that they ended up switching positions and putting AL Waters across from her. In the Men’s match Nunnery was able to win most of the hands battles against Koller both by countering as well as initiating the speed-ups.

        • November 11, 2021 at 10:11 am

          First, I watched all Ben’s games. I know Irena and Ben played together on day one and after that, they never played together anymore. Second, why there are so many low level players always think they are smarter than the world no 1 player? You think it’s a easy dink which should be left to Irena to return. I saw if Ben took it, the opponents will move back, they don’t know what is going to happen. An attack, a wide crosscout dink? They don’t know and they are scared. If it’s Irena, the opponents will be more aggressive. That’s the difference. You don’t understand. Not your fault. You need more higher level playing experience to understand.

          • November 11, 2021 at 10:44 am

            Quit while you’re behind…you’re making a fool of yourself. Your failed logic keeps referencing one game with Irena while conveniently ignoring the momentum changing shots performed by Ben’s partners in the Championship games as well as Ben’s mediocre mixed-doubles results over the past several months which clearly show that teams are figuring out his over-reaching court positioning and are not even remotely “scared.” But you keep making up nonsense; it’s not your fault you’re clueless with absolutely no concept of the subtle strategies behind successful pickleball.

            You sound like the same clown on the Pickleball Forum who, every time someone calls out one of his clueless posts, falls back with the weak, brain-dead response of “you must be a low level player.” Probably not a coincidence…

            It’s not your fault you’re dumb…but quit trying so hard to prove it. Now that i see how far beneath me you are mentally I won’t be responding any further as it’s not fair to pick on a child. You have fun talking back to yourself, though.

  • November 7, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    It’s been so interesting to see how the team aspect of this event really has affected the players. Jessie looks like she is miserable. I imagine her teammates are noticing too and it doesn’t seem to be helping them perform any better. Same with Collin Johns and his treatment of Michelle. She clearly performs better when her partner is positive and pumping her up and Collin certainly isn’t doing that (as evident by Michelle’s little on camera melt down). This new format has really showcased different aspects of these athletes personalities that we don’t usually see! Team play helps some and hurts others.

    One other thing…any idea why Tyson and Ben aren’t wearing mics? Worried they might say something to affect sponsorships? Or are they just divas and refused?

    • November 7, 2021 at 11:04 pm

      Ummm Michelle was frankly a liability out there. And all weekend really It wasn’t about Collin at all. He was trying to compete to not be embarrased out there. Same with Jessie. Unfortunately Barr is over matched in this setting. The kids have been a major disappointment, notably Dylan.

      • November 7, 2021 at 11:39 pm

        Of course each player is responsible for their own performance. I’m just finding it interesting to see the players who are thriving in the team environment and those that aren’t. I agree that Collin and Jessie are at a disadvantage with their partners skill wise but it just seems like them openly displaying their irritation with their partners rather than being encouraging certainly isn’t helping the situation.

    • November 8, 2021 at 7:20 am

      This is all new and seeing how people respond to adversity. Team Rally needed Jessoe to be a leader and can’t say for sure she hasn’t been that, but there really isn’t one high energy person on that team which appears to have been a problem especially for JW and Dylan.

      I think Michelle is tough to play with in general. I forgot where one of us mentioned how Michelle would be over the course of 4 days of this event. She is super high when things go well but the lows are tough.

      Thought Ben was wearing a mic day 1 but I have no idea why

    • November 10, 2021 at 4:25 am

      “It’s been so interesting to see how the team aspect of this event really has affected the players. Jessie looks like she is miserable. I imagine her teammates are noticing too and it doesn’t seem to be helping them perform any better. Same with Collin Johns and his treatment of Michelle. ”

      Agree! When Michelle was commentating on Monday, she made a comment that was just shy of saying she hated her team :). Something like “it’s a relief to be done spending four days in a row with the same people”. Team dynamics were huge. Would love to hear more from the owners/drafters in retrospect, now that it’s clear what did and didn’t work.

      • November 10, 2021 at 1:35 pm

        Unlikely the owners make any comment as I expect they’ll be involved further. And the drafting came down to a lot of player involvement it seems as the first player or two drafted likely had a lot of say

      • November 11, 2021 at 5:26 am

        But the worst player in their tean is Michelle. She almost never set up for her partners. Kept attacking the wrong position and the wrong timing. Stratman and Collin were desperate with her playing as a partner. Trouble machine. Low level as a pro. When you really need her to do a drop or reset, she always disappointed you. Her basic skills are too weak. Only whack the ball. Disaster for the team.

  • November 8, 2021 at 6:37 am

    MLP made a mistake in their scheduling. The matches between family members (mother/daughter, brother/brother) should have been early in the event, preferably the first round. With one family member out of contention and the other needing the win, they have put those players unfairly under the microscope and through no fault of the players.

    • November 8, 2021 at 7:21 am

      This is a very astute comment. The mother/daughter one is particularly problematic because the Chimeras lose and they would be out. 2 of the 4 matches with Leigh. That’s tough for a mom. Very good point Mark

  • November 8, 2021 at 8:00 am

    One of my (random) takeaways from MLP is that the standard tournament allowance of 2 timeouts per team per game is excessive. 4 timeouts in one game just bogs the energy and flow down (which I understand is the point if you’re losing momentum). 1 timeout per team forces them to be used strategically.

    It’s hard to not feel like the main (only ?) beneficiary of 4 timeouts per game is everyone in or paying for a Jigsaw Cocktail commercial…..

    • November 8, 2021 at 5:45 pm

      Agree on the games to 11. No need for 2 timeouts. Players gotta figure it out if it’s going poorly

  • November 8, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    So am I crazy or did Yates get caught on his mic saying that Leigh “might take her foot off the gas a bit”? The announcers had an odd kind of laughing reaction to it. I might have heard it wrong. It looked like she was trying to me but she did hit several right into the net.

    • November 8, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      I believe it was AJ, but you did hear that on the mic. And one of the girls agreed with him. I didn’t see it from Leigh though, she and Andrei had those match points and she appeared to be going full out

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