These lists are hard to do. Let’s acknowledge that up front. They are ripe for criticism because they are completely subjective and meaningless. So, what are we going to do? Once again, we are critiquing Adam Stone’s rankings list for women’s doubles too. He says he’s going to do a mixed list and they even discussed the possibility of doing a left-side vs. right-side list, which would also be fun. Give us all the rankings! As a reminder, this is a critique based on where the players are at today if they were playing a tournament or MLP.
The one takeaway we had from women’s rankings overall is that they are tougher to rank than the men because, outside of Anna Leigh, the top women are essentially only as good as their partner. While the top left-sided male players have so much force to their game, you only have one player in women’s doubles who can properly fill that role and why AL is in her own tier. This will likely change as the sport grows, but it’s something to consider for the rankings exercise.
For our thoughts on Adam Stone’s men’s doubles list, hit the link here. You can click here for our latest women’s doubles rankings.
Jade Kawamoto at #17: Adam Stone didn’t really have a good explanation about how Jackie could be 8 spots above Jade. The only sample size we have for these two apart in women’s doubles is MLP. Stone said he’s seen Jackie play more, but he may be skewed by Jackie getting the benefit of the biggest trade fleece MLP may ever see. Remember, Jackie had a sub-par MLP in Austin when she was with Mary Brascia and the Jackrabbits. We’re always high on the Kawamotos so it just doesn’t seem possible to have Jade and Jackie so far apart on the list.
Corrine Carr at #19: Yeah, we get this one too. It’s hard to rank your wife. The question for us is whether, today, Carr would get drafted for MLP ahead of any of the players behind her on Stone’s list. Maybe Michelle Esquivel?
Allyce Jones at #23 and Meghan Sheehan-Dizon Unranked: We have talked recently in our takeaways about how hard it is to rank these two. They are pretty much either dominating lesser teams or getting dominated by top teams. We also don’t see them play apart from one another. It’s hard to envision a world where we’re not picking these two above some of the players ranked #19 through #26 on the list.
Lindsey Newman Unranked: This was an accidental oversight on Adam’s part that was acknowledged at the end of the podcast. Lindsey is #10 on the DUPR rankings buoyed by her mixed results with Riley. We’d probably slot her in somewhere around #19 on the list. She never won much with Jessie Irvine in women’s and you see what Jessie does with good partners.
Andrea Koop at #2: Adam Stone said this was controversial on the podcast and he’s not wrong. On an initial reaction, this was a hard disagree. However, after further digging, Koop has a real case for #2. Since February, other than one silver medal against Simone/Parris with Jorja Johnson, she has only won gold medals at APPs. The two PPAs she has played she secured two bronze medals with Jorja Johnson in Austin and Callie Smith in Riverland. She even got a silver at US Open with Irina Tereschenko. Irina! That’s some serious consistency. We wouldn’t slot her at #2 because of her limited body of work against the best players, but it is far more defensible than we first thought.
Anna Bright at #3: Maybe Stone just wants to help Slim out, who predicted after Punta Gorda on Lauren McLaughlin’s podcast and, in our takeaways after Punta Gorda, that Bright would be a top 5 player before the end of the year. It was looking like a grim prediction until Bright/Irvine took a leap together as a pair. However, to say that she is top 3 when you have Catherine Parenteau, Jessie Irvine, Callie Smith, Lucy Kovalova, Lea Jansen and even Parris Todd out there? That’s a spicy meatball! Bright has some consistency stuff to work out before she is this high in the rankings.
Lea Jansen at #12: We think this is too low for Jansen. Two PPAs ago, she made it to a Championship Sunday, beating Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith, who are both higher on Stone’s list. She has her inconsistencies, but the weapons are top notch for her. The results have dipped since the beginning of her partnership with Parenteau. Nevertheless, her ability to win at the highest level has get her higher than #12.
Parris Todd at #13: This is probably right where Parris should be right now, but how quickly is this going to change? Will it change after next weekend when Bright and Todd team up together for the PPA Championships? Slim called Bright a top 5 player by the end of the year but now it is feasible that both Todd and Bright are in that mix by the year end. At a minimum, Todd will almost certainly be in the top 10 when 2023 rolls around.
Leigh Waters at #15: We get it, it is hard to rank Leigh. #15 is simply too low for a player that literally forms part of the best female duo. You could make a case that all the women ahead of Leigh would also win with Anna Leigh but, frankly, we have not seen a number of them win at the highest level. You can’t completely discount what it takes to win tournament in, tournament out.
Anna Leigh Waters at #1: Come on, what else is there to say here? She’s the best. There is not a single female player in pickleball other than AL who could win titles with Leigh Waters as their partner. Enough said!
Lucy Kovalova at #6: After her recent run, this feels like the right spot for Lucy. Lucy has been able to avoid questions about the game passing her by, but those are real questions that should be asked now. As commendable as it is that she has stayed right near the top for all these years, her game is not evolving further and that may finally be causing her to fall behind. Relatively speaking, that is.
Simone Jardim at #8: This is the right spot for Simone. She has continued to play well since our last iteration of the rankings where we had her at #10. Her consistency is top of the line and she is going to win when she has good partners. She falls just outside of the elite players, but you want her on your side going into battle. She is a fighter.
Players in the Mix who Missed the Cut (in no particular order): Lindsey Newman, Meghan Sheehan-Dizon Bobbi Oshiro, Regina Franco, Maggie Brascia, Yana Grechkina, Cierra Gaytan-Leach, Sarah Ansboury, Lee Whitwell.
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