Irina’s Retirement (no, not that kind of Retirement)
Authored by Gritty
So I wasn’t going to write about this but here we are. I had intended to include something about Irina Tereschenko’s singles retirement from Nationals in our takeaways as we did dedicate a section to her. We had a couple of people message us privately wondering why we didn’t bring up Irina’s singles retirement. Amidst all the Zane writing, I simply forgot.
If you’re not aware of what happened, Irina was playing Jillian Braverman in the bronze medal match in singles. Irina was down a game and 9-7 when she called a ball out on the far sideline that was overturned by the referee to make the score 10-7 for Braverman. Tereschenko then simply walks to the net and retires from the match. Game over. Braverman to the gold medal match. Here is the video from the live camera with no sound:
There was some other stuff that went on throughout the match that may have culminated in the premature retirement. Apparently, Tereschenko attempted to get a rain delay in game one when she was down 2-9. The rain became more of an issue after game 1 with Braverman using a towel to clean the lines herself. There was also a “fall and stretch routine” as described by Glenn Lucey in game 1 from Braverman.
The reason why I decided to write about this so long after the fact is because of the Freestyle Boys super blasé reaction to this situation on their latest podcast (24:53 time stamp for reference). After they described the incident, Ben responded, maybe somewhat in jest, with “I like it. Good stuff Irina…I respect that” and then they proceeded to joke that the match doesn’t count as a rated match on DUPR because it was a retirement.
Ben’s reaction shouldn’t have pissed me off, but it did. It even bothers me listening to the podcast again while I’m writing this. I know he’s good friends with Irina and they all played on the same MLP team together. However, this was downright unprofessional and juvenile of Irina. I’m not asking that they go after her but at least don’t encourage it even if it was jokingly. Not to mention how wild it is from a competitive standpoint to quit at the end of a very close match to go to gold because you’re upset at a line call.
I know all of this shouldn’t bother me but basically laugh off what Irina did as if there’s nothing wrong with it, I’m at a loss. This isn’t acceptable behavior.
Irina’s brand as the funny, goofy pro player is a brand that is really wearing thin on me. Outside of Matt Wright, I’d be curious if the pros see anyone else out there who tries to work the referees as much as Irina does. However, the everything streamed, mic’d up world that is pickleball now is not being as kind to her persona these days.
I expect better of any competitor in Irina’s shoes and her dealing with the situation about as well as a teenager leaving an online FIFA game mid-match should not go unnoticed.
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
27 thoughts on “Irina’s Retirement (no, not that kind of Retirement)”
Couple of thoughts: 1) I wonder what is up between those two. Seemed like water and oil from the very 0-0-2 start. 2) I can’t find video *with sound* and instead have to rely on others’ descriptions of all the antics from both of the women. Is that a coincidence? 3) Braverman’s gesticulations and performative theater looked annoying and probably sounded annoying, too. But the fact that Tereschenko couldn’t handle the clown heat and got outta the kitchen speaks less well of her than the other drama queen.
There is no video publicly available with sound. This is their live stream cam while match was broadcast on ESPN + with sound
I too recently listened to the latest freestyle podcast, I enjoy every episode. I did think their take on the Irina thing was interesting, as it seemed to me they were proud of Irina for ‘sticking it to the ref’. Giving up and taking a loss is an interesting way to ‘stick it to him’ as I doubt the ref gives a crap. Even though it was lighthearted there was a ‘greater than thou’ vibe throughout the podcast in regards to refs and tournaments which I can understand being irking to some.
My younger brother-in-law met Irina at a junior PPA event and said Irina was super nice and funny, so I don’t want to be too hard on her, but some of her recent actions in moments of frustration have been less than professional. (Asking ref in frustration if she needs to buy him lunch)
We enjoy every episode too. I saw someone in the comments note Irina is lighthearted when things are going well but not so much when they are not going well, which I agree with. And yes the Byron thing at MLP was not needed at all
No lunch for that ref for not trusting in the authenticity of Tereschenkos prompt and correct call. Shame on that ref! 👍
I have mixed feelings on this one. Without the full context and sound, it’s tough for me to pass judgment on Irina for what she did. I do think as a competitor you should fight to the very end regardless of the circumstances (barring an injury that prevents you from finishing). My sense is that last line call was the final straw for Irina, as she was a foot away from the ball when she called it out and it looks like the ref was on the other side of the court. I don’t agree with quitting if that was the case, but I can understand the frustration and getting caught up in the moment.
That being said, there appears to be a trend with Braverman being involved in these controversies. Her theatrics and trying to get the crowd on their feet after a line call overrule is uncalled for and I’m sure escalated the situation. I get that she’s not to blame for Irina’s retirement and everyone is responsible for their own behavior, but you do have to ask yourself why Braverman seems to be the constant in these situations.
Reputation matters and it seems like hers is tarnished in the pro pickleball circle.
This is a very reasoned comment and I think a lot makes sense. Braverman appears to irk her competitors more so than most
The David/Braverman issue struck me as more to do with cliquishness within the sport than any real wrongs by Braverman. David is “so sweet” and well-liked, therefore she should be able to take as long as she wanted in time outs, was the reasoning!
And I get the same vibe here. The pros complain constantly that the refs are too conservative in over-ruling line calls — so when one actually does it here, we can probably trust it more than endless analysis of grainy video from a bad angle — but when Irina, who is well-liked and has businesses with some of the top pros, pitches a fit, it’s a “controversy involving Braverman”.
I believe there are many players (of all levels) stepping back from tournament play because of the poor sportsmanship/behavior of too many. It’s just not worth it.
Was it out? That is a tough angle to override her call. I’d be pissed too…
I’d be pissed too. Just not to the point of quitting
i have an observation about jb. i am sure everybody remembers that she served before her opponent was back from a timeout, winning a point outright. A perfectly legal thing to do btw. but she took some heat for doing that. Her statement was she plays by the rules.
In one of her singles matches at nationals, versus ALW I believe, she was serving and lost control of the ball after the score was called by ref. She took her time retrieving the ball from near the net, and once she did, she then took even more time serving it. She delayed too much though, and she was called for a 10s time delay and forfeit of the serve. I believe if she simply would have asked the ref what the score was the count would have reset.
Of course she was upset at the call and asked the ref why she was called for that when she clearly lost control of the ball by accident, and had to retrieve it. After the next timeout you could see she was still deeply engaged with the ref, wondering why she wasn’t given some “slack”…
I think she’s trying to build a brand as a fiery jimmy connors type player who wants to stir things up on court. All attention is good attention I suppose.
as for IT, she can do no wrong in the eyes of the freestyle boys. I see her as a really fun personality when things are going her direction, and off court as well, but not so fun and delightful when they aren’t.
You are spot on about Irina. And Braverman is who she is and will expect more controversy to follow her. But we’ll see. Talented player
As an avid live stream watcher there pretty much isn’t a pro pickleball player that I’m not a fan of…except Irina. There is rarely a match where she doesn’t complain about something to the refs. Either the opponents are serving too quickly, the ref is calling the score too quickly, fans are yelling during points, the other team’s partner communication is bothering her, it goes on and on. It’s hard to root for someone who is always complaining!
I too was surprised by The freestyle boy’s take on “the retirement”. I get that she is their friend and they think she is funny, but I don’t get why they would publicly state that they “ respect” or “like” such an unprofessional and unsportsmanlike action.
Agree with all of this
This blog is probably the only one I read consistently. But everytime I read them, it is being tainted by the fact that you don’t reveal your identity. It is puzzling and starting to impact my desire to keep reading; which I would like to do.
But Don, what difference does it make of you knew them? Unless they are pros, what difference would knowing the amateur identity make? And in the gatekeeper world that is Pickleball, if they were trying to take steps towards the Pro Level, they’d be crazy to let on to who they are.
Agreed here. If the anonymity is too much for someone to get over, that is unfortunate but we understand too
I think the Freestyle Boys take on this match retirement might say more about how they view JB (which has been a theme on more than one episode) than IT. Without seeing or hearing the whole match, you’re really just judging the last minute, which might have just been the last straw.
Say what you want either way…but walking around drying your opponent’s lines with a towel is pretty much the definition of showing someone up. JB did this in an earlier match too when her opponent (who was winning) requested a delay when it started to rain.
Everyone has a brand…Pickleball needs personalities, and it really needs rivalries. Rivalry creates engagement and engagement leads to TV revenue.
It’s a good point and maybe could have been acknowledged further in the post. Ppl really don’t like Braverman it seems. And her actions were unnecessary here too
Gritty, I have been reading your comments about Irina since you started this blog, and it is obvious to me that you have a thing about her. In other words, I would venture to say you don’t like her. It’s not as though you criticize a particular incident. Rather, you criticize almost everything she says and does. So now I pretty much discount your opinions when it comes to Irina. Jillian’s gamesmanship is much more offensive to me. And plenty of other players behave poorly (remember the paddle-throwing tantrum of young Ms. Waters?).
Her on court behavior I am definitely not a fan of but neither is Jillian’s. It’s a fair point on other players and AL has proven to be a bit whiny at times (although she is young). But the thing for Irina is it is not picking and choosing singular incidents rather it’s constant with her that I don’t think is good. Braverman, I agree, is not good either but Tereschenko’s gamesmanship is better disguised by her, which in some ways is more offensive in my view
I too have mixed feelings about this match; however, although Irina can be a complainer, I prefer that to Jillian’s constant antics. I’m sure she believes her theatrics and the melodrama that accompanies her are good self marketing tools, but I think it denigrates the sport and is the lazy way to make a name for herself.
But that’s just my opinion, and although I think it’s a good one, it’s not going to be everyone’s.
It seems to be a theme that people prefer whatever Irina does to Jillian Braverman. Quite interesting
It is. But I don’t think it’s an issue of Jill vs Irina. It’s probably an issue of Jillian vs anyone. I’ll be interested to see if that changes in time.
This seems to be an ongoing thing and it’s likely going to skew more that direction
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