Singles Hierarchy (Gritty) – We have spent quite a bit of space in our brief NML history writing about Tyson McGuffin’s singles game. While McGuffin somehow ended up coming back to win gold after getting rolled by Zane Navratil on the winner’s side of the draw last Thursday, the question marks on his place in the singles world remain. He lost to Jay Devilliers at the PPA Orange County two weeks ago and then follows it up with an incredibly tight, 3-game match to Devilliers that could have gone either way. He took down Navratil in 2 games in the gold but barely pulled it out in the game to 15 over Navratil, winning 17-15. You can never knock Tyson’s fight. The dude never ever gives up.
Nevertheless, the 2nd tier of singles in pickleball consists of these 3 folks but I think at this point it’s a free for all as to what the ranking of 2-3-4 is. That’s not a good thing for McGuffin and I don’t think any reasonable person could deny that he is not the clear #2 in singles now. We won’t go over the problem with Tyson’s lack of development in his singles game again, but it is quite remarkable that he can continue to stay so competitive in spite of the development. It’s a very tenuous hold at the top for Tyson right now and the question seems to be when, not if, McGuffin is knocked down another peg on this totem pole.
More Braverman (Gritty) – There was more controversy with Braverman again on the weekend. This time it was line calls in the winners bracket final against Lea Jansen. I had some strong thoughts on Braverman 2 weeks ago and I don’t want to spend a ton of time on this. You can go to the Glenn Lucey Facebook post for what happened. What I will say is that Jansen was 100% right that Braverman knows the ref is not going to overturn that first call and Braverman makes that call knowing that. On the flip side, it appears Jansen did a self make-up call against Braverman in the next game, which isn’t cool either. If you’re going loudly call the opposing player out for their (likely) intentionally bad line call, you can’t do the same thing the next time you get the opportunity because you are pissed off.
I’ll also note to Braverman that it was good of her to intentionally fault to give the ball back to Jansen in the gold match after some crowd noise. So kudos to her. Hopefully 2 weeks ago was a lesson learned even though the bad call at 10-9 in game 1 of the first match suggests otherwise. But it’s also a move that is done because she knows lots of eyes are on her and she happily shows the clip on her post-tourney Facebook post. Personally, I’ll need to see more evidence of this kind of sportsmanlike behavior before I’m less skeptical.
Small Draws, Big Prize Money (Slim) – The tournament featured relatively few teams in most pro brackets, which was surprising, given that it had a legitimate $65K prize pool. That is still quite significant in pickleball. It seems that a lot of this was due to a lack of advertising by USA Pickleball about the tournament and the prize money, as the Freestyle Boys discussed on their last podcast. It strikes me as odd that USA Pickleball would not have broadcast this more widely to try to attract as much talent as possible to the tournament. If you are going to put that much money into a pro prize pool, don’t you want to attract as much talent as possible? I am also curious about what USA Pickleball’s plans are going forward for these Pro / Golden Ticket tournaments? I also wonder if some of the pros have regrets about signing appearance agreements with other pro tours that limit their ability to play in other tournaments when events like this are popping up?
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