APP Tour Atlanta Metro Open – 5 Takeaways – Carr-Gate
We had more rain this past weekend, which caused some more issues with streaming and even a default result. There was pickleball that was played, including Ben Johns not winning 3 golds at an APP event. And there was definitely enough pickleball for some weekly takeaways.
1. Carr-Gate (Gritty) – The rain delays have not been kind to the pro pickleball tours recently. This past weekend in Atlanta actually featured a forfeit/default from Sarah Ansboury and Corrine Carr in the bronze medal match against Lea Jansen and Michelle Esquivel. I’ll let Carr explain her side of it with this Facebook post:
Ooph. That is some serious shade at Jansen and Esquivel. I know people might be waiting for a Jill Braverman take from NML but our understanding of the story is that it’s not as simple as a take the forfeit to get a free path to the gold match. Also, there’s only so much of an opinion one can have without being there and only figuring out what happened in pieces (Braverman’s thing was clear as day from video).
First off, Carr’s post gives no indication on how long she thought the rain delay was going to last or how far her hotel was from the courts. It seems when there are covered courts as an alternative, you want to be pretty careful about leaving the courts, especially if your hotel isn’t a few minutes away. Second, I’m immediately skeptical of someone going on social media and indirectly/directly calling out your opponents while giving a bit of a sob story about being soaked. I’m going to presume that other players who didn’t leave the venue were also wet from the rain. Finally, Carr gives no indication of total time between leaving the courts, finding out about the rain delay being over and eventually getting to the courts. What was her communication like with the tournament both in leaving the courts and when Stone’s car apparently broke down?
Her version sounds clear cut that Jansen and Esquivel screwed them over. However, I think that I would be somewhat (likely more than somewhat) pissed if I stayed at the cold/wet courts knowing matches could resume quicker while my opponent goes to dry off and then I’m waiting at the courts for an extended period of time to restart my match . Again, it sounds like there’s somewhat varying times between how much time there was between the match being called to restart and Carr arriving at the courts.
The other thing to remember in all of this is that both players in the Jansen/Esquivel partnership have to be cool with giving them the break. If either player is not totally on board, it’s not going to be good for the partnership.
That’s a lot of words for me to say that I’m not sure where either of us sit on this. I wrote in our random tourney thoughts that this situation is so fact dependent. There are a lot of factors that go into what is the “right” decision and, ultimately, you wish they could have just played. I think you have to try to get the match going and not default them right away for being late, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what happened. I see holes on both sides of this story so I’m not going to rip into Jansen/Esquivel for not insisting on playing when I can’t even figure out exactly what this situation is.
2. Zane’s Continued Resurgence (Slim) – This was Zane’s third straight mixed gold medal. He finished with a gold in mixed doubles, a silver in men’s singles and fourth place in men’s doubles. The mixed gold was particularly impressive as it was over the likes of Ben Johns and Jay Devilliers. He is starting to show, again, that he can become a consistent threat in all three events, but it will be interesting to watch him this fall to see if he can continue this consistency in all three events against higher end competition, as I feel like that is the next step for him.
3. Ben’s Slump (Gritty) – In honor of two weeks of NFL football, it’s obviously time for overreactions from limited results. Ben came away with a measly two golds and one bronze. The bronze coming in mixed with Lauren Straman, who was arguably the best female in the Atlanta draw. First time partnership with Ben cannot be easy for Stratman when you are expected to roll to gold. But they didn’t roll to gold. They lost to Koop and Navratil in 2, then to Jansen and Devilliers in 3. I would have put a good chunk of money on Ben and Lauren winning this tourney. Somewhere, Simone Jardim is secretly smiling.
This loss comes for Ben comes off a string of rare no gold medals. He lost at TOC to JW Johnson and Spencer Smith in singles, and then lost in mixed in Orlando twice with Simone not even reaching a podium there either. I speculated in the weekend random thoughts if the plethora of reasons it could be – boredom? Health? Teams figuring him out a bit? Pickleball talent improving? Just not playing well. Maybe the run just was not sustainable? He still looks like the far and away best player when he is fully engaged.
It’s not red alert for Ben Johns, but it is something to monitor as we move along in 2021.
4. TV Deals (Slim) – On Saturday, the Men’s and Women’s medal matches weren’t able to be streamed because they had to be moved undercover where there were not streaming capabilities, meaning pickleball fans weren’t able to watch the medal matches. These were matches that were set to be streamed on ESPN+, and I have to think that if the matches were not supposed to be streamed with ESPN+ someone would have at least been able to stream the matches on a phone or something giving pickleball fans whats the content that they want. It should be noted it is only these USA Pickleball National events that appear to be ESPN+ streamed for APP Tour tourneys.
My real questions is why pickleball organizations continue to push for TV deals (that aren’t really TV deals) that limit the ability of pickleball fans to get the content they want considering we are in the infancy stages of pickleball?
5. More (or less) Consistency (Slim) – After the Chicago APP stop, we were talking about Susannah Barr and her double gold medals. We were discussing how she was becoming a second tier women and potentially looking at more top partnerships. This week, Susannah had what has to qualify as disappointing results with a very surprising 0-2 with Rob Cassidy in mixed and 1-2 in women’s doubles with Lee Whitwell in women’s doubles. Susannah’s mixed doubles partner Rob Cassidy also has to have had, what qualifies as a disappointing weekend, as along with his 0-2 day with Susannah, he and Rob Nunnery, a team that has become a consistent podium presence on the APP Tour failed to make the podium in men’s doubles losing 15-2 to Zane and Altaf in the loser’s bracket. These results are a demonstration of how tough it is for the pros outside of the top few players to consistently put up top results, as heading into the weekend I think most people would have expected Cassidy and Barr to find a podium or two.
Fantasy Update: Gritty shouldn’t have let Slim get hot. That’s another win for Slim, 13-9. This was a weekend with a couple of bad picks for Gritty that cost him along with taking Jay in singles (did not play) and doubles with Pat Smith (replaced by Stone so the pick was void).
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
5 thoughts on “APP Tour Atlanta Metro Open – 5 Takeaways – Carr-Gate”
I think the reason we are finally seeing Ben and Simone not win everything has a lot to do with the mental game. Other players went into their matches against them thinking they were unbeatable. It only took one or two losses to shift the mentality that they are beatable. It’s only natural for Ben and Simone to have off days/tournaments where they aren’t at their best and now other players are capitalizing on that without the mental block they had before.
Why doesn’t Zane play in PPA tournaments? He also wasn’t at TOC. Does he have a contract with the APP that restricts him from playing other tournaments? I think the PPA contracts only allow their players to participate in 7 non-PPA tournaments.
Interesting thoughts Denise. Not really something we had considered at all!
Zane does play some PPA tourneys but it seems Zane is picking and choosing his spots. He has a pretty busy camp schedule as well and that’s where these players really make their money. He does not have a contract with APP as they don’t do that currently with players
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Our pros don’t get paid if this sport doesn’t start appearing more on TV. Pay $5.99 for an ESPN+ package to watch the game.
There is an argument to be made that money spent to put pb on TV could be better spent on going into prize pools and pros would be earning more money right now