PPA Tour Masters and APP Tour Punta Gorda – 5 Takeaways – Chalk Championship Sundays

📸 @ppatour

It was a rainy start to 2023 as we had rain delays wreak havoc on the brackets in both Florida and California over the weekend. Both tours found a way to get their rain delayed events completed and we had a lot more pro pickleball once again to kick off the year. It is always fun to see a bunch of new partnerships get going as well as seeing more best on best than we have in the past. There were lots of storylines to follow and we have five of the most interesting things that stood out to us in our takeaways from the weekend. 

1. Chalk Championship Sundays (Gritty) – For those of you who may be unaware, chalk is a sports gambling term for the favorite. When we say something went chalk, it means that the favorite won or that things went as expected. We have often discussed the PPA as being a place where the favorites win. While the relative takeover of the PPA in pro pickleball has brought most of the top talent to one tour, the first tournament of 2023 brought us some familiar storylines from a championship perspective.

In the 5 pro events, all the favorites won. Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns won in singles. The Johns brothers took the gold in men’s doubles. Anna Leigh and Anna Bright dominated the women’s bracket. Anna Leigh and Ben won yet another mixed gold title, and their triple crowns came along with it. 

In 2022, we were very excited at the limited opportunities we had to see all of the top talent at one event. There’s a lot of guesswork that goes into seeing how players stack up against one another when we do not see them actually compete together. As quickly as the sport is changing with all the new talent that is entering the sport, there has been a sense that there could be more parity in 2023 when it comes to the players at the top of the mountain. However, the first event of 2023 did not give us any indication that there is any big change coming to the “old” guard of pickleball right away. 

2022 saw the birth of a new rivalry between the Johns brothers and Riley Newman/Matt Wright .As expected, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier have brought a third team to the men’s doubles fold, and they almost up-ended the top seeds on Sunday as they were up 9-6 in game 2 on the John’s brothers after taking game 1. The John’s brothers pulled through, but it is hard to see what teams are going to find a way past any of these three teams with any regularity in 2023. Maybe AJ/Dekel? Maybe a team or a player can make a big leap that we have not seen yet? The men’s doubles leap is the hardest one to make for new players and there is no one out there right now in my eyes that is clearly a team ready to contend for gold medals, unless Jack Sock starts playing pro pickleball full-time. 

In singles, Ben Johns still is a cut above the rest. After Federico Staksrud got out to a 4-0 lead early, Ben dominated the rest of the way. Singles appears to be the most logical first place for Ben to cede his dominance, but it has not happened yet. These big singles draws will continue to be stacked and more players that we have not yet heard of will come into the mix. At this point, I don’t know how I can bet against Ben until he gets tired, bored or some combination of those two. 

Then there is Anna Leigh Waters. It will be fun to see if Riley/Anna Bright can figure something out, but they may take some time to gel in mixed. Outside of that, what is there to stop Anna Leigh in mixed or women’s doubles? I think tryouts for Anna Bright should be over as they already look to be too much for the rest of the field. Their partnership also takes Bright out of the mix from a competition standpoint. Unlike in men’s, Etta Wright is a player who conceivably has the ability to make a run for gold’s at some point this year. Maybe a partnership with Jessie Irvine? 

On the singles side, we’ll see if Parris Todd comes back around and ups her game another level, but we still have not seen anyone new that has a clear path to taking down Anna Leigh. I have to think that someone will be there and may not take that long as we saw with Parris last year. However, as it stands right now, there’s no one on the radar that is a real threat to making Anna Leigh work in singles. 

The influx of more top tennis players should be a threat to the top teams in all 5 draws. It has to happen soon, doesn’t it? For now, though, we have more favorites winning to start 2023 on the PPA. We’ll have to see if that changes any time soon. 

2. Stream Wars Continued (Slim) – When it comes to free pickleball content, the topic of streaming can be a contentious one. We had some surprises this weekend from both tours. The APP did not stream it’s singles or mixed doubles days, which was disappointing. It was made abundantly clear to viewers prior to the tournament that there would only be limited streaming and it is unclear if there will be limited streaming going forward. This seems to be yet another cutback by the APP, this time in an area where they once previously held a large edge of streaming content.

While we understand that a full production set up, and commentators etc. can be quite costly, I do wonder why they can’t simply put up a baseline camera on the center court and let it stream all day. You don’t even necessarily need a scoreboard monitor, but something to allow viewers to watch the center court action from the day. In my opinion, a baseline streaming camera would be a significantly better option than not having any streamed content at all for those days. We also have to wonder if the pros playing the APPs were aware that the first two days were not going to be streamed, further lowering their exposure to fans.

The PPA, on the other hand, seems to be trying to improve it’s streaming and the amount of streaming it is putting out. Although they had some connection issues throughout the weekend, they tried to stream two courts for most of the tournament. Their second court simply had a couple of camera angles with a scoreboard being updated, but no announcers.

It does not take much to please us. I like the approach of a bare bones second court streaming. You could take this further and do this on multiple courts, and it would allow more of their signed pros to be featured. USAP Nationals had 3 streaming courts and it was nice to be able to pick and choose matches. Commentators are not always necessary, especially when the alternative is that there will be no content at all.

Hopefully the PPA continues to try and provide more streaming content this year, especially with their brackets being deeper than ever this year. I also understand that the PPA is really trying to push their stars, but I wish in the early rounds they would try to feature some of the more interesting matchups. I can’t be the only one who gets tired of seeing Ben and Collin beat up on two no-names early in the day. This is not the same as seeing prime Federer or Djokovic smoke a first-round qualifier because we’re almost certainly going to see Ben later in the day.

The PPA had its own communication issues in the tournament as well. The tours, in general, continue to have room to improve on letting fans know where and when they can watch. It was confusing on Sunday to go in between YouTube/Tennis Channel and Fox Sports 1.

Moreover, both tours have to be able to do better when it comes to rain delay updates. Even if the update is no update, put something out on your social media. Anything. It takes two minutes. Please and thank you.

📸 @christaviktoria

3. Sam Querrey’s Pro Debut (Gritty) – One of the big headlines this weekend was Sam Querrey and his tiny violin. The former tennis star officially made his pro pickleball debut, which was about what I would have expected. Underwhelming, but not embarrassing. 

The PPA started off the tournament by putting Sam Querrey on center court against the 11 seed, Alex Neumann, where he proceeded to lose 11-3, 11-3. In mixed with Christa Gecheva, Querrey was relegated to being a qualifier and lost his first qualifying match and lost in 3 games to Moo Venkatesan and Jena Klett. Gecheva and Querrey actually worked their way through to “win” the qualifier backdraw. The men’s day was Querrey’s best showing as he and Wes Burrows lost in 3 games to Christian Alshon and Spencer Smith, won their first loser’s match 17-15 and then the rest of the day got rained out. 

While Querrey has started leaning into the criticism with respect to being drafted 1st overall in the Challenger division for MLP, it’s apparent to me that Querrey is about what we thought he is after the PPA’s Bubly Team Championships. And that is, a very talented tennis player who has a ways to go in his quest to be a higher end pro pickleball player. 

When Querrey went on Tyson McGuffin’s podcast and said he thought he could be a top 10 player after 3 months in 2023, we did not think he was crazy. Although we had not seen him play pickleball, his pedigree and the fact he had played some pickleball made it feel that was not completely unrealistic if he was dedicated to the game. It also makes sense that a guy who is an exponentially better tennis player than literally every failed tennis player trying to make a run at being a pro could possibly come in and dominate pro pickleball.

However, it became clear after the PPA’s team event in Las Vegas that Querrey would need more time. He did not look like an elite pickleball player. What also seems clear is that the team event gave Querrey an inflated sense of belonging. His appearance on the Inside Major League Pickleball’ podcast was interesting in a number of respects, including that his 12-10, 11-4 loss with Jack Sock against Ben Johns and Matt Wright made him feel pretty good about where his game was at. Although I think Ben and Matt were playing 100% or close to it, I also think Sam failed to realize how much of that performance has to be attributed to Jack Sock and if Ben/Matt wanted to throw Sam 90% of the balls, it would have gone a different way most likely.

What Sam’s appearance on the Inside MLP podcast also revealed to me is that he does not understand why people are mad he got drafted #1 overall in Challenger. People are not mad because he hasn’t paid his dues, so to speak. It’s because he is undeserving as a player. You can bet that a far smaller percentage of pros and fans would have taken issue with Jack Sock going #1. People watched that PPA team event and saw that Querrey’s level isn’t there yet. 

I recognize that it’s hard for Querrey to understand this whole pickleball thing. It legitimately must be difficult to comprehend not immediately being better than all these people you are far superior at in tennis, especially when he sees right in front of him how good guys like Wes Burrows can be. If I were in his shoes, it would probably be impossible not to think it should be exponentially easier than these seemingly lesser talents.  

Although I think there is a factor that Querrey’s tennis game does not translate as well to pickleball as Jack Sock’s, I think a bigger factor of Querrey’s game not being where it needs to be right now is the amount he has played. Most people do not realize that Jack Sock sounds like he has been playing a lot of pickleball over the past couple of years. Sock is addicted. Querrey is not. Even though Sock has not ever played a tournament either, he’s playing pickleball because he loves it.

During his Inside MLP podcast appearance, Querrey said his interest in pro pickleball started at the Newport MLP event last year. I am now paraphrasing but the general sentiment for me was that it was in Newport when it dawned on him he could make money playing pickleball. It’s evident to me that Querrey is not obsessed with pickleball. He’s not grinding to get better. He hasn’t been waiting for his pro tennis career to end so he could try pro pickleball. Pickleball is an opportunity for him to still make money playing a sport.

Querrey indirectly walked by his comments about top 10 in 3 months on the Inside MLP podcast, instead saying that he thinks he can be top 10 in 6 to 8 months if he was playing a full schedule. But of course, Querrey is not going to be playing a full schedule. He has about 5 tournaments lined up for the year plus the MLP events. Despite his social media posts, in my view, his new timeline for top 10 was an admission that he’s not where he thought he would be in the sport right away. 

Noah Rubin and Allie Kiick, two far less accomplished former professional tennis players than Querrey, made their much quieter pro pickleball debut this past weekend in Punta Gorda. They both had fine singles debuts, but went 0-2 in pro mixed. They are going about pro pickleball the way you would expect, and no one cares that they did not get a win in mixed together. 

Querrey did not look terrible against Alex Neumann in singles. I don’t expect he will get creamed playing 4 rally points at a time in a Dreambreaker. He looked improved already in men’s doubles since the Bubly team event and was more than passable against two upper end Challenger players in Spencer Smith and Christian Alshon. Querrey seems to be sitting heavy on his forehand for a lot of counters, but he sure can hit the crap out of a high ball on his forehand when it’s there. Though his performance was fine enough on the weekend, fine enough is not what a Challenger number 1 overall pick is meant to be.

What should we really have expected though? Querrey said he practiced singles for the first time about a week before the tournament. He said he had not practiced any mixed doubles until his first MLP team practice. He’s also half-joked podcast that he’s going to be playing the mixed female role in men’s doubles for MLP. DC is fortunate that Stefan Auvergne fell to them as they may be able to stay competitive in men’s matches. 

Still, what is becoming more apparent in pro pickleball is that tennis skills alone cannot allow even a top tennis player like Querrey to jump in right away, unless they have already been getting a steady diet of high level pickleball play. Anna Bright came out firing in her first pro tournament in Punta Gorda last February, but she had been playing tournaments as well as getting regular, high level pickleball play for a few months before that event. It’s not enough to hit the ball around with Doug Ellin and Wes Burrows every once in a while, for a few years and expect to roll most of the competition.

The issue that Querrey is facing is that he wants to jump the line. He has put himself in more challenging situations than what is necessary. He submitted his name for the MLP draft before anyone would ever see him play a pro tournament. He sent an email to all the MLP owners pleading his case for why he should be drafted in the Premier division. He’s getting a free pass into main draws when he’d probably be better served getting as many matches in as possible – his backdraw qualifier run was undoubtedly good real live match experience before MLP. 

The funny thing about this situation as I alluded to earlier is that none of this would be a problem if we switched Sam Querrey out for Jack Sock. It wouldn’t be a problem because fans and pros would agree that Sock is deserving. People do not like seeing others get what they don’t feel they deserve without paying their dues. One tournament and one MLP event will be too early to judge the Querrey selection as presumably his selection was one based on potential not what he can do right away. 

I’ll be curious how long Querrey ends up doing this pickleball thing for. I think there’s no question he can be very good if he wants to. Not surprisingly, he’s starting to figure things out. This is only week 1 and there’s a lot of room for him to get better. However, if he’s not in love with the game and hell bent on being as good as he can be, it’s going to be a tough road for him to be what he is saying publicly he can be.   

4. Vivienne David Once Again (Slim) – In what was possibly the deepest mixed field we have seen to date, Thomas Wilson and Vivienne David played a number of very entertaining matches enroute to a very well earned bronze medal. Their impressive run included wins over Jay Devilliers/Callie Smith (who they beat twice), Matt Wright/Lucy Kovalova and Tyson McGuffin/Catherine Parenteau. This is not the first time we have written about this pair, but this was further confirmation that the duo is right up there as an elite mixed pairing.

Even though they had won a couple gold medals towards the end of last year on the APP tour, sometimes you need to show it against the best to make sure everyone is aware.

Vivienne continues to demonstrate she is one of the best mixed doubles female players out there right now. We will be monitoring closely how Vivienne does at MLP with Dekel Bar, who she had limited success with over an extended run in the first half of 2022. The number one red flag for Dekel’s lack of mixed success has to be his inability to get consistent results with Vivienne David.

Wilson has also proved himself to be a formidable mixed player over the past year, and you can’t help but think that Thomas was a steal in the MLP draft at the 44th pick. His continued health issues, though, continue to scare pickleball fans, and even Vivienne apparently. We trust that Thomas is on top of everything (his wife is also a Nurse Practitioner), but it is not hard to get scared when you see an athlete grabbing their chest.

Between her great defence, large backhand counters, endless positivity, and constant smile, it is easy to why Vivienne David is a fan favorite. For a lot of last year, she was largely overlooked, probably due to some peculiar partnership choices (the Dekel partnership does not fall into the peculiar category as the choice made sense), but this year she seems to have found some better fits in terms of partnerships. It will be very interesting to see what kind of results she can pile up this year if she keeps partnering with the likes of Thomas Wilson and Jorja Johnson, who both fit with Vivienne in terms of playing style and personality.

5. Is Andreas Siljestrom the Future of Pickleball? (Gritty)  – Of all the things that happened this weekend, one of the most fascinating things that I saw was Andreas Siljestrom playing pickleball. We have seen the name in pro draws and he was on our board of top 48 Challenger players to be drafted simply because of his pedigree. However, I had never seen the man play pickleball. Siljestrom is a former pro tennis player who reached #57 in the world in doubles. That’s not what makes him intriguing as a player though. What makes him different is that he is 6 foot 9. 

Siljestrom has now played a handful of pro events and, in Punta Gorda, he won a silver medal with Joey Farias in men’s doubles. As a result, Siljestrom was on the stream, and we got to see him with our own eyes. And what a sight to behold. 

Andreas undoubtedly has some skills, as would be expected. His movement, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. He does not move athletically around the court. Siljestrom is a little bit older, but I have to imagine his limited mobility has to be what prevented him from being a higher-level tennis player at that height. He has quick hands but getting low is not the easiest for the big man. 

Siljestrom is a captivating test case in pro pickleball. There is a definite advantage to height in pickleball but is there a breaking point for players being too tall? Soccer is a wildly different sport to pickleball, except for the fact that there is a heavy involvement of having to complete tasks at the ground level. There are few very successful tall soccer players and I have wondered whether there is some correlation between the two sports in that regard. 

I said to Slim that Siljestrom looked like the Boban Marjanovich of pro pickleball. If anyone has ever watched Boban play basketball, he’s got soft hands, but his movement is problematic at the NBA level. As much as I am intrigued by Siljestrom, I don’t watch him and think this dude is going to take over the sport.

Siljestrom is still new to the game and getting used to higher level pickleball, but it was apparent that more aggressive rolls were giving him trouble. He can reach in to take away a lot of space in the kitchen but he’s not able to do that on every ball. His difficulty moving side to side results in a lack of patience and creates for some weird rallies with his court coverage and solid hands. There are going to be smoother moving athletes than Siljestrom at a similar height, like a John Isner, so there is more than enough reason to believe guys at that height can be very successful. I mean, Siljestrom himself already looked more than capable on Saturday.

MLP should be fun with Siljestrom. He has not played any mixed doubles to date and I am 100% going to be tuning in to see what he looks like trying to navigate that side of the game. Siljestrom will play men’s with Wes Burrows.   

I tend to think there may be a breaking point for the optimal height of players in pro pickleball. It may be something in that 6 foot 3 to 6 foot 5 range is optimal. That is purely a guess, though. Although we may have a player or two in the mold of Siljestrom at the top of pro pickleball in the future, I have my doubts that an army of guys over 6 foot 5 is the future of professional pickleball. 

Fantasy Update: It was a split week. Slim dominated the APP with a 19-9 win and Gritty got the PPA win at 16-12 – no bronze matches were played in doubles at the PPA so we missed a couple of points there. The APP results were notable from a real life and fantasy perspective as we saw that the two teams we had as clear #2 seeds in men’s and women’s failed to get silver medals. Alix Truong and Megan Fudge had a big weekend together in women’s doubles, and we’ll have to see if either of those players become potential Premier options for season 2 in 2023. They beat Oshiro/Barr in 3 games, and they took 2 straight games from Todd/Jardim before losing the game to 15. Truong just turned 18 years old, and we see how these younger players may have more age-related upside than we may realize. Fudge is a grinder and there’s something to be said for someone who works harder than just about everyone out there on and off the court. Unfortunately for Truong, she is on that horribly constructed Miami team and sometimes results can really affect how players are viewed. 

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too!

28 thoughts on “PPA Tour Masters and APP Tour Punta Gorda – 5 Takeaways – Chalk Championship Sundays

  • January 16, 2023 at 7:44 pm
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    Did any senior pro results catch your eyes?

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:54 pm
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      Not this weekend. We’ll see what the PPA and APP stuff means for senior pro draws. Dayne and Altaf won the PPA, but we’ll have to see when those teams all go up against one another. Some big draws in California though.

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  • January 16, 2023 at 7:58 pm
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    The most interesting match I saw on Sunday was Dylan and JW vs Johns. And that was only on Sunday due to rain. So if Championship Sunday continues to have the same faces, I think fans who were already bored of them in 2022 will not be tuning in to watch in 2023.

    The streaming schedule for Sunday was incredibly hard to find and follow and YT may also have been messed up. PPA seemed to constantly start new streams on YT so you had to hunt for what was live all the time. And sometimes it said live but was a repeat. Very discouraging to have to work that hard to find matches. If it develops into a pattern, I will not be watching on Sunday.

    Having said all that, I am anxious to see AB/Riley take on AL/Ben.

    I noted a ton of new paddles being used. I missed that Yates was playing with a Volair. I guess Paddletek’s approval is taking longer than Jolla’s for some reason. Ben didn’t have any problem.

    I also noted how much faster Dylan is with not only his hands but his quickness in body/legs. His physical training has paid off.

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:56 pm
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      Definitely the most interesting match. Dylan lost a speed up with the Johns serving in game 2 at 7-9 and that seemed to turn things off on their aggressiveness. They need to find a way to keep that for an entire match as they have the hands advantage against the Johns. Dylan looked very good most of the match though. Kept Ben on his toes with his speedups for most of the first two games.

      The streaming schedule was definitely weird.

      Lots of new paddles out there for sure. Kyle has said he’s simply waiting on Paddletek approval so that should come shortly.

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  • January 16, 2023 at 8:13 pm
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    I hold no punches. I was very disappointed with the PPA Coverage this weekend.
    First off… The ALL WHITE outfits was absolutely STUPID! Hoity Toity Bull Crap. It made it very hard to differenciate the teams from each other. And with the 2 cameras set up on opposite sides.. Every time they switched cameras, the teams were on the opposite side of the screen. More BullCrap.
    We were told by the announcers many times that the finals would be on FOX at 5 pm PST. Come to find out, they were not on FOX (a free over air network) but on Fox Sports 1, A cable only premium channel. I still haven’t been able to see AL&AB win the finals women’s doubles. As well as the other Gold medal stuff. Why aren’t the FS1 matches now available to see on Youtube? More BullCrap!

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:56 pm
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      They need to be clearer about where stuff can be found and not dodge the fact that a lot of this stuff is not on the big networks. Most of the stuff will be on cable only premium type channels if it is not on YouTube.

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  • January 16, 2023 at 8:14 pm
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    P.S. No one but you even cares about Querrey.

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:57 pm
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      Haha! We do so you’re going to hear more about Querrey over the next little while.

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      • January 17, 2023 at 1:39 pm
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        I watched his match after I posted that snide comment. However, my perspective still stands. Btw.. Where did Alshon come from? I just saw him beat “Mr. Illegal serve and footwork guy”. He looked GREAT!

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        • January 17, 2023 at 3:04 pm
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          Fair enough on Querrey.

          We began hearing Alshon’s name last year before he even played a tournament. Ton of talent. D1 pedigree but ended up later at a D3 school where he dominated. Chose not to play his final year of tennis to pursue pro pickleball. Lots of talent.

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  • January 16, 2023 at 8:56 pm
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    Thank you for your time and posting. It’s not that the John’s brothers pulled through, it was and always is, when they are losing, Ben dominates the court and basically pushes his brother out of the way. But a win is a win.

    The entire APP stream was a disappointment. Poor camera angles and posted at 720P, so during the entire weekend, everything was never in focus. It really wasn’t worth watching. I’ve got to give it to the PPA on video quality this time, nice job. But their announcers; Morgan and Camryn never stopped talking, Camryn especially. Flemming is just as chatty. A match only needs one announcer. IMO, it ruins the viewers’ experience.

    I was watching a replay today of Tyson McGuffin / Christian Alshon’s match (PPA Hyundai Masters). IMO, Alshon is one to keep an eye on. He beat Tyson two out of three. What was interesting, as many think, Tyson’s serves to be illegal. But not for what people are saying (even though that’s true too). Almost every serve Tyson served when he was standing near the center line was illegal. At the contact of the ball, his foot was across the center line, most of the time, very obvious. No matter what other refs say, for me, PPA refs are influenced to not speak up on PPA contracted players. But, JMO. 🙂 Thank you again for your time.

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:57 pm
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      The APP stream was a disappointment for sure.

      We’ll have to look at the center line thing. That’s interesting to note.

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  • January 17, 2023 at 3:55 am
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    The men’s doubles field was a big improvement over the last year.

    Tyson and Iggy are a fun team to watch with a lot of potential. JW and Dylan clearly have what it takes to win it all any given week and of course Matt and Riley, (when they are on as they were in game two of the finals), can be unbeatable.

    We knew the top teams in the PPA were superior to anything in the APP, so we shouldn’t be surprised about the chalk results early in the season. The choicest morsels for viewing will not be in the finals necessarily, but on the way there, which is why I agree with you that an increase in the number of cameras/ streaming options is so important .

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    • January 17, 2023 at 12:59 pm
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      There are a lot of fun teams to watch. Jay and DJ also had a solid little run, but we didn’t get to see how a backdraw played out, which would have been good for a first tournament.

      You are right and don’t think we are surprised by the chalk early results. The way there is the most interesting for the time being and more cameras to see those players would be fantastic, especially with the MLP wrinkle to everything now in Premier and Challenger. More important that we see more players regularly.

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      • January 17, 2023 at 7:05 pm
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        You mentioned Jay, how many bronzes does he have to not win before he forfeits your title of bronze stallion?
        Similarly, how many bronzes does Dylan, or anyone, have to win in order to claim that title? Asking for a friend… 😉

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        • January 23, 2023 at 7:15 pm
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          Hahahaha! He might have to not win a few more. We enjoy the nickname as a joke more than anything. Someone will have to take the crown. You can’t be winning gold medals if you want the title of bronze stallion. It is not a nickname we throw around lightly haha!

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  • January 17, 2023 at 4:52 am
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    I think Sljestrom has a future as a great right side men’s doubles player. Sljestrom can neutralize, what, like, 30% of the court on reach alone if he covers that right sideline? Pair him with someone who has high end mobility and creativity (side note: rumor has it Farias was definitely not at 100% on Sunday), and it could be a scary partnership. Mixed is another story, though.

    I’m also confused by the takes (mostly in the comments/live stream) that the APP players are so much worse. Of the 11 players who played in gold medal matches, we had 2 (AB, Staks) who were predominantly APP players last year. As discussed, Thomas/Vivienne had an amazing result (and who knows how far they could’ve gone with health issues), Dylan/JW were this close to beating the Johns, and Dylan got the bronze in singles. Without the gender doubles finishing the backdraw and AJ/Dekel playing, I’d say it’s still indeterminate. Let’s check back in during the middle of the season when the grind has really set in and new partnerships have had a chance to figure things out.

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    • January 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm
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      Good point on Siljestrom. He could play a role where he does not have to move as much and he can be more creative when he doesn’t have to extend himself. It’ll be interesting to see once he starts playing with different partners. Wes Burrows is someone who can take a little bit more court already with him. Intersting on Joey as well. We have heard something similar.

      The APP players are not so much worse. This is just not factual. Some people want this narrative to play out. It’s only that the very top PPA players are the best and that’s a tiny fraction of the overall pool.

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  • January 17, 2023 at 6:36 am
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    The best, most “in touch with the sport” writeup I’ve read after a full weekend of Pickleball, thanks.

    I too was trying to rack my brain for any combo of players that could potentially take down AL/AB in womens – I know you mentioned Etta Wright/Jessie, but what about Vivienne and Jessie? Or do you think Vivienne is much better as a mixed specialist? That was the combo I had in my mind that I’d love to see, although AL/AB may prove to be too much for the field. Didn’t even think about Riley/AB for mixed, but would absolutely love to see that.

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    • January 17, 2023 at 1:02 pm
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      Appreciate it!

      Vivienne and Jessie doesn’t really fit as two right-siders together. Jessie can play the left but there’s not a ton of court coverage there. They would be an interesting team but not likely enough offence to get it done together, and the comfort wouldn’t be there for one of them on the left. Riley and AB will be playing all of 2023 together in mixed.

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      • January 17, 2023 at 6:29 pm
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        I agree. Jessie seems to have mobility issues. She can’t quite cover the left side not to mention the middle which has always been a problem for her. Jessie has some amazing shots and put away power as long as the ball comes to her. I have never seen Jessie smile on the court and rarely see her supporting her partner by paddle taping etc… (Opposite of Vivianne) , I think it’s her way of focusing and that’s fine… but I think her record shows many find it very difficult to play with her.

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        • January 23, 2023 at 7:13 pm
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          She needs someone to cover middle for her in an optimal partnership. It’s fine not to smile. You don’t need to be to be a good partner. However, it can’t be cold to your partner when things are not going well either. Have to be who you are and all of us are different, but in team format there has to be a way to be there for your team. This year should be interesting.

          Reply
  • January 17, 2023 at 4:50 pm
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    I did find the APP streaming schedule confusing. I tried to tune in for Sunday’s matches but they were scheduled much earlier in the day than prior APP championships. I just assumed they would start around 1,not be over by then.

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    • January 23, 2023 at 7:12 pm
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      They just need to be clearer about all of this in advance for their events. Maybe with their new broadcast deal they will be better. Early times for the new APP so we need to give all these entities time.

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  • January 17, 2023 at 10:35 pm
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    Why is Jessie having so much trouble keeping high level partnerships? is it her intensity? lack of consistent elite results? I feel like she gets ragged on for being so intense but its the norm for guys like Riley or Matt…I just want her to have a better year than 2022 lol

    Reply
    • January 23, 2023 at 7:17 pm
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      We wouldn’t say she has had trouble keeping high level partnerships. Catherine Parenteau made a poor choice for dropping her and Anna now has an opportunity with Anna Leigh. It can be slim pickings out there. She will get another good opportunity.

      Reply

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