Billionaire land grab gets players PAID

The sneaky ace.

Head Title

Left at the altar. The PPA & MLP were set to finally sign on the dotted line last week. A deal many months in the making:

  • PPA folds its competing VIBE pickleball league, receives 20% ownership in MLP, and assumes ownership of 4 MLP teams

In fact, the BFFs were about to release a new joint schedule and unveil a series of announcements. But then, Friday morning, the proverbial shi** hit the fan (we recommend reading that if you have no idea what we’re talking about).

Since then, the PPA has signed a total of 36 players to exclusive agreements while MLP has signed a total of 63. Both sides are acting as if they ‘won.’ But we’ll let you be the judge of that…

On another note…

If you’re in one of the above cities, join one of our pickleball leagues.

In This Issue:

🧠 Tour Wars mayhem
🏆 Pro pickleball doubleheader
🂡 A sneaky ace

Let’s get hitched.

PPA Kansas City Open Results

APP Philadelphia Open Results

Hitting the Short Corner

Everybody loves ripping a powerful serve at their opponents. It's your chance to start the point and dictate the pace.

For the majority of serves, I agree that it is smart to send them deep into the court, pushing your opponent as far off the baseline as possible. But let's not neglect the rest of the service box.

Add another arrow to your quiver by practicing a short serve that bounces in the front third of the service box and stays low.

My favorite version of this is a serve targeting the sideline-corner of the service box. I like to use this on the ad (left) side of the court, which results in a low backhand return from my opponent.

The benefits of a tactical, short serve:

  • A well-placed short serve can catch your opponent off-guard, especially if they are standing a couple of feet behind the baseline.

  • It can also pull your opponent off to the side of the court, creating space down the middle for your 3rd shot.

  • This serve can even neutralize a banger that returns the ball with powerful groundstrokes.

  • It is more difficult to rip a big, topspin forehand on a serve that stays low vs a deep serve with a high bounce.

See if you can set this one up for yourself. After a few deep serves with pace, mix in this touch shot. It just might earn you a freebie.

Extreme Control

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MLP & PPA Tour Wars Update

JW Johnson, Jorja Johnson, Dylan Frazier, Jessie Irvine, Gabe Tardio, Pat Smith and Lindsey Newman. Those are the consensus MVHs: Most Valuable Holdouts.

If we’re judging by quantity, it’s a total rout by MLP. But what about quality? MLP has signed 30 premier drafted players, while the PPA has signed 15 premier drafted players (17 if you count Matt and Lucy).

And while MLP still doesn’t have enough players to fill its 96 roster spots, the PPA seems far too top-heavy.

Last night, it seemed MLP had won the day.

But late last evening, PPA announced a flurry of signings: Dekel Bar, Tina Pisnik, Julian Arnold, Lauren Stratman, Tammy Emmrich and Martin Emmrich.

So let’s talk about some of the major takeaways

  1. PPA got creative: they signed former tennis pros Jack Sock, Donald Young and Sam Querrey. Jack Sock subsequently announced his retirement from tennis across his social media channels

  2. The Loyalists weren’t so loyal

    • Austin locals and MLP favorites Dekel Bar, Lauren Stratman and MVP Julian Arnold went to ‘the dark side’. All three seemed like a lock for MLP

    • Riley Newman, one of the PPA’s most valuable assets, flipped to MLP after he was prematurely announced by the PPA

    • Tyson McGuffin, a fan favorite and often presented as the face of the PPA, stunned fans by signing with MLP

  3. Top Notch Management played a pivotal role

    • Sam Flaxman worked for the PPA. His job? Pretty much just be friends with the players…smooth things over, make sure they’re taken care of, etc.

    • He recently left the PPA to join Top Notch…and took his relationships with him

    • Top Notch and MLP met in secret weeks before this all happened. Top Notch agreed to send their players to MLP in return for…we aren’t sure exactly. The only Top Notch player not to go to PPA was AJ Koller. Jessie Irvine is still holding out

  4. Money, Money, Money

    • Multi-million dollar contracts were offered to multiple players, previously unheard of in pickleball

    • It’s safe to assume that the worst case scenario for these players is a 6-figure guaranteed salary, 401k, health insurance, health insurance, comped travel, and an opportunity for a bonus via winnings. Oh, and they can still make sponsorship money

This isn’t over. As we’ve learned time and time again in this sport, anything can happen.


  • More than Likely: The APP and MLP will make a deal to allow MLP players to compete in APP Tour events to supplement their income, get more reps

  • More than Likely: Litigation, and lots of it

  • Likely: The PPA and MLP come to the table and negotiate an adaptation of the original deal

  • Possible, but not probably: MLP acquires the PPA, Pardoe and Dundon walk away with a big, 8-figure check and some equity in MLP.

  • Very Unlikely: the two entities push forward as is and compete for the foreseeable future. There is still much more to come here, and I don’t believe this is over, by any means. The remaining holdouts will play a big factor in the path forward

We’re keeping everything up to date via our blog here. And for the most up to date happenings, follow us on Twitter.

Money + The Fastest Growing Sport Ever + Savvy Entrepreneurs and Competitors = a saga for the ages. Hey Netflix, give us a call.

Kansas City Shakedown

The elephant in the room all weekend long was players deciding the fate of both MLP and the PPA, one contract at a time. The arms race even overshadowed the first-ever weekend of pickleball entering the world of sports betting.

On the court, it was business as usual. Another double-triple in the books for Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters.

Ben's triple included Matt Wright for the first time this year. Collin Johns is nursing a minor Achilles tear and was in the booth calling matches.

Ben and Matt shut down JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier like it was 2021. Tyson McGuffin and James Ignatowich rounded out the podium with a bronze medal finish.

Anna Leigh Waters ran into a little quarterfinal trouble against Lina Padegimaite on Thursday, but it was smooth sailing the rest of the weekend.

Riley Newman and Jessie Irvine teamed up for silver in mixed doubles but were no match for Ben and ALW.

Two underdog duos made semi-final runs:

  • Jade Kawamoto and Travis Rettenmaier finished with bronze as the 15-seed

  • Milan Rane and Gabe Tardio surprised the field as the 30-seed and finished the day in 4th

There are rumors that this is the last time we could see a PPA tournament with this kind of roster. All eyes will be on Cincinnati, which starts in 10 days.

Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Andrei Daescu, King of the APP Tour, left Philadelphia with the most gold yesterday. The big man went for double gold in the doubles events. He and Susannah Barr remain atop the mixed doubles game.

In men's, Daescu and Rob Nunnery reclaimed their title against Andre Mick and CJ Klinger.

Mick and Klinger won the St Louis Open and put together another impressive performance in Philly.

Parris Todd and Simone Jardim made it a whopping eight titles together in women's doubles. They are keeping all competitors at bay.

Salome Devidze snatched her fourth singles title of the year, this time against Christa Gecheva.

Jack Foster pushed Yates Johnson to a tiebreak in men's singles. Yates was able to keep the title in the Johnson family, winning the final game to 15.

In the Champions division 'Captain America' Steve Rogers brought home his own triple crown.

The APP Tour heads back to the Midwest this week for a stop in the Windy City.

Easy, Safe, Fun: Lectric

Forget the hassle of finding parking at pickleball courts.

The XP Lite is a unique eBike with easy maneuverability, a twist grip throttle option, a basket to hold your things, and five levels of pedal assist.

Learn more about this fun transportation option here.

Tales from the Court, Part 9

This unusual pickleball experience comes to us from Dave VW. You guessed it: another animal tale. Send in your own interesting pickleball stories here.

In the middle of play on our local courts a large fish flopped onto one of the courts, startling everyone.

Overhead, had been a fight between an Eagle and an Osprey. Both attempted to retrieve the fish while fending the other away. Neither were successful, probably due to all the players present.

I grabbed a shovel and took the fish outside the fence where the eagle immediately swooped in and claimed the prize.

Headlines & Quick Hits


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