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Paddle Testing

Exclusive Details Behind Andrei Daescu's $50k Fine and Suspension for Illegal Substance on Paddle

by Erik Tice on

Major League Pickleball made an announcement on May 11 at the first MLP event in Atlanta stating a player’s paddle failed testing due to a foreign substance.

We knew the what. Now we know the who.

It was announced Tuesday that the player was Andrei Daescu. The UPA has announced Daescu has been fined $50,000 and suspended for 60 days of play (starting after the PPA Atlanta event). In addition to the suspension, Daescu has been placed on probation by the UPA for a year.

Daescu submitted a paddle for testing at the MLP Atlanta event that had a foreign substance on it. That paddle was never used in competition. However, Daescu did acknowledge that the paddle’s surface was altered.

The Dink has learned that essentially Daescu got unlucky. The paddle was dropped off and tested and it did have an illegal substance on it. The paddle was one of many he had at the time and it was dropped off for testing by someone mistakenly. It was never intended to be used in competition. The paddle is used in training by Daescu and his team to help his hitting partners simulate an elite-level player across from him.

Daescu’s team believes that the fine and suspension are fair and that the UPA is justified in its efforts to curtail the use of illegal paddles.

There is no place in pickleball for those who cannot or will not play by the rules. For pickleball to continue to establish itself as a legitimate sport, there must be world class standards and organizations to enforce them. UPA continues to work hard to ensure pickleball rules and regulations are in place and adhered to by players, manufacturers, and all participants who impact the game. – United Pickleball Association

The amount of the fine and suspension is unprecedented, but it clearly indicates that the newly-formed governing body – UPA of America (UPA-A) – wants to set an expectation that there will be consequences for these types of infractions.

The 60-day mark would make Daescu eligible to return to UPA competition starting on July 18th. Here is a list of upcoming UPA events Daescu is not allowed to play in:

This suspension essentially forces Daescu to miss the three PPA events listed above and the MLP Mid-Season Tournament.

What does this mean for the AZ Drive? The Drive are not playing MLP Washington D.C. However, they are playing at the Mid-Season Tournament and Daescu is now not eligible for that event. 

Major League Pickleball & PPA Tour Announce USA Pickleball Competitor, New Governing Body
The United Pickleball Association announced that it has severed ties with USA Pickleball and will create its own governing body, which will oversee rules, regulations and equipment standards, among other things.

The AZ Drive isn’t able to loan a player from the Challenger Level at the Mid-Season Tournament, as every team is playing in the event. This means the AZ Drive will need to sign a free agent player for the Mid-Season Tournament. As it gets closer to the event, we will include some potential possibilities.

Paddle testing has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.

JOOLA's Gen 3 paddles caused quite a stir since hitting the market earlier this month. It even forced JOOLA and USA Pickleball to make statements regarding paddle testing as the JOOLA Gen 3s dropped off USAP's approved list.

Erik Tice

Erik Tice

Erik produces content for The Dink related to pro and collegiate pickleball. He is an avid watcher of pickleball and became passionate about the sport in early 2022.

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