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Atlantic Cup Comeback by Team USA Highlights Intriguing APP Weekend in Miami

by Erik Tice on

The first Major of the 2024 APP Tour season wrapped up this weekend as the Miami APP Open took over the Miami Beach Convention Center. Thankfully the event was held indoors as the weather in South Florida would have made it difficult to get the event in on schedule if it was held outside.

Here are the top takeaways from the weekend:

First Atlantic Cup was a Success

The Atlantic Cup was new territory for the APP and pickleball in general. The tournament took place concurrently with the Chase APP Miami tournament on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

It was the first international team tournament on the APP Tour. The USA was represented by members of the APP Next Gen Team and Team Europe was represented by some of the best players in Europe. 

Chad Edwards and Lee Whitwell coached the USA team. Team USA started the tournament trailing on singles day, made up some ground in gender doubles, but still had a lot of work to do going into mixed doubles on Sunday. The score was 4-2 going into Sunday, and Team USA had to win all three mixed doubles matches in order to win the Cup, which they did.

The broadcasters said the environment was electric and fans were really into the action. The Atlantic Cup is a genius idea, except no one outside of Miami was able to watch it. The tournament was not televised at all, and it had some of the biggest up-and-coming players such as Jack Munro and Riley Bohnert participating.

The APP is focused on growing the game among the youth with Next Gen and internationally as well, and the Atlantic Cup does both. The APP just needs to make it available to more pickleball fans.

No More Easy Matches in Men’s Singles on Any Tour

Take a look at the names in this bracket: Will Howells, Chris Haworth, Yates Johnson, Spencer Lanier, JW Johnson, and Naveen Beasley. This would be a REALLY good main draw bracket.

However, this was actually the Points Draw for Ninth Place, because all of these names lost their first or second round match. 

Men’s singles is the most volatile category in pro pickleball right now. Guys cannot take even one match off and expect to win. The competition to make a name for yourself for the men starts in singles. Once you have some success there, you can get some better partners to start getting better at doubles.

Look for upsets in men's singles to continue because the field is getting to be so good.

JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier are Dominant

This duo has the most medals in APP Tour history. Even though they took most of 2023 off from the APP Tour and played mostly PPA events, they still have the record. Their ability to counter speedups from the best players in the world is elite. 

If JW and Dylan continue to play the APP Tour throughout 2024, I don’t see them losing much. They seem to make seven billion dinks in a row, counter anything you speed up at your feet, and rarely miss their thirds.

Dylan and JW showed that they are very much the second-best men’s doubles team in the world behind the Johns brothers.


Offensive Lobs are Here to Stay in Women’s Doubles

It wasn’t just one player. Or two. Or three. 

There was a point in the match between Susannah Barr/Megan Fudge and Jorja Johnson/Millie Rane where four offensive lobs were hit in the same point.

Susannah Barr is probably the best offensive lobber in the game today – not just on the APP Tour, but in all of pickleball. The strategy is here to stay in women’s doubles. Mixed doubles and men’s doubles are not far behind.

The offensive lob from the kitchen line is becoming a very real tool to have. There will be a trickle down effect to recreational play, so start mixing it into your game.

Full Results from the Tournament

Men’s Singles

  1. Hunter Johnson
  2. Grayson Goldin
  3. Jack Foster

Women’s Singles

  1. Megan Fudge
  2. Jenna Hessert
  3. Bobbi Oshiro

Men’s Doubles

  1. JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier
  2. Will Howells and Ryler DeHeart
  3. Erik Lange and Max Mathou

Women’s Doubles

  1. Jorja Johnson and Milan Rane
  2. Megan Fudge and Susannah Barr
  3. Alix Truong and Mari Humberg

Mixed Doubles

  1. Hurricane Tyra Black and Dylan Frazier
  2. Megan Fudge and Andrei Daescu
  3. Jorja Johnson and Gabe Tardio

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