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Dink Awards

Dink Awards 2023

by Luke Burton on

Edit: Voting closes Sunday Feb 3

The time is here for pickleball's official fans' choice awards for the top players, people, and moments from the year.

Throughout the year, we bring you the very best coverage of all things pickleball - from breaking news to tournament recaps and the latest controversies (and if you're not subscribed to our newsletter, you're missing out).

Now it's up to you to decide who takes home the crown for the most coveted awards in the sport.

Also, a huge thank you Selkirk for sponsoring our Match of the Year and Rising Talent categories. They're also donating $1k to the winners of our Pickleball creator awards to help them with their content.

Mens Player of the Year

Best Male Player of the Year

How could we pick the best male player of the year? We couldn't! (That's why we're making you do it). Here are the biggest household names of pickleball - battling it out off the court for the top spot as male player of the year.

Here are the nominees:

  • Ben Johns
  • Tyson McGuffin
  • JW Johnson
  • Hunter Johnson
  • Andrei Daescu

Womens Player of the Year

Womens Player of the Year

We have no shortage of some of the best female athletes in the sport and so this category was particularly tough to fill. Either way, we picked five of the fiercest pro women players to duel for player of the year.

Here are the nominees:

  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Catherine Parenteau
  • Anna Bright
  • Vivienne David
  • Susannah Barr

Mens Most Improved Player

One of the best parts about watching pickleball at this stage of its growth is seeing the new talent rise up to challenge the old guard. Here are five male players that we think you should be keeping an eye on in the future.

Here are the nominees:

  • Hayden Patriquin
  • Connor Garnett
  • Pablo Tellez
  • Federico Staksrud
  • Christian Alshon

Womens Most Improved Player

We doubt that any of these incredible women will surprise you by being nominated as the most improved player. They have shown up time and time again on the podiums in 2023 and will no doubt continue that into this year.

Here are the nominees:

  • Hurricane Tyra Black
  • Jorja Johnson
  • Megan Fudge
  • Etta Wright
  • Rachel Rohrabacher

Best On-Court Antics

Shout-out to the heroes who make watching pickleball even more exciting than it already is. We're talking "round 'em up", paddle tosses, flipping the bird, screaming, fist pumps - this group has it all!

Here are the nominees:

  • Rafa Hewett
  • Pablo Tellez
  • Julian Arnold
  • Riley Newman
  • Jill Braverman
  • Lucy Kovalova

Senior Womens Player of the Year

We're big fans of the senior pro circuit and want to make sure our top seniors are recognized for the work they're putting in on the courts. Here are five senior pro women players that we believe deserve the top spot.

Here are the nominees:

  • Eva Welsher
  • Beth Bellamy
  • Nathalie Bagby
  • Anna Shirley
  • Kim Kesner

Senior Mens Player of the Year

Some familiar faces grace the senior pro men's category - these are the top five male players that we think should be recognized for their performances last year.

Here are the nominees:

  • Altaf Merchant
  • Dayne Gingrich
  • Mattias Johansson
  • Rick Witsken
  • Paul Olin

Best Dressed Player of the Year

The good pros make playing pickleball look easy - but this group also looks good while doing it. You'll never catch these pros on the court in anything less than their Sunday best.

Here are the nominees:

  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Meghan Fudge
  • Parris Todd
  • Tyson McGuffin
  • Travis Rettenmaier

Best On-Air Personality

You listen to their voices every weekend - and now it's time to use yours! We pulled the top commentators and presenters that we've all come to love.

Here are the nominees:

  • Dave Fleming
  • Kamryn Blackwood
  • Michelle McMahon
  • Adam Stone
  • Dom Catalano

Event of the Year

As pickleball fanatics, it's almost impossible to pick a shortlist of events that we think deserve the top spot. Nevertheless, these five went above and beyond to make for some incredible television.

Here are the nominees:

  • APP New York City Open
  • PPA Takeya Showcase
  • Minto US Open Championships
  • USAP National Championships
  • Major League Pickleball Atlanta

Selkirk TV Spotlight Match

There are just some matches that stick with you - whether it's because they have a nailbiting finish, feature a matchup you've been dying to see, or bring enough energy to power the lights of Dreamland itself. Huge thank you to Selkirk for sponsoring this category.

Here are the nominees:

SLK Rising Talent

They may not have started the year as household names - but we guarantee you've heard of them by now. This category features the players who have risen above the fold and made a name for themselves on the tours. Thanks to Selkirk for sponsoring this category.

Here are the nominees:

  • Tina Pisnik
  • Jaume Martinez Vich
  • Gabriel Tardio
  • Judit Castillo

Best Pickleball Podcast

Pickleball has no shortage of good content and we can't get enough of it! From tour wars to paddle-testing, this year was glorious for hot takes and sounding off.

Here are the nominees:

If your family and friends know you love pickleball (and whose doesn't?), chances are you've had one of these content creators sent to your inbox. These are the folks who are putting in the work to entertain us and remind us why we love this sport so much.

Thanks to Selkirk, the winner of this category will receive a $1k grant to help them develop their content.

Here are the nominees:

Top YouTube Content Creator

How many collective hours do you think we've spent watching a "how-to [pickleball shot]" video on YouTube? Well, now is our time to give thanks to those who are taking us from 3.0 to pro.

Thanks to Selkirk, the winner of this category will receive a $1k grant to help them develop their content.

Here are the nominees:

Top Influential Voice

To say pickleball has had a turbulent 2023 would perhaps be an understatement. As the sport grows at such a rapid pace, it's no surprise that controversies will arise. Amongst all the noise though, some voices have been instrumental in advocating on behalf of players and fans.

Here are the nominees:

  • Jill Braverman
  • Jimmy Miller
  • Lea Jenson
  • Travis Rettenmaier
  • Tim Parks

College Player of the Year

College pickleball is exploding. Campuses across the nation are installing courts to attract athletes and national championships are finding the rising stars of the sport. This category highlights five college players we think are the ones to watch.

Here are the nominees:

  • Averee Beck
  • Django Chassang
  • Jack Munro
  • Collin Shick
  • Dylan Ciampini

Fan Favorite

Put the titles, records, and antics aside - this category is for the players the fans just can't get enough of. The ones who you always watch whether it's center court or grandstand court.

Here are the nominees:

  • Allyce Jones
  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Tyson McGuffin
  • Zane Navratil
  • Anna Bright
  • Riley Newman

Best Rivalry of the Year

Who doesn't love a good rivalry? It makes for way more interesting pickleball and keeps the competitive energy at its highest. Here are some of our favorites from the year.

Here are the nominees:

  • Tyler Loong & Tyson McGuffin
  • Salome Dividze & Megan Fudge
  • Collin Johns & Julian Arnold
  • Matt Wright & Riley Newman
  • Orlando Squeeze & DC Pickleball

Luke Burton

Luke Burton

Luke is the Chief Growth Officer at The Dink as well as the producer for the pickleball podcast Tennis Sucks. He picked up pickleball in 2020 and now plays competitively in the state.

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