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Pickleball Filling Gaps Left by Tennis

by The Dink Media Team on

New champions in MN. The tomahawk is here to stay.

We all have a favorite court. Usually, it's the one that stays in the shade the longest or has the fewest number of cracks. But how many players are you sharing your court with?

On that topic, and as a side note, you can earn money for sharing your court. Like Airbnb, but for pickleball. Check out the Swimply segment below for more info.

Recent data suggests that pickleballers outnumber pickleball courts by a margin of 110 to 1. Compare that to tennis players, who outnumber courts 84 to 1 (source: Cult Tennis YouTube channel).

According to YouTubers Cult Tennis, pickleball and tennis remain at odds, but the stalemate isn't as simple as you think. There are layers.

All that and more to help mitigate your Monday blues.

Let's get it.

PPA Indoor National Championship Results

Tommy Tomahawk

Class please say 'Hello' to Tommy. Tommy say 'Hello' to the class. Tommy Tomahawk may be the new kid in pickleball but according to Zane Navratil, the Tomahawk is not going anywhere.

On last week's PicklePod, Navratil explained the number one reason you should be tomahawking: Additional inches.

The Tomahawk shot is a replacement for the backhand overhead. It is used to smash a ball high on the backhand side.

To execute:

  • Hold the paddle up like you're prepping for a backhand volley
  • Turn your wrist toward your body like you're trying to read your watch, the paddle will rotate nearly 180 degrees
  • Reach up toward your backhand shoulder and smash any ball that enters the new No Fly Zone

According to Navratil, the wrist rotation allows for an additional 4-5 inches of reach and "additional inches are great." He must be talking about height. From this position, you can snap your wrist more effectively and reach the ball when it is further into the kitchen.

We also appreciate the added power and angle possibilities that the shot provides. Not looking like an uncoordinated ballerina while swinging at a backhand overhead is a win as well.

It's time folks. Time to welcome Tommy with open arms.

It’s like Airbnb...but for Pickleball Courts

As if you need another reason to add a homecourt to your backyard, now you can share your court with local players when you aren’t using it.

Swimply allows court owners the chance to rent out homecourts and players the opportunity to reserve a private court for their game.

Capitalizing Where Tennis has Failed

Tennis is losing ground to pickleball. How many of us pick up a paddle, never to touch a tennis racquet again? How many age out of the tennis hustle and bustle to settle into the world of dinks and underhand serves?

A captivating video from Cult Tennis summarizes the tennis vs pickleball struggle in a unique way. According to the video, which needs some updated statistics for 2023, tennis is not losing ground to pickleball in the way you might think.

The number of tennis players increased by a margin that actually exceeds the 2022 SFIA pickleball player count. Despite the increase in participation, pickleball is capitalizing on some areas where tennis has failed.

Tennis has kept distribution rights under lock and key making viewership a chore for fans. It has failed to remain in the cultural mainstream and has been overshadowed by other sports.

Meanwhile, pickleball has popped, stealing headlines in prominent publications, garnering support from celebrity endorsers and going viral online. Basically, pickleball has become 'cool'.

Is pickleball overtaking tennis anytime soon? There is still a long way to go for 'the little game that could' but the exponential growth of recent years certainly makes it a possibility.

Daddy's Home - New Champions in Minnesota

'Papa Jimmy' James Ignatowich has made one of the fastest (and most humorous) ascents to pro pickleball stardom. Ignatowich is cutting WWE promos in post-game interviews and now, backing it up on the court.

Ignatowich got the proverbial 'monkey off of his back' over the weekend. He won his first, and second gold medals on the PPA Tour. Iggy topped JW Johnson in straight games 11-1, 11-8 to capture the men's singles title.

In a first-time partnership with Catherine Parenteau, Ignatowich won gold number two. The duo knocked out some of the heaviest hitters in the game Anna Bright/Riley Newman and Jorja Johnson/JW Johnson on their way to gold.

Parenteau also doubled up on gold in Minnesota. She completed a stunning third-game comeback against Lea Jansen to bring home the title. After being down 0-5 in game three, CP rattled off 11 unanswered points to close the match 2-11,11-6,11-5.

Dylan Frazier can finally add PPA Champion to his resume. Frazier and JW Johnson summitted the men's doubles podium thanks in part to a big semifinal win against Riley Newman/ Matt Wright.

  • Lucy Kovalova/Callie Smith reclaimed the women's doubles title
  • Federico Staksrud/Pablo Tellez surprised crowds with a silver medal finish
  • Lauren Stratman/Julian Arnold pieced together three underdog wins to get their own silver medal in mixed
  • Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters did not make the trip to Minnesota

The most talked about moment of the event came at the end of the men's doubles semifinal match. Clearly frustrated with his play DJ Young took out all of his emotion in a paddle throw that will not be forgotten soon.

Young rocketed the paddle at the ground like Gronk spiking a football. The paddle took a shockingly high bounce sending it three rows deep into the courtside audience. While we love the passion and emotion, it can't spill out into the crowd.

Luckily, no one was hurt by the errant paddle. This will likely be the last you will see of paddle tossing at the pro level. There are rumors of a suspension or possible fine for the incident.

Play Like Zane

It's been rumored about for months, but the day has finally come. The new Zane Navratil Signature Carbon paddle is now available from ProXR Pickleball.

The paddle features an Ultra-RAW carbon face that is designed to maximize spin and power.

An elongated straight handle allows Zane (and you) to fit both hands on the paddle, perfect for the two-handed backhand.

Shop Now at

Finding Pickleball's Most Compelling Product

On a new episode, Rob and Stone burn through the latest topics in the picklesphere. It feels like everyone is withdrawing from the loser’s bracket on the PPA Tour. They cover why Jorja Johnson might just be the best Johnson and if team pickleball is the most promising product.

The boys will be getting together in St Lake City. Be on the lookout if you live in Utah.

Watch the latest episode here or listen here.

Headlines & Quick Hits


  • Want to try singles? Maybe not after this point.
  • Throwback Johns' match ender
  • We've said it before, we'll say it again, if you can hit the tweener, you hit the tweener
  • Somehow they manage to win this one

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