Pickleball Lives Here

Tennis Star Learns Rules the Hard Way

by The Dink Media Team on

The safest pickleball shot. The Dink is going to Nationals.

You know your special interest is legit when there’s an entire month named after it.

Move over, National Sourdough Bread DAY. Step aside, National Peanut Butter And Jelly DAY. April is National Pickleball MONTH now!

(In case you didn’t realize, all of the above are “real” National Days. National Play Outside Day was Saturday, so here’s hoping you had the chance to hit up your local outdoor court).


In today's issue:

  • In the shallows now
  • Pickleball Slam recap
  • Ben’s return to UMD
  • The Dink’s Brodie cleans up


APP Mesa Open Results

The Safest Place On Court

If you’re matched up against a couple of six-footers, the pickleball court can start to feel small. Where do you even place the ball?

There’s always one spot on the court that is a safe place to land. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper even made a song about it back in 2018: we’re talking about the shallow.

The safest place on court is a soft dink dropped just over the middle of the net, shallow in the NVZ. Something that doesn’t bounce high enough to attack.

This accomplishes two things:

  • It makes them move. They have to crash into the kitchen and then retreat back out when they field this shot.
  • It’s hard to attack. There is not much room for them to be aggressive when they return this shot. This can buy you time or help set up the next shot.

They will likely reciprocate with a soft, shallow dink of their own. But here is where you have the advantage. You know that soft dink is on the way. You’re prepared to slide into the kitchen whereas they had to scramble.

If they leave their response even just a little high, speed up at the player who is trying to retreat.

Make friends with the shallow kitchen dink and feel free to sing along with Gaga while you do it.

Easy, Safe, Fun: Lectric

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Learn more about this fun transportation option here.

Pickleball Slam Piques Interest

The inaugural Pickleball Slam captivated the national racquet sports audience yesterday. The $1M charity exhibition pitted Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick vs. John McEnroe and Michael Chang. The event was hosted at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and broadcasted by ESPN.

The three-match format featured two singles matches followed by the main event doubles match.

In the first match, McEnroe squeaked by Agassi in singles. Then Roddick dusted Chang 15-10, 15-10. Tied up as we move to doubles.

Games one and two were split 21-15 and 21-23. With everyone drenched in sweat (except Chang for some reason), the match went to a third and deciding game. It went down to the wire, with a 12-10 victory for Agassi/Roddick.

As expected, there were antics from McEnroe and multiple kitchen violations including a new rule discovery for Roddick.

Overall, the event was one of the best productions to date for expanding the pickleball audience. The tennis diehards all came away with a new respect for the game.

Agassi joked “Pickleball is where tennis players go to die, so I guess I’m officially dying.” He followed up with sincere appreciation, “I never thought I would say this but I’m playing this as long as I can walk. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

We feel ‘ya Andre.

Hometown Kid Takes the Title in Mesa

Arizona’s own Pesa Teoni stole the show last weekend in Mesa. The hometown kid has become a local legend and now has some hardware to back it up. Teoni formed a last-minute partnership with Andrei Daescu and the firey duo rallied all the way to men’s doubles gold.

Daescu doubled up on Championship Sunday. He won the mixed doubles crown alongside Susannah Barr.

Simone Jardim and Parris Todd added another gold to their collection. That is three in a row to start the year. They could make a run at an undefeated 2023 schedule together.

Salome Devidze and Megan Fudge duked it out for the women’s singles title. Devidze double-dipped Fudge after dropping game one.

Hunter Johnson missed his chance for another triple crown but still ended the day with a gold in men’s singles.

The next stop on the APP Tour is in Sacramento in the last week of April.

Big Man on Campus

The University of Maryland has a pretty well-known alumnus, at least in the world of pickleball.

Ben Johns stopped by his alma mater recently to check in on the pickleball club he co-founded during his freshman year in 2017.

“…It is thriving!,” he said in a Facebook post. “I have to admit I did very little legwork on it 😬 But post my graduation the club has taken great strides and has grown tremendously!”

According to his post, there are currently over 200 members in the UMD Pickleball Club. Maybe it’s because I went to a smaller school, but I’ve never even heard of a college club having that many members.

With six temporary courts, that’s roughly 8 groups of 4 players per court. Let’s hope they break that up into scheduled play.

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Consistency, Game After Game

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Hats Off to Our Teammate

It’s not every day we get to brag about one of our own. But The Dink’s Brodie Smith (on the right, first pic) just brought home gold at APP Mesa this weekend.

He competed in a Golden Ticket Nationals qualifier in the 4.0, 19+ division with partner Brody Zaugg (yes, two Brodie/y’s).

Team Brodie/ySquared reports high energy and, in their words, “great vibes all around.”

“APP staff was incredible and helped ensure the athletes were attended to and satisfied throughout the long days,” he tells us.

“Brody and I came in as the #1 seed and luckily never entered the losers bracket, but we were only a point away from that happening. Father-son team Yeung-Yeung put us to the test in the semi-finals, as our third tie-breaker game went back and forth at 11-11. It felt like it went on for days.”

YeungSquared was driving hard. So how did they counter?

If you said anything other than “the slow game,” you’re kidding yourself.

“We had to slow the game down and go back to basics to beat them with dinks!,” Brodie says.

Brodie/ySquared ended on a nail biter finish, 13-11, making The Dink team very proud. Congrats, guys. Wish them luck at Nationals in November.

Meanwhile, bookmark our Up Your Game page for whenever you need a refresher on those basics. Who knows, you may end up scoring a golden ticket if you do.

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