Top 10 Best Pickleball Players in the World
Best Pickleball Players
Over 80 titles, 15 triple crowns, and more.
Multiple Grand Slam titles and National Champion.
Ranked number 1 in the world in men’s singles.
Number 5 ranked men’s singles player.
Top 5 in the world rankings with a tennis background.
Over 60 podium finishes and aggressive playstyle.
Anna Leigh Waters
Dominant force in women’s pickleball.
Number 2 ranked women’s player in the world.
Multiple US Open titles and top-ranked player.
Number 3 in the world in women’s singles.
Best Pickleball Players in the World
Pickleball, a rapidly growing sport enjoyed by people of all ages, has seen an emergence of exceptional talent on both the men’s and women’s fronts. In this overview, we’ll introduce you to some of the best pickleball players in the world, each with their own impressive achievements and unique stories. From seasoned professionals with remarkable titles to rising stars who’ve taken the sport by storm, these players embody the spirit and skill that make pickleball a captivating and highly competitive endeavor.
1. Ben Johns
Ben Johns is a dominant force in the world of pickleball, known for his remarkable achievements and unparalleled skills on the court. At just 24 years old, Johns has already amassed an impressive resume that includes over 80 titles, a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to the sport. Notably, he boasts an astonishing 15 triple crowns, a rare feat in pickleball, which involves winning singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the same tournament. One of the most striking aspects of his career is his 108-match singles winning streak, a record that may stand for a long time in the sport. Johns’ prowess extends beyond singles; he is a formidable doubles player, often partnering with his brother Collin and women’s world number one, Anna-Leigh Waters, in mixed doubles. With his combination of youth, skill, and an impressive track record, Ben Johns is undoubtedly one of the brightest stars in the world of pickleball, captivating audiences with his exceptional play.
2. Tyson McGuffin
Tyson McGuffin’s journey in pickleball is a testament to his remarkable adaptability and determination. Having transitioned from a career in tennis to become one of the top pickleball players in the world, McGuffin’s success is a testament to his exceptional athleticism and dedication. With multiple Grand Slam titles to his name, he has firmly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the pickleball community. As a four-time National Champion and the current number 4 ranked player in the world in singles, McGuffin has proven his mettle in both men’s doubles and mixed doubles, earning top 10 rankings in those categories as well. At 32 years of age, he faces the challenge of a younger generation entering the sport, but his exceptional fitness level, honed through years of competing in wrestling and tennis, equips him to remain a formidable contender on the pickleball court. Tyson McGuffin’s transition from tennis to pickleball is a remarkable story of resilience and success in the world of racquet sports.
3. JW Johnson
JW Johnson, at just 19 years old, has taken the pickleball world by storm with his extraordinary talent and rapid ascent in the sport. Currently ranked as the number 1 men’s singles player in the world, he has also secured a spot in the top 3 rankings in both doubles and mixed doubles by the World Pickleball Rankings. Johnson’s breakthrough moment came when he ended Ben Johns’ incredible 170-match winning streak, highlighting his potential to become a true pickleball icon. The Johnson family’s involvement in pickleball is a family affair, with JW’s mother, Julie, and younger sister, Jorga, also professional pickleball players. Nicknamed JW ‘Just Win’ Johnson, his promising career in pickleball is marked by his exceptional skills and remarkable achievements at such a young age. As a rising star in the sport, JW Johnson’s journey is one to watch, and his dedication to the game suggests that he has a bright future ahead in the world of pickleball.
4. Zane Navratil
Zane Navratil is a prominent figure in the world of pickleball, known for his exceptional skills and distinctive playing style. Currently ranked as the number 5 men’s singles player in the world, Navratil has earned an impressive collection of over 80 medals throughout his career. What sets him apart from his competitors is his unique serve, aptly named the “chainsaw,” which imparts significant topspin on the ball, making it exceedingly challenging for opponents to return. Transitioning from a background in tennis, Zane quickly adapted to the sport, showcasing his versatility and prowess on the pickleball court. His consistency and remarkable performance have cemented his status as one of the top players in the game, and he continues to be a force to be reckoned with in both singles and doubles play.
Beyond his skills, Navratil’s dedication to the sport and his commitment to honing his craft have made him a respected figure in the pickleball community. As he competes at the highest level, Zane Navratil’s future in the sport holds much promise, and fans can expect to witness more remarkable achievements from this talented athlete.
5. Federico Staksrud
Federico Staksrud is one of the newer faces in the world of professional pickleball, but he has rapidly made a name for himself with his impressive tennis background and quick ascent in the rankings. Introduced to pickleball in 2021, Staksrud leveraged his tennis skills to propel himself into the top 5 rankings in the world. With his experience from the tennis circuit, Federico seamlessly transitioned into pickleball, demonstrating a level of play that places him among the sport’s elite. While he may be a relatively fresh addition to the professional scene, Staksrud’s rapid rise suggests that he will be a formidable competitor in the years to come. As he gains more tournament experience and refines his pickleball game, Federico Staksrud is poised to continue competing at the highest level, making him one to watch for fans of this dynamic sport.
6. Jay Devilliers
Jay Devilliers, known as the “Flying Frenchman,” burst onto the professional pickleball scene in 2020 after a successful collegiate tennis career at Wichita State University. Despite his relatively short time as a pro, Devilliers has already notched an impressive record with over 60 podium finishes across singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events. Hailing from France, his aggressive and fiery style of play on the court has earned him a well-deserved reputation and nickname. His rapid adaptation to pickleball and competitive spirit make him a player to watch as he continues to make his mark on the sport. With each tournament, Jay Devilliers showcases his determination and skill, solidifying his place among the rising stars of pickleball.
7. Anna Leigh Waters
Anna Leigh Waters is a prodigious talent in the world of pickleball, despite her young age of just 16. Her rise to prominence has been meteoric, and she’s widely regarded as the dominant force in women’s pickleball. Currently ranked as the number one women’s singles player in the world, Anna Leigh showcases an aggressive playing style that has made her a formidable opponent on the court. In addition to her singles prowess, she forms an unstoppable doubles team with her mother and has partnered with Ben Johns in mixed doubles, a partnership that is often deemed almost unfair to competitors. Her hard-hitting approach and natural talent for the sport make her one of the most exciting prospects in the pickleball world.
8. Catherine Parenteau
Catherine Parenteau is another top-tier talent in women’s pickleball and currently holds the number two ranking in the world. Her journey to the top has been marked by her background in tennis, where she was a former top-ranked player in Canada. This transition from tennis to pickleball has seen her ascend rapidly in the rankings, and she now boasts three US Open titles to her credit. Catherine’s tennis experience, coupled with her natural athleticism, has allowed her to adapt seamlessly to pickleball. Interestingly, it was her former tennis coach, Simone Jardim, also a prominent pickleball player, who introduced her to the sport. With her impressive track record and tennis pedigree, Catherine Parenteau continues to be a dominant force in women’s pickleball.
9. Simone Jardim
Simone Jardim is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in the world of pickleball, known for her remarkable accomplishments both as a player and a coach. She transitioned to professional pickleball in 2015 after a successful tennis career, both as a player and a coach at Michigan State University. Simone quickly rose to the top of the sport and clinched four consecutive US Open singles titles from 2016 to 2019. Furthermore, she held the number one rank in the women’s world pickleball rankings from 2016 to 2020. In 2021, Jardim decided to shift her focus solely to doubles but still occasionally entered singles competitions with impressive results. Her extensive list of titles and accomplishments firmly establishes her as one of the greatest players in the early stages of the sport, if not the greatest. Simone Jardim’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the world of pickleball.
10. Lea Jansen
Lea Jansen, a relative newcomer to pickleball, has rapidly risen to prominence and currently holds the number three ranking in the world for women’s singles. Her journey from a power-hitting tennis player to a finesse and patience-driven pickleball player has been an impressive transformation. Hailing from Washington and formerly a tennis player at Washington State University, Jansen has showcased her adaptability and natural talent in mastering the nuances of pickleball. Her consistent performance at the top level of the sport suggests that Lea Jansen is poised to remain a formidable competitor, consistently contending for gold medals and earning a reputation as one of the sport’s rising stars.
What is the Impact of these Players on the Sport of Pickleball?
The impact of the best pickleball players on the sport extends far beyond their impressive on-court performances. These athletes have played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of pickleball, both in terms of its popularity and competitiveness. Here are some key ways in which these players have influenced and continue to impact the sport:
Increased Visibility and Popularity: The success and charisma of top pickleball players like Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters, and Simone Jardim have significantly boosted the visibility and popularity of the sport. Their presence in tournaments, on social media, and in the media has attracted a broader audience to pickleball, making it one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. As more people become aware of these players and their accomplishments, pickleball continues to gain recognition and acceptance as a mainstream sport.
Raising the Competitive Bar: The best pickleball players set a high standard of excellence in the sport. Their exceptional skills, work ethic, and dedication have raised the competitive bar for aspiring players. This increased level of competition not only makes the sport more exciting for fans but also motivates others to strive for excellence. Young talents like JW Johnson and Lea Jansen, who have taken on the challenge of facing these elite players, are a testament to the inspiring impact of the sport’s top performers.
Inspiring New Generations: Top pickleball players serve as role models for the younger generation of athletes. Their success stories, dedication, and sportsmanship inspire aspiring players to take up pickleball and pursue their dreams in the sport. The rise of players like Anna Leigh Waters, who achieved remarkable success at a young age, demonstrates that pickleball is accessible to players of all ages and can provide a platform for young talents to shine.
Attracting Sponsorships and Investment: As pickleball gains popularity, it has also attracted sponsorships and investment from various brands and organizations. Top players become ambassadors for the sport, helping secure sponsorships that provide financial support and opportunities for growth. These sponsorships contribute to the professionalization of pickleball, with players being able to focus on their careers and compete at the highest level.
Enhancing the Global Appeal: The international success of players like Tyson McGuffin, Zane Navratil, and Catherine Parenteau has helped enhance the global appeal of pickleball. Their participation in international tournaments and their presence in the world rankings have encouraged players from different countries to take up the sport. Pickleball is no longer limited to a specific region but is spreading worldwide, thanks in part to these global ambassadors of the sport.
The impact of the best pickleball players extends well beyond the boundaries of the court. Their contributions to the sport’s growth, increased competitiveness, and global recognition are shaping pickleball into a prominent and enduring sport enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
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