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Court Wars: There's A War Brewing Between Professional Pickleball And Tennis Players

Bruce Yeung. Getty Images.

The Roman Empire. The Han Dynasty. The Ottoman Empire. The British Empire. The Umayyad Caliphate. 

All of these empires were massive. All of them had complete and total control in land, population, strength, and political power. They dominated to a point where nobody could ever envision a world where somebody else would come in and take over. That is, of course, until somebody did. Because another thing that all of these empires have in common is that they all fell at one point. Whether that was due to their own demise, or somebody else rising to power. At one point or another, these empires all came crashing to the ground. 

And that's where tennis is at right now as far as racquet sports go. Tennis always had control and total control. You could never envision a world where tennis didn't rule. But drive through any town in America right now and I can guarantee you one thing--the tennis courts are going to be 95% empty, and the pickleball courts are going to be filled with 30 people rotating on 6-8 courts. 


All of this is to say that tennis and pickleball have been at war with each other for years now as entities. Countless tennis courts have been repurposed and repainted as pickleball courts. Countless tennis clubs have been forced to swallow their pride and tape pickleball lines down on their courts just to make a little money. But now the war has some soldiers after professional pickleball player Christian Alshon decided to unload this tweet out of his drafts. 

Now here's the thing--there's no argument to the fact that pickleball is much more fun to play than tennis. There's no denying that pickleball right now is much more accessible than tennis, the community is more welcoming, and again it's just so much more fun. Those are concrete facts in which you'd be a brain dead bozo to argue against. 

When it comes to which sport takes more athleticism to play…well…now we're getting into some murky waters. I'm the biggest pickleball supporter on the internet. I don't know if the game is quite at a level yet, however, to try dunking on tennis like that without getting some serious blowback. Which came in the form of both current and former tennis pros on Twitter. 


Oh hell yeah. This is the good stuff, baby. 

You have to understand that in order to take down an empire, you need to rile them up with a little bait first. You need to drag them into the mud and get them into a fight which they're not ready for. This is like the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 AD. Not enough to fully take down the Roman Empire, but enough to show the ability that they can be defeated. The defensiveness coming from the tennis community from that original Alshon tweet means they're at least worried about pickleball's rising legitimacy. 

That last one is where you can really make the argument. Obviously Christian Alshon was just trying to throw a little shot in there at Kyrgios about cracking the top 10. But the original argument is that pickleball requires more skill and athleticism. The issue is that tennis just has better athletes. World class tennis players are world class athletes. The best pickleball player in the world right now is Ben Johns by a large margin. He's a very good athlete, but he's not world class. If pickleball and tennis had the same athletes competing in both, then you could figure out which actually requires more. And with more and more tennis players like Jack Sock, who was a world number 8 at one point, switch over to pickleball? Well maybe it's not too far off. 


The war is coming. It's inevitable. Every empire has to collapse at some point.