Pickleball vs. Tennis war: the greatest sports turf war  

Pickleball has always been introduced as a little brother to tennis with “almost” the same tactics until 2022. Recently, tennis players exploded in rage over pickleballers. What seems “growth” to one sport is more like a threat to the other. Chaos. Battles. Clashes. Ladies and gentlemen, this is just the start of a great turf war—pickleball vs. tennis rivalry! 

Pickleball vs. Tennis war

In fact, the rivalry has grown so much that it’s not tennis players vs. pickleball players. It’s pickleballers vs. anti-pickleballers or leftists. While pickleball has no such intention of going anti-tennis, the tennis players rather looked fierce. Where and how did it start? What’s the reason behind it? Where it’s leading? Who’s getting more affected? Which side is winning? Let’s give you a complete analysis of the current hottest war. 

The Great Tennis vs. Pickleball War of 2022

Pickleball is an emerging sport with approximately 5 million players all around the US. It’s continuously growing, which is giving competition to other racket sports, but more importantly, it’s taking down tennis which lit the fire among tennis players for pickleball. 

Starting from our first question, “where and how did the pickleball vs. tennis war begin?” 

The battle started over one thing: the court. It was in Seattle when a bunch of pickleball players was not leaving the court despite the tennis playings constantly asking them to. The tennis players then filed a report, and the players had to leave–but they still took an hour. This was the starting point of the turf war. The court, in truth, is the main reason behind all the chaos. Pickleball players are continuously turning all the tennis courts into pickleball. Of course, it’s a means of ease for pickleball players.

You can’t play tennis on a pickleball court, but pickleball on the tennis court. C’mon, that’s not fair.”

For example, if there are a thousand tennis courts in a state, why wouldn’t anyone mind if two or three courts were converted? No one. But what if the numbers kept on increasing? Whenever you head to any tennis court, there are a bunch of pickle ballers, making it look like a fish market. 

Now, people will mind, and it’s legit. Someone taking your area for play and it becomes their regular habit, that is offending. This was the beginning of the war, which dragged several other things into it. People kept on reporting their court being taken. Constant fights among players of both sports, a shutdown of courts, and storming twitter with anti-pickleball campaigns and negative reviews—have all become a new trend that is leading to a destructive direction—the end of either tennis or pickleball. And spoiler alert, pickleball doesn’t have much stronger arguments to support its cause. 

Let’s look into the arguments of tennis players: 

Pickleball isn’t the game for agile: 

Pickleball has been the game of old people forever. It was about a few years ago that many young people started playing this game. The statement proves this. 

According to the 2022 Sports and Fitness Industry report, 52% of players who play 8+ a year are 52 and older. 32.7% of players overall are aged 65+.  

And the report is published after thousands of players started playing pickleball. Otherwise, the stats were more than 70% in 2013. Here’s an interesting tweet regarding this argument: 

This is what people think about pickleball. Not to mention the entire thread under the tweet of Joe Weisenthal is full of hatred against pickleball. This screenshot speaks it all. Plus, these replies are “ethical” ones. 

More replies of tweet

The entire thread is going on over the article published by New York Times under the title “Pickleball is Expanding. Tennis is Mad.” 

It’s the sport for non-athletes:

Those who can’t play tennis play pickleball and call themselves athletes. Well, that’s technically not correct. Pickleball hardly has the workouts and requirements that other sports have. Pickleball is more like a fun game rather than an athletic sport, which families and neighborhoods can enjoy on vacations and free time. 

Hatred chits and banners against pickleball: 

This is one of the most heated pickleball fights in which the tennis players put up banners of “Tennis players against pickleball, get your wiffle balls off our courts.” It was fine till the chits, but tennis leftists didn’t stop. There’s a mix of tennis and pickleball courts in Santa Rosa, and the leftists spilled oil on the pickleball territory. There’s a profanity-laced note on the court which says, “they’ll scratch the cars of pickleball players if they ever showed up.” According to the Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Christopher Mahurin the hatred group spilled six quartz of oil into a pickleball court which the police had to shut down. 

Most tennis courts are in Atlanta, i.e., 636. Interestingly, there are no pickleball courts in Atlanta. This explains why pickleballers have no choice but to play on the tennis court. But still, this isn’t a problem for a tennis player also. Rather the authorities should work on giving pickleball its own place. 

Martina Navratilova, who won 18 grand slam singles tennis titles, didn’t seem to give out the courts either. Replying to Carrington Heath, she said, “I say if pickleball is that popular, then let them build their own courts” 

Anti-pickleball campaign:

The war isn’t just a sports wart. Now, tennis players have become involved in politics into it. It’s democracy vs. communism, and they call pickleball neoliberals creatures. 

Twitter account @ClubLeftTennis is the leading anti-pickleball account running campaigns, and it’s full of hate. You won’t believe how many things they’ve been involved in just two sports games. And the irony is they also have followers. There are still people out there who think that low and going worst level down for their God-knows-what ridiculous purposes. 

They’re so desperate to make people believe that there is political agenda behind pickleball. The leftists believe Pickleball’s founder is a Republican congressman, and Pickleballers aren’t taking tennis courts only, but they want to reduce their leisure time and dismantle public places. This is to increase capital and end the non-commodified collective life through limited fun means. 

Rosie Gray (@RosieGray), a former journalist at BuzzFeedNews, also spoke over the trendy article “big pickleball is coming for tennis” and clearly regarded pickleball as a paddle sport and tennis and racket sport. She also mentioned that 70% of tennis is played on public courts, which clearly means that they need their courts freed from pickleball. 

Mathew Zeitlin, a reporter @gridnews, also joined the Club Leftist Tennis and even appreciated them in his tweet. He said, “I’ll never doubt the leftists again.” On his threads, there are hundreds of people spilling their hate over pickleball. 

Our verdict: 

We quite don’t think of pickleball in this manner. There are a few things pickleball needs to work on, but there’s no such communism vs. capitalism or Republicans vs. Democrats. Can we treat pickleball and tennis like games? People play on the tennis court because there are no pickleball courts nearby. 

However, many new pickleball courts are under construction, and we agree it’s not good to take tennis courts and convert them while there are players awaiting their turn. Besides, we agree with Rosie Grey’s argument of calling pickleball a paddle sport. Yes, pickleball is more like a paddle sport than a racquet sport. It should be called that. 

Why do people hate pickleball? 

Other than all these news resources, we talked to the locals and the anti-pickleball community members asking why people hate pickleball. There are 7 reasons they mentioned, some of which we could counter. These issues are excluded from the court issue for which the entire war is going on. 

1. Noise

The number 1 reason pickleball is receiving so much hate is the noise. The locals–who aren’t part of any sport- suffer from the irritating clack-clack-clack sound that pickleball makes. The plastic ball is quite concerning, plus having 4x times more players at a time on the court just insanely multiplies the voice.  

There are serious noise problems which the authorities are solving, and have solved a few. In fact, there are foam balls being manufactured for the same purpose: to reduce noise. Quiet pickleball paddles are there to play in noise-restricted communities. Further measures are in process. We hope to see positive changes in pickleball by 2023. 

2. Complex-scoring system

Pickleball scoring is tough. Players usually are into fights because one called the wrong scores. For three years, there have been constant rule changes submitted by the players, and every year a new rule is developed. This is because, on the ground level, pickleball is played to 11, 15, and 21 points. Some shots give a score, and some do not. Only the serving team can score points. All of this makes pickleball a ridiculous tournament-level sport. 

3. It’s boring to watch

Pickleball is fun to play, but it’s not something you can enjoy watching. Let’s take the example of the NFL. People love watching it but don’t play it. The opposite is with pickleball. The broadcasters and tennis channels covering the event would rather result in a loss because 2 minutes into pickleball, it already gets boring. The Spectator World said, “pickleball lacks its drama” when you watch it. 

4. It has a weird name

Who names a sport “pickleball”? Tell us you heard the name and haven’t thought of a spicy pickle or some weird creature. 

It’s pretty understandable. Pickleball does have a weird name, but it’s rather funny. With increasing popularity, the name is getting the respect and value it deserves. Besides, the name has a concept and history that gives pickleball an essence. We bet once you get to know why pickleball is called pickleball, you’ll start loving it. 

5. Ugly copy of a tennis

Pickleball isn’t tennis. The least you can call it is the ugly copy of tennis. This is what the tennis players argue. We get that. Pickleball looks like tennis, but it’s true. It isn’t close. However, pickleball has its root is taken from tennis, i.e., the serve, fault systems, number of players in the game, etc. this is what every racquet sport shares, and what separates them from each other is the game’s own rule system, shots, strategies, and the court type. 

Pickleball has strict serving rules, i.e., the ball must be below the waist, the serving team can score only, and you can’t spin the ball. There are no such restrictions in tennis. 

6. Extremely slow

It’s kinda related to the above reason. Pickleball is a finesse game. The shots are significantly slower. A regular tennis player would get bored in its dink rallies. It’s rightfully for senior players, though. 

Well, we agree with the statement, but dink isn’t the only stroke in pickleball. Pickleball volleys are fast and fierce and often end the rally way before they should. However, it’s mostly considered a slower game, but again, it’s your choice. You can play fast volleys, slow dinks, or maybe a mix of both. 

7. Court Line / Tape

Ending the hatred with the apple of discord—the court. The tennis court without pickleball players still reminds them of them and increases the hatred. The reason is their pickleball court lines. Many pickleball players draw lines or use court tape on tennis courts, making it hard for them to differentiate between tennis and pickleball. The court tape isn’t very good for the surface too. The adhesive leave marks when you remove it. 

The argument is legit, and we currently don’t have any counter-argument. Perhaps the issue will be resolved by building new pickleball courts. Because many sports at one court bring many lines and thus, players often get confused. 

Is Pickleball’s Rise a Threat to Tennis?

The rise of pickleball isn’t a threat to any sport unless it starts making its own court.

Of course, it’s not the right way to end one game to prosper another. The tennis’s rage quite makes a point. However, pickleballers often argue that there’s no place to play. Most of them also had started to play on grass. Pickleball holds an upper in many aspects compared to tennis, but that’s all become vague when you have beef with other sports.

Speaking of “threat,” we don’t think pickleball put tennis at stake from any level. From 2019 to the present, tennis has increased by 5 million new players, the total number of pickleball players from 1965. See? Pickleball is nowhere close to tennis, and perhaps tennis can also gain an advantage from the dramatic fame pickleball holds through friendly manners and by interconnecting both sports.

Let’s see what the future holds for us!

HARRY ANDERSON
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